I love me some Blue Oyster I don’t care what old Fish Face says

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Do you ever have a bad day at home and then show up at work and beat up on the poor suckers who count on you to make a living? Yeah, well, me neither, but something tells me that’s what was going on the day that Miami Herald food critic Victoria Pesce Elliot reviewed the Blue Oyster Grill.

Three times I’ve been to this restaurant, which just opened at 2286 NE 123rd Streeet just west of the Bay Harbor Causeway, and each time, the delicious food, pleasant service and convivial atmosphere have left me a happy camper. This same experience holds true for everyone I know who has dined there except for the one deeply cranky Herald contributor, who, despite the Pesce in her name, clearly wouldn’t know a good fish if it was kissing her on her big old sour puss.

So let’s start with the food…

Admittedly the first time I was there with my mother and my girlfriend, neither of whom had spent much time together before, leaving me too nervous to register anything but a deep but vague feeling of digestive satisfaction and my mom’s highest praise which is that the food was “almost like dining in a New York restaurant.”

But, when I returned just a few days ago, I made note of the menu. We started with the very same Coconut Shrimp that Ms. Pesce described as “leaden, overly breaded nubs” and found them to be plump, delicious nubbins of goodness. This appetizer was followed by Corvina, served with a mango sauce and accompanied by potatoes au gratin and steamed vegetables. The fish, white and light similar to a Grouper, was particularly flavorful with a remarkable consistency not too juicy, not too dry. Not to be outdone, the Lobster Risotto, to quote my dining companion, was “Like sex on a plate.” Deep, delicious, decadent and delectable just the way Gina Lollabridgida used to make it.

The dishes aren’t cheap (in the $20.00-$30.00 range for most entrees) and the menu is compact and heavy on the seafood, but it’s all about quality and these people deliver.

The atmosphere is a combination of the understated adult d├ęcor and the attentive and friendly but not too friendly service of the I’m-not-going-to-get-in-your-face-but-I’m-here-if-you-need-me variety. Not only that, but when we showed up 15 minutes after the place was closed for lunch, the waiters and chefs put down the plates they were eating from and cooked us up a meal anyway, just cause that’s the kind of folks they are.

The place has a full bar with a nice TV for catching a game (venues of the type which are sorely lacking in the area). As an added bonus, this bar is the only the second place that I’ve been to in Miami that comped a round of drinks (for patrons who had been there just over an hour!).

So, I would take note of the address, phone number and hours at the bottom of the review, chuck the rest and go get your seafood on, Miami, down at the Blue Oyster Grill

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