He is a man who truly knows how to eat and serve an oyster and preserve its dignity.
Donovan's deconstructed oyster shooter is just one example of the thought put into luxuriously proper oyster eating here. Rather then drowning an oyster in cheap liquor, as typical oyster shooters do, totally obscuring its flavor, Fortin serves an oyster shooter with the oyster on the side. And right next to the oyster is a sliver of cucumber. Here's how Fortin says it should be done:
Eat the oyster first. Savor its flavor.
Drink the liquor.
Nibble on a sliver of cucumber.
The result: a rich oyster experience that's not lost amid an overwhelming swirl of vodka. Finished off by a palate cleansing snap of cucumber.
In May, Donovan's Prime Seafood installed its oyster bar, and it keeps an extensive variety of the country's best oysters on hand, which is probably one of the other primary reasons why eating oysters here remains a luxury.
And here's its other secret to being one of the most luxurious oyster venues in the city, if not the country:
Cucumber mignonette topping.
Oyster shucker Ryan Stickel and his unique spin on Oysters Rockefeller.
Let's go in order.
First, the cucumber mignonette. Splash some of this on an oyster and it will elevate your oyster-eating experience to an entirely new level. The freshness of the oyster combined with the burst of cucumber translates into a unique, mouth-watering flavor.
"Cucumber is a typical trait or aftertaste of oysters," Fortin explains. "And for big, briny oysters it tones down the brine."
Then there's Stickel and the Oysters Rockefeller, which he created with chef Mariano Rayon.
The baked oysters are served on a bed of aromatics that include cinnamon, cardamom, anise and juniper. So as you lean in to take a bite of the oyster, the sweet smells of cinnamon and cardamom drift upward and disguise any hint of seafood.
"We kind of wanted to trick your senses," says Stickel of the dish.
Meanwhile, the restaurant's Tabasco granite is a frozen, shaved ice version of Tabasco sauce that can be sprinkled on raw oysters. It gives oysters a fun, cool, spicy flavor. Again, Fortin knows his stuff.