NYOysterLovers Meetup at DBGB

Sorry, previous best friends. 
You all are OUT. Because I am now BFFs with the people in NYOysterLovers. It is a Meetup group that is solely comprised of people who love these briny bivalves. I love oysters, but don’t know a damn thing about them. Or, I didn’t till I came to an awesome meal put together by the organizers of the group.
 Chef Jim Leiken of DBGB put together a 4 course oyster-stravaganza, featuring different types of oysters, all cooked, which was another different prep for me. Sure, I have had fried oysters and oyster stew, but usually I eat them raw. This was new and thrilling and…well, let’s just get into it, shall we?
 Shigoku Oysters in a Lemongrass Veloute and Hackleback Caviar. These west coast oysters were small, and by far the most similar tasting course to the raw oysters I usually enjoy. Clean, briny, a bit acidic and the perfect counterpoint to the salty caviar, herbal and creamy veloute and creamy, sweet leeks. The lemongrass was an amazing counterpart to the oysters, giving them an earthy backdrop. The oysters were airy and small, perfect for beginners. Chef Leiken told us this was straight off the menu from his days at http://www.danielnyc.com/Daniel, and his classical French technique with Asian sensibility positively shone here. 
Wild Maine Belon Oyster with Black Bean Sauce and Ramps. There are only 5,000 a year of these French oysters harvested in Maine – that’s right – only 5,000. That is how rare they are, and, honestly, how delicious. The only way to desire this would be minerally. It is SO clean yet solid, a bit denser than other oysters and has that rich, iron-y taste that only liver usually has. This is an oyster for oyster or offal lovers – it is assertive and incredibly delicious. Served with salty black bean sauce and pungent ramps, I really couldn’t have imagined a more delicious bite of seafood. At once familiar yet incredibly new and foreign, it was a slap in the face to any other oyster, and the star of the night.
Nini-Moto Oyster and Sweetbread Vol-Au-Vent with Crayfish, Chicken Oysters, Mousseron Spring Peas and Sauce Americaine. This, while incredibly rich and perhaps to the liking of someone who did not love oysters, was my least favorite dish of the night. I thought that the taste of the oyster was unpleasantly muddy tasting and overtaken by the buttery crawfish and creamy sweetbreads. The peas were delicious, as was the sauce – in fact, it was all delicious – but was more about the cooking technique than the actual taste of the oyster.  The puff pastry was a little soggy and tough on the bottom, but, them – isn’t puff pastry always that way? This was not the biggest winner for me, although the sweetbreads were totally amazing tasting – meaty yet light, and without a trace of the off-taste that offal can tend to have.
Whole Roasted Peking Duck with Pacific Oyster and Sourdough Stuffing and Local Asparagus. 
This BLEW MY MIND! The oysters here were denser, meatier, and almost fattier tasting than the other oysters. They seemed more buttery and substantial than their East cast counterparts, or even other West coast oysters. Pairing them with the slightly duck was perfect and made them seem meatier while bringing out the duck’s more salty, oceanic notes. The breast of the duck was a perfect, juicy medium and the confited leg was sticky-sweet and rich. The stuffing itself was perfectly moist, like slightly stale bread that one dips in the drippings of a pan of chicken fond. The asparagus was an incredibly fresh note, a burst of spring on a rather heavy plate – can’t beat local asparagus. 
In fact, you really can’t beat the NYOysterLovers Meetup! Julie, who runs the group, was sweet and passionate, and everyone there was an avid oyster lover who shared their knowledge and favorite oyster restaurants in the city. Chef Leiken was incredibly kind and knowledgeable as he came to the table to explain every course, and the service was nothing short of exceptional. I would come back to DBGB anytime to experience the normal menu – because, let’s face it, this meal was anything but normal!


  1. Sorry I missed this!

  2. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Hungry-I am sorry too! Next time, you MUST come!!