The culinary world has many delights, but the simplest one is arguably the oyster. There might be nothing finer than the taste of a chilled mollusk, followed by a sip of cold wine or champagne.
If you're looking for an excuse to order a dozen, today is National Oyster on the Half Shell Day. Miami is teeming with oyster bars and seafood restaurants, but here are the five best places to get shucked:
1. Le Zoo
Stephen Starr's spot in the Bal Harbour Shops feels just like a French brasserie. All day, indulge in bottomless Holy Grail oysters from Chesapeake Bay, paired with one Kronenbourg beer or glass of Simonet sparkling wine, for $28. General manager Anthony Ramonas prefers to enjoy oysters the classic way: with a glass of champagne, letting "the oysters shine on their own." Daily from 4 to 6:30 p.m., Le Zoo offers a cocktail hour with oysters for $1.
2. Edge Steak & Bar
Courtesy of Edge Steak & Bar
For something different, try chef Aaron Brooks' fire-roasted oysters topped with chorizo, tomato sofrito, sherry, and aioli ($12). From 4 to 7 p.m., traditionalists can scarf down various East Coast oysters for $1 each, served with a mojo mignonette and chipotle cocktail sauce. Add some house-made hot sauce for an extra kick. Brooks encourages going outdoors to enjoy them: "Miami's tropical weather makes for a good round of chilled oysters. The outdoor terrace at Edge is a great spot to grab a couple of mates, enjoy a couple dozen, a round of local brews, and finish it off inside with dinner." The chef suggests pairing your oysters with a local craft beer such as Finca by Tank Brewing, La Rubia by Wynwood Brewing, or Hop for Teacher by J. Wakefield Brewing.
3. DB Bistro Moderne
Courtesy of DB Bistro Moderne
Monday though Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., the ocean's pearls cost $1 at DB Bistro Moderne's swanky bar and lounge. Manager Leah Polinski says the specialty oysters are from small farms along the East and West Coasts and a bargain during the two-hour special. For a classic pairing, she says, you can never go wrong with a glass of Pommery Royal Brut or François Montand Blanc de Blancs Brut champagne ($9 during happy hour).
4. Izzy's Fish & Oyster
Chef Jamie DeRosa loves New England oysters for their distinct salinity and cup size. He prefers to eat them chilled and naked with an equally cold Narragansett Summer Ale. During happy hour from 4 to 8 p.m., slurp bottomless oysters and Narragansetts for $28 and try a fried oyster po'boy for $10. Late-night visitors will find $2 oysters from 10 p.m. to midnight.
5. Mignonette Uptown
Chef Danny Serfer and his team will shuck $2 oysters from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. till closing at Mignonette Uptown. Choose from a variety of oysters listed on the marquee, all served with a mignonette of Banyuls vinegar, candied shallots, and pink peppercorns. Pair the bivalves with a glass of Grower’s champagne for $16 or a bottle of wine for 25 percent off.