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Monday, January 14, 2013

Peachy Picks L & W Oyster Company Our Coverage Sponsored by Fresh Origins

Owners Jason Weiner and Antonio Rappazzo, otherwise known as the W and the & in the name...Eric (owner of the L part) was not available for the picture)

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Your first clue that you're in for a night that is more fun than a barrel of monkeys is that when you are seated at the brand new L & W Oyster Company, you see they have left you goldfish at your table.  They make their own goldfish.  Peachy loves Goldfish.  Owners Antonio and Eric cordially greeted Peachy at the door when she arrived, and shortly after she met the 3rd owner in this culinary knockout trio, Executive Chef Jason Weiner.  Words don't do justice to Jason's good humor so just take a look at the picture:
If we were reviewing restaurants on the personality of the owners alone (which does count), we wouldn't have to eat anything here and these guys would pass go and collect $200.  They've been working together since 2008 and we understand that Jason and Eric are childhood buddies.  However, it is a side note that we encountered three stellar personalities in this review and this is incidental: the fresh cuisine and culinary genius of L & W Oyster Company is the primary reason why you'll want to scoot there pronto.   By the way, they get daily fish deliveries and everything we encountered was the ultimate in fresh.  These are three guys that are interested in sincerely delivering a quality experience to each and every guest and you can tell they sincerely love it.  You will love them and love L & W as a result because their enthusiasm is so contagious.  If you know Almond, that is their first venue (yet to be reviewed here) and it's named after Jason's wife.
L & W Oyster Company was first featured in Tasty Tidbits:
We are pleased to announce it has sailed through with flying colors and more importantly, with oysters from Narragansett (Lucy they knew we were coming!).
Peachy Deegan began with an American red: Crosby Merlot 2010 from California which was a robust companion for the beginning of her L & W experience.  
She later graduated to the local: Paumanok, Festival Red Merlot 2011 from the North Fork of Long Island which they serve on tap and was even better than the Crosby.  Their sense of jest continues to the wine list where the labels are: White Stuff, Red Stuff and Sparkly Stuff  (maybe they will inspire Tiffany's to use the term sparkly stuff...Cartier?  Harry Winston?  Anyone...)  
After Antonio told us that he was a graduate of SUNY Buffalo, we had an inkling that these guys also probably knew a thing or two about their beverage list (Mover and Shaker Charles Ferri is also a SUNY Buffalo alum...)
When in Rome...and when at L & W, you better order oysters, silly!  The one at 6 o'clock above, the tiny one, was Kumamoto from Humbolt, California.  Delicate and succulent, this was one you'll have to try too but the East Coast girl liked the East Coast Oyster best: Moonstone from the Vonnegut hometown: Narragansett, Rhode Island.  The nice salty flavor was tops and this one you see at 8 o'clock above.  (Our panelist tried the other two.)
Everyone knows Jolly Ranchers-translate that idea of candy to fish snacks and you will arrive at the innovative choice of Ahi Tuna Ranchers!  They have two swimming pool choices to venture to: uni mustard and soy mint, each of which is strikingly flavorful and respectively enunciate the arrival of this fantastic creation de poisson about to meet your tastebuds.  This selection was an intelligent choice by the owners who wanted us to try it.
As a creation of Jason, this little guy wanted to mug for the camera too.  It was only fair.
The next course the owners wanted us to try was the Brussel Sprouts Two Ways, in the style of caesar salad.  We loved how each sprout was perfectly halved and again, this is another highlight of the creative acumen of L & W-who has ever made brussel sprouts with such panache?  We also liked that this was a vegetable that balanced out our seafood options.  They were crunchy and delicious!  A must-have and Peachy would order this again.
Peachy picked the Fried Catfish for an entree, above.  Lightly breaded, this was another example of how fresh the fish is at L & W Oyster Company, and it was highlighted by braised kale, cider vinegar and tobasco hollandaise.  What a culinary delight!
The Parsnip Vanilla Sorbet is house-spun and the perfect final touch.  
A final note-we write on style even more than we do about cuisine-and we noticed these guys also have style down pat.  Check out Antonio's houndstooth cap.  He should buy his wife these houndstooth shoes to go with it!
Feel free to do the crossword puzzle on the walls of the bathroom!  And there is a magnet board with words at each table.  No aspect of fun where it can be had is overlooked by anyone here!
Our esteemed panelist adds:
I began with a vodka gimlet—it was perfect. Simply presented and beautifully mixed. A delicious balance between fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and vodka. I am pretty picky about my gimlets…this hit the spot.  
As food started to arrive, I moved onto wine. My first was A by Acacia’s 2011 Pinot Noir; a California Red. Also delicious. The perfect temperature, smooth, and not so strong as to overpower the courses that soon followed.
L & W House “Goldfish:” Delivered to every table, this snack--unique to L & W--are a lovely start to whet the appetite. A cheesy cracker shaped like a goldfish are unpretentiously presented in clear plastic bags, but they are, in fact, a real treat. It was one of the rustic touches and edgy d├ęcor that define the ambiance of this really fun restaurant. 
The Fluke Crudo was a wonderful ceviche that was artfully served with hot & sour cucumbers (pickled goodness) and crispy fried shallot rings. The fluke was served in small morsels-- gorgeously fresh and the perfect consistency. I could eat this every day.
Onto the raw bar: 
My Long Island Oysters were amazing. They were huge, and very obviously fresh—no garnish needed, though a dash of horseradish is always a good thing. There was no sand or grit to be found in either variety. The Widow’s Hole oyster from Greenport, NY was a little brinier in flavor, and had a depth and richness to its taste that I so enjoyed. My favorite of the two varieties, however was definitely the Montauk Pearl. It was simply a pure, fresh, oyster. It had a creaminess that made me crave 6 more. To garnish this oyster would have been sacreligious.
Ahi Tuna Ranchers, seen above—a cleverly presented appetizer, these fresh and delicious pieces of Ahi Tuna were wrapped (literally) in a crispy fried wonton shell. A great starter to share, the dressings enhanced the appetizers tremendously. The best dressing was they soy mint, which was aromatic and delicious with soy-vinegary goodness to draw out the flavor of the fish. The uni mustard was a little heavier, and provided a tartar alternative for the fried shell of the Ranchers. Yum.
Brussels Sprouts Two Ways—Fantastic! Even folks who are not crazy about Brussels Sprouts might enjoy this salad option, as shredded Brussels Sprouts dressed in a delicious Caesar was a delightfully fresh and new way of enjoying some leafy greens. And the second of the “Two Ways’ were a few traditionally sliced and roasted Brussels Sprouts for the purist. Made eating our veggies fun!
Main dish of Rock Shrimp Sausage was wonderful. Rich and filling with cavatelli (house made—really wonderful and smooth), gigante beans, rapini (Broccoli rabe), pieces of Rock Shrimp Sausage, and a light cream sauce. A pasta-lover’s go-to dish. The sausage made with shrimp, spices and pancetta made for an excellent variation on a Carbonara. I’d order it again and again. But come hungry, because it’s a real meal!
Jeferson, our fantastic waiter recommended the Apple Pie as it is is hands-down fave on the dessert menu. And I am so glad I took his advice—the boubon caramel & vanilla bean ice cream that covered the Apple Pie was heavenly and transformed a traditional American dessert into a truly rich and decadent experience.
Antonio and Peachy

Peachy Picks L & W Oyster Company!
L & W Oyster Company is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

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