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Aw Shucks

While seafood is pretty much the name of the game in New England, we’ve got a soft spot for oysters. We might be a little bias about our bivalves, but Boston seafood is famous for a reason. These restaurants dig oysters so much they’ve put their names on it.

The oyster program at Island Creek Oyster Bar is, unsurprisingly, driven by namesake producer Island Creek Oysters out of Duxbury. But, the locally sourced bivalves aren’t the only ones on the menu. “Start with Island Creeks,” says executive chef Jeremy Sewell. “It’s the baseline of a great oyster.” Then taste the varying flavors from Maine to the Cape to Virginia, as well as a few West Coast varieties, like Kumamoto and Olympia from Washington.

Union Oyster House’s Oyster Bar sold close to 60,000 plates of raw oysters last year, according to executive chef Bill Coyne. The idea is simple: bluepoints from Long Island—the house specialty—and one local coldwater variety, usually Chatham, Duxbury or Wellfleet, which changes weekly. Coyne recommends ordering a half-dozen, with three of each.

Sustainable oyster options change daily at Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar, although the menu typically features two Atlantic and one Pacific variety. Executive chef Brian Reyelt names Summerside of Prince Edward Island and Barnstable’s Thatch Island as favorites, but he recommends sampling those from both coasts to note differences in salinity, sweetness and size.

It’s a numbers game at Barbara Lynch’s B&G Oysters where the 12-option oyster menu changes twice daily. Options at the white marble bar stretch from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, New England and New York, but assistant manager Lily Rosenbloom says, “Try oysters from the East Coast … there are so many flavor differences in the small state that we are.”

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