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The insider’s view of Downtown’s culture, food, drinks, and the people who shape it.


The Oyster Gourmet

The Oyster Gourmet

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The Oyster Gourmet is a wooden, nautical-like shell that makes Robinson Crusoe relevant again. Christophe Happillon, is surrounded by eager eyes as he stands in the middle shucking oysters. With an oyster in one hand and a knife in another, he carefully wiggles and cracks open fresh, chilled oysters ready to be slurped back by craving patrons. He is the nucleus, the pearl, and the master écailler of The Oyster Gourmet. After years of successful pop-ups at Church and State, Le Zinque, and Perch, he finally set anchor as the newest purveyor at the Grand Central Market. 

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Shellfish lovers can get their slippery fix starting at $9. Delivered twice a week from Vancouver to Washington, 3 oysters are served on a bed of ice with a slice of lemon, mignonette and a miniature fork to scoop out the delicate meat. In his distinctive French accent, Happillon presents each oyster to customers and recommends his technique on how to properly indulge. Slurp, chew lightly, and swallow. Drinking the residual juice is encouraged, there is no shame in expressing satisfaction as fellow customers’ anticipation gains momentum sitting directly across to bear witness.

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Stephan, the ceviche specialist, works by his side preparing mounds of fresh scallop, shrimp or tuna marinated in citrus and served on a half shell. The two work together in the small space, reflexively avoiding collision as they focus on their craft. They put on a comestible show and seafood is their medium. 

For a quick and gourmet seafood experience, visit Christophe Happillon at The Oyster Gourmet - slurping necessary.

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Written by:
Janica de Guzman
Photographed by:
Brett Long

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