- Subway stop: Hoyt-Schermerhorn
- Walk from subway: 3 minutes
- Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
- Location: 336 State St on the corner of Hoyt St
If you’re familiar with my last post or my lifestyle in general, you know that I’m currently in a state of denial surrounding my ability (or lack thereof) to eat oysters without getting violently ill. The oysters I consume vary in many respects: the origin of the oysters (west coast, east coast, ice bucket on the side of the road), oyster preparation (raw, steamed, baked, shooter, mashed, spread, slapped), vessel out of which I consume my oysters (shell, glass, slab), and the location I slurp down those ocean boogers. The container that I blow my chunks into post oyster consumption also varies.
Once I ordered oyster sushi and hours later while at work with children I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and threw up in a bush, instructing the child I was caring for to politely “LOOK AWAY!” In South Korea I ate a bunch of oysters decorated with a cornucopia of accouterments. Later that night I made use of the underappreciated drain in the middle of the bathroom floor that allows the whole bathroom to turn into a shower. What a fun and useful feature in my time of need! In the sake of full disclosure, that night I had also eaten what roughly translates to “chicken butthole,” so that could’ve been the culprit in that scenario. Smearing an oyster pâté on some toast in Dublin saw me an hour later hurling into my boyfriend’s empty pint glass at a pub. After eating an oyster atop a bowl of noodles in Portland, I upchucked into a metal pot in my friend’s apartment throughout the night. The sound…was deafening. I can still hear it to this day. It haunts me, and it doesn’t help that I’m currently listening to “Haunted” by Beyoncé completely by coincidence. All of these experiences have haunted me. It’s like…it’s where we go. It’s where we’ll be. I know if I’m haunting you, oysters, you MUST be haunting me.
All of this is to say that on a recent visit to Grand Army in Downtown Brooklyn, one of my favorite places to get my dollar oyster on despite the risk I may be taking, I still got my traditional dozen oysters just for me. How did it turn out for me? You’ll just have to read to the end to find out! You might be wondering what makes the oysters at Grand Army a cut above the rest. Does the word “pastrami” mean anything to you? Sure, it’s a meat you might order on rye at a deli, but apparently it can also be a mignonette. And for those of you that don’t know what that is it’s the liquidy shit you put on raw oysters. LOOK IT UP, I’M NOT GOOGLE. I won’t judge you if you didn’t know what a mignonette is, I always want to call it a marionette which I know is a puppet, but something about the image of a teeny marionette dancing atop an oyster warms my cockles. But a mignonette is not that, and Grand Army is known for their outlandish, weird, and dare I say alarming mignonette concoctions, all served to you in little dropper pipette contraptions. On this most recent endeavor, you had your classic mignonette, some pastrami juice, pineapple (say what?! say yes!), and habanero, to name literally just a few.
Speaking of liquids and quality segues, they’re also known for their cocktails. And it being Brooklyn, you can expect the standard paragraph long names for each of their tailor made cocktails. For example, on their fall cocktail list, you might find “Story of a Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was.” And when I say might find it, I mean you will. That is not the title of a book no one wants to read, it’s the name of a drink that people want to drink, with aquavit, lime cordial, scotch bonnet tincture, and pineapple juice. You have to wonder, are they using some of the same ingredients they use in their specialty mignonettes? Are they just pouring their mignonettes into a glass and adding booze? Can I volunteer myself as the guinea pig to try one of those drinks if they have yet to make one? I’ll even name it: “The Six Tiers of Mayan Peril as Witnessed by the Small Man.” See, I’m good at this. Hit me up, Grand Army, if you want me to name future drinks. Here’s a game, guess which of the following is a name I just made up and which are their drinks on the fall cocktail menu: “Bright Sun Brings it to Light,” “Donkey Cabbages,” “Daybreak in Sayulita,” “Young Uncle Kev’s,” and “Raging Fires within her Veins.” You can’t tell, can you? And I’ll never tell. Because cocktail names…are kinda bullshit. So if you find the names pretentious, that’s fine, we all do, just look at the ingredients and get over it because you’ll be drunk soon anyway.
When it comes to other offerings, they do have a menu with a selection of sea meats, including octopus, scallops, and the titular Grand Army, which is 24 oysters, shrimp, clams, crudo, and crab legs. Not for those of us who are suffering from a shellfish allergy and probably not for those of us who might have a mild to moderate shellfish allergy, but that won’t stop me. What will stop me is that I’ve never been there with more than one other person and that’s a butt ton of food and I’ve never ordered it. But it sounds delightful. They also have Sweet Potato Raviolo with oyster mushrooms, if you want to say the word “oysters” when ordering but can’t actually handle oysters. An old standby for me, however, is the bread and butter. Sounds lame, tastes delicious. Think of a huge hunk of bread, one you might expect an old grandma to sell you at a farmers market. A Strega Nona type, if you will. Are you with me so far? So let’s say Strega Nona slaps a hunk of bread on your plate. But that plate is SMOTHERED in seaweed butter. And I mean smothered. You almost forgot you were at a predominantly seafood based restaurant, looking at your Strega Nona bread, but they snuck that seaweed right under your nose and you’re eating it and you’re thinking to yourself, “Strega Nona, who? This is more like a bread and butter dish I would expect to serve to Neptune!” And you wouldn’t be wrong. Except that Strega Nona actually is a pasta witch whose town gets flooded with pasta. So the whole image I just painted for you is wrong, but again, I said a Strega Nona type. Also, pasta and bread are basically the same thing, tomato tomato.
Now that you have a full image in your head based completely on lies, lets circle back to the oysters. How did I fare?
I made it. They were delicious. I’m going back to test my luck tonight. See you there, and as always-
-Off the G