Eating our way through the city to determine the best of the best is no easy task. The hard thing about naming something the “best” is that we had to leave behind many very, very good dishes. So to honor those wayward souls, here are some great plates worthy of mention. Today: Oysters and Uni.
The mini oyster sandwiches at the Dutch — the “lovechild of a po’boy and the McDonalds Filet-O-Fish sandwich, only a hundred times better” — won for the Best Use of Oysters, but we also snacked on the briny bivalves elsewhere: Newcomer Upstate offered a fine selection of the raw slurpers (plus a nice craft-beer selection), as did the Trilby. A giant oyster at Brushstroke, cut into little pieces but served in its ginormous shell, also was sublime. And, of course, the Grand Central Oyster Bar never fails. But a true oyster master knows how to cook the creature just as well — hell, even better — as knowing how to serve it over ice.
Uni, otherwise known as sea urchin, imbues dishes with a delectable brininess while offering an unctuous, slippery texture. It’s certainly an acquired taste, but once you’ve acquired it, there’s no going back. We especially like the risotto-style rice topped with uni at quiet Japanese restaurant Yuba, but you’d be wise to check out the urchin at these other eateries. A sheep’s milk dumpling in sea urchin fonduta at FishTag was also sumptuous; the uni butter toast accompanying the oyster pan roast at the John Dory Oyster Bar was divine; and the crab salad with uni butter at Ellabess was an all-around great dish. Now, can someone start selling uni butter in the supermarket?