Shuck It

The hottest oysters around town

We've been thrilled by the last year's proliferation of great oyster destinations.

Now, the uptick in dishes that marry the briny bivalves with a bold dose of smoke has us salivating anew.

Paul Fehribach of Big Jones claims his recent installation of a wood-burning grill was largely driven by a desire to grill oysters. Inspired by a meal at Drago's in Metarie, a New Orleans suburb, he tops Chesapeake or Rappahannock oysters with a Worcestershire-spiked mignonette, butter, breadcrumbs and Wisconsin Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese ($14).

Find a similar treatment at Frontier, where butter-, parmesan- and breadcrumb-topped oysters ($8) come off the grill, joining a list of over 15 served on the half-shell. And at Rustic House, chef Jason Paskewitz packs the shells with a compound butter of lemon juice, cayenne pepper and Romano (market price) before they feel the heat of both the grill and a blowtorch.

At the miniscule new EL, chefs Phillip Foss and Andrew Brochu accept fewer than 10 diners per night (and only Thursdays through Saturdays). Landing a seat means experiencing the newest iteration of the superlative smoked oysters that Brochu served at Kith & Kin, here cold-smoked with a smoking gun and artfully garnished with smoked trout roe, chive tapioca and oyster cream.