This time of year I tend to have unabated beach brain--an incessant yearning to be surfside at any given moment. 'Tis a mania I have learned can be quelled, however, with a platter of half-shell beauties at Abel Brown.
These ocean-fresh mollusks come from the coastal Northeast with salinity levels ranging from 04-08 and identifiers such as deep cup and meaty and mineral finish. Their names sound like the children of celebrities, such as Stella Mar and Moondancer, or hearken to aboriginal monikers like Ningret and Wawenauk.
So how does one choose amongst so many options? When you order, you will be given a little cheat sheet to help you choose to your palate. The oyster's name and profile, albeit poetic or intriguing, are often key to the oyster's merroir. Just as many external factors affect the quality of wine, so do water quality, seasonal temps, seafloor minerality and diet of the oyster contribute to its composition.
And then there are the accoutrements. Abel Brown serves their raw oysters with the usual saucy suspects but with a signature flair: smoky horseradish-spiked cocktail sauce, a refreshingly pristine mignonette with pink peppercorn + shallot + red grapefruit that I could drink straight from the cup, and of course, bright lemon wedges.
Bottom line? You'll find a variety of oysters here that are crisp + plump + briny + rich and a myriad of ways to dress them, should you desire to do so.
If you are like me and longing to be shoreside, put some mollusks in your mouth to pacify such cravings. Get your oyster fix at Abel Brown.
PS: Don't forget to wash them down with a glass or two of Champagne.
Ann Beth Strelec is an unapologetically authentic gal from Augusta who loves to cook, host dinner parties, and travel. Her ambition is to eat her way around the world and then share her bounty with friends at her table. Her blog, Naked Epicurean, is her platform for sharing this consummate pursuit of inspiration and extraordinary moments with loved ones.