“A Blue Whale is really an extra-large Naked Cowboy allowed to grow an extra year.”
This was just one of the pearls of oyster wisdom imparted by Jonathan Young on a recent rainy night in Park Slope. Young is the co-proprietor of the Grand Central Oyster Bar Brooklyn, having served as the general manager for the original Manhattan location for many years.
I was there to taste the latest fall oyster and beer selections, and was treated to oyster shucking demonstrations by Young and his enthusiastic and friendly staff. On the current menu is a Bras D’or paired with Porterhouse’s Oyster Stout that’s brewed with oyster shells to capture that distinct sea-salty taste and reinforce the same flavor of the oyster. Next up was a Pemaquid with Empire’s White Aphro, and the citrus notes of the beer cut a lovely path through the perfect brine of the Maine oyster.
The next pairing was East Coast meets West Coast, with a Totten Inlet oyster from Puget Sound, Wash. and some Coney Island Brewing Company’s Mermaid Pilsner. These oysters are known to retain the flavor of the seaweed they’re cultured in on the area’s tidal beaches, which made the pilsner’s malted wheat seem like an obvious partner. The fourth and final duo was my favorite, as I have a very “go-big-or-go-home” attitude toward both seafood and suds; a Blue Whale was matched with Bluepoint’s Hoptical Illusion for a hoppy, briny, supremely flavorful partnership.
Grand Central Oyster Bar Brooklyn’s oyster and beer pairing menu rotates depending on which bivalves are in season, and for just $14.95 for four oysters with four five-ounce tastes of beer, it may just be one of the best deals in the borough.