Seafood Restaurant in Rego Park, NY, United States
Owner Les Barnes is a classic, he’s a Canadian (which makes him a hockey fan), and he's a Rangers fan (which makes him a New Yorker), plus he decreed “The Ten Commandments of the Raw Bar” -- the gospel of what and how a raw bar is and what it does -- every part of which is spot-on and followed to a T at London Lennie's.
With its fresh-fish-in-the-window market feel and its beautiful, long counter overlooking the open kitchen, this relatively new spot achieves a much more classic feel. It’s both a great fish market and a great restaurant where Chef Adam Geringer-Dunn shucks and works the counter regularly. Lean on his expertise and house a couple of oysters you’ve never heard of before.
Like most of us, this Village spot only had a few hundred square feet to work with, but man did Virgola do it right. A dark, sexy, cozy interior lends itself perfectly to those seeking an unusual joint for a first or second date. The basic concept is oysters & bubbly, and there’s absolutely no reason to divert from that.
Chef David Seigal will pluck your oysters from the cooler at next door Lobster Place (it's not weird, they're owned and managed by the same team). It’s a great option for rainy days, winter, or for when you're just in the mood for a meal at a cozy spot in the bustling market.
American Restaurant in New York, NY, United States
The tight and bustling quarters make the fresh and delicious oysters not just the easiest move, but the rightest one. Pro tip: if you need some space, you can always bail for the Bier Garden under the High Line when the weather allows.
There really aren’t many steakhouses that do as well with a raw bar program as this one. And if there is an underserved part of the city for oysters, it's definitely the Upper East Side. Here’s your oasis! Chef Lucas Billheimer loves oysters -- and when the chef loves oysters, good things happen to the raw bar program.
The best “Oyster Bar” sign in NYC leads guests from the Ace Hotel (which lends this place a great energy) to the raw bar at John Dory, which hits all the pre-requisites of a great one. What really sets it apart, though, is the decor, which offers up infinity things to look at and study -- from the cone shell door knobs and kooky wallpaper for the men's room, to the cool aquariums and the centerpiece shucking station.
Rarely do you see larger restaurant groups get the raw bar product this right. BR Guest nails it with this spot housed in an old bank vault. Of all BR's admittedly excellent options, this one has the most soul. It feels like a raw bar should, classic without being cliché.
This sweet spot is re-opening for the season on May 1st, and along with it oysters and libations on a 100-year-old vessel (Sherman Zwicker), restored beautifully and retrofitted to provide a Captain Ron-approved kitchen, bar, bathrooms, and dining areas.