I surprisingly don’t miss NY as much as I thought I would. But I do long for certain things. Like never ending brunches with bottomless mimosas — no orange juice — and affordable oysters with bubbly. God I miss NYC brunch. And I really, really, really, really, miss oysters. You see, New York City absolutely spoils their residents. We have endless access to reasonable bubbly: champagnes, bruts, and Proseccos. There are tons of $1 oyster happy hours (beyond Blue Points) and just… sigh. Bubbly makes me happy. Oysters make me so happy. Brunch makes me so so so happy. Lots of bubbly, lots of brunching, lots of oysters is my bliss.
When I first arrived to Tokyo, I couldn’t understand why all you can drink bubbly with brunch didn’t exist. Why eggs benedict on average, costs close to $20USD a plate — and most don’t even come with hashbrowns. Bubbly prices are hiked up ten fold, and oysters are $$$$$$$$$$$$$$. To be fair, this could be a ‘living in NY too long problem’ but most big cities in America followed NYC’s suit. Brunchifying with all you can drink, oyster happy hours, and modest bubbly are slowly becoming common place.
Well yesterday, I treated myself to oysters and bubbly since leaving New York. For some reason I had this preconceived notion the Japanese don’t know how to prep oysters the way I am used to. A part of me was terribly concerned oysters here are too briny, musky, acidic, and really intense. Boy am I glad I got over those silly worries. I ate Awaji oysters for the first time in my life (I think?) and it was the most delightful surprise.
They were so soft, so creamy and so sweet with a hint of the sea that harmoniously melted together that I swear, I saw light shine down from above and heard angels sing. I needed to eat another one. So I did. Maybe it was because I hadn’t eaten oysters with bubbly in such a long time, but Awaji oysters are near perfection.
It is raining in Tokyo today. Tokyo’s rain is soft and gentle. Like this country. Like the people. I am daydreaming of the oysters with bubbly, and I can’t stop smiling because I finally found oysters and reasonable bubbly. I am so happy right now.
My favorite place to get oysters in NYC is Blue Ribbon. Luis, the shucker and James the bartender were so so so good to me. Luis has moved back to Mexico with his family but his predecessor Victor shucks just as good as Luis. James is a legend but the other two bartenders: Will and Will are also pretty cool. Do please visit if you have the chance. If you’re lucky, you might catch Mos Def (who is a regular and eats at the bar all the time). Jay-Z and Beyonce go there too, as well as a bunch of other people who sing for a living or in shows and films and such.
97 Sullivan Street
New York, NY 10012
Since I’m feeling generous today, here are some other favorite oyster spots:
298 Bedord Ave
*one of the only reasons I trek to Williamsburg — their patio is insanely lovely
1 Delancy Street
New York, NY 10002
*best oyster HH in the city, I think
1196 Broadway and 29th
New York, NY 10001
*it’s attached to the Ace Hotel and they have half a dozen oysters + a pint or sparkling wine for $18 USD. For added bonus, there’s a Stumptown in the lobby where people co-work. If you get the chance, head to Breslin for dinner. Their lamb burger is super intense but everyone should try it at least once.
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