Oyster primer

Josh Even, chef de cuisine at the John Dory, gives us four shucks worth the bucks.

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  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    SILO

    Mermaid Coves
    (Prince Edward Island, Canada)
    The Malpeques that you often see on happy-hour oyster menus around the city are a lower-grade variety of these coveted bivalves---only the star specimens of each crop get the Mermaid Cove designation. Although some East Coast shells can be powerfully briny, these beauties are balanced, with a slight minerality and clean finish. $3.

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    hogisland

    Hog Island Sweetwaters
    (Tomales Bay, CA)
    True to their name, these creamy mollusks are lusciously sweet, with a touch of salinity and a lettucey finish. Their popularity has made them the signature variety of Hog Island---the well-regarded Pacific oyster company---but they are in limited supply on the East Coast. $3.

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    shimbumi

    Shibumis
    (Puget Sound, WA)
    These sweet-salty little gems finish with a wisp of smoke. They have the distinct creaminess of West Coast varieties, and their small size and mild flavor make them a good gateway shell for the uninitiated. $3.

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    bay

    Peconic Bays
    (Greenport, L.I.)
    Though it's been damaged by the effects of tourism, the Peconic Bay has recently returned to prominence as a prime oyster-growing area. Its namesake shells offer a vivid articulation of what East Coast bivalves are all about: delicate flesh with a surge of sea water brine up front and on the finish. $3.

Photograph: Jolie Ruben

SILO

Mermaid Coves
(Prince Edward Island, Canada)
The Malpeques that you often see on happy-hour oyster menus around the city are a lower-grade variety of these coveted bivalves---only the star specimens of each crop get the Mermaid Cove designation. Although some East Coast shells can be powerfully briny, these beauties are balanced, with a slight minerality and clean finish. $3.

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