New York is renown for its excellent supply of oysters, coming from the cool waters of the Long Island coast. However, every time an oyster craving hits, I find myself driving towards the City.
The goal therefore was to find a good, local restaurant in Queens or Nassau, where I could get a good plate of oysters. Instinctively, I thought I would start with Oyster Bay, just for the name.
While today the most famous of Long Island oysters is the Blue Point Oysters, coming from the Great South Bay near Fire Island, historically Oyster Bay was THE source for Long Island Oysters. The very excellent Pine Island Oysters (sometimes known as Pine Creek?) are harvested in the waters right next to the town, so I was hoping that the proximity will really make a difference.
Oyster Bay holds an oyster festival once a year, and it’s always headlined by Cantebury Ales. While it’s not the simple oyster shack I usually crave, it was a nice destination for a Sunday lunch.
I started with a simple oyster sampler, which features 3 of each type of oyster offered today. Sadly, Pine Island wasn’t part of today’s selection, and the choices were not as large as I expected. The oysters were not as clean from the outside, and the plating and sauces were a tad simple, however the taste of the oysters was excellent and very fresh.
Having fulfilled my oyster craving, I decided to order a bit more cooked food to sample the menu. The buffalo wings tasted like honey barbecue wings instead of the tangy and spicy buffalo flavor I was expecting, and were slightly overcooked.
The entrées were bland and unspectacular. The shrimp scampi pasta had ample amounts of seafood, but the pasta was seriously under-seasoned. Gumbo had lots of seafood, and 3 excellent baked oysters (again, the oysters shine), but failed to impress.
My quest for good oyster on Long Island continues.
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Cantebury Ales and Oyster Bar
46 Audrey Ave
Oyster Bay, NY 11771