101 Best Restaurants in America 2016
By Colman Andrews
Published: March 29, 2016
As the name suggests, this small, coastal New England restaurant and bar is famous for its oysters. They’re shucked at the tiny raw bar, and the day’s offerings are scrawled on a driftwood chalkboard. With six draft beers, 200 wines by the bottle and 16 by the glass, a range of spirits focused on whiskey, and eight signature cocktails, The Oyster Club offers a tipple to suit all tastes. Chef James Wayman is plugged in to all the best producers in eastern Connecticut, and his handwritten, daily-changing, farm- and sea-to-table menu offers everything from 100-day dry-aged beef to pan-fried local smelts to the popular Beriah Lewis Farm beef burger (seared on cast iron and served with Grafton Cheddar, smoky bacon, black pepper aïoli, house pickles and a Farm to Hearth Bakery brioche bun with house-cut fries). There's a nose-to-tail aspect to the cooking, too; recent offerings have included smoky pork liver mousse with pickled garlic and roasted pork and kidney sausage with burnt-bread aïoli and creamed dehydrated beets. Simpler fare, much of it wood-grilled, is served in summer months in an open-air Treehouse upstairs.