I have never had oysters in half shell my life. They are not a part of the culinary culture of where I am from, so I was never exposed to it during my early years. Later in my life when I moved to midwestern US, eating raw shellfish in a small town that is more than a thousand miles away from the source didn't make sense. I tired them cooked, lightly fried with a tiny sauce; I had them in poboys; but never had the courage to try them raw, in their shells.
Now that I am in a bigger city (still not close to abundant waters, but at least surrounded by a pickier foodie public), I want to experience this. My desire was triggered the other night at Pinxto, when the couple sitting on next table were slurping a dozen with extreme pleasure. We also had some pleasure due to our food, but it looked like they were having more fun. Knowing that this is not a seafood restaurant, I hesitated. Also, oysters weren't in the menu, and I was too shy to order off the menu.
I know that we are approaching the high season which increases my chances, but his is also prime "status food", something some people eat just because it is expensive. So I am also worried that I will end up with some overpriced mediocrity. I don't mind paying fair prices for my food, but I hate to pay for uber-service or uber-ambiance or uber-coolness. What are your recommendations for good and fairly priced oysters? APC? Express? Lemeac? Is Maestro good, or is it a place for women who don't eat so that they can wear low cut dresses and for buffed men with no interest in food but those women who go there? Or am I better off getting them somewhere on my own and mastering the art of shucking?
That last one sounds intimidating.