Either you love them or you don’t.  There doesn’t really seem to be two ways about it. 

They are slimy and shapeless.  Mysterious and puzzling.  A slippery blob enveloped in a crusty, cement-like shell that refuses to give up its tenant.  I’m talking about Oysters and I luv ‘em.

How do you get to really enjoy an oyster when you’re young and just discovering your taste buds?  My father took me to an outdoor seafood stand in lower Manhattan when I was about 10 and FORCED me to swallow a raw oyster.  Fortunately he smothered the little crustacean with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkled a couple of drops of hot sauce on the monster. It was pretty tasty. From then on I was hooked.

Now here’s the thing, in France and probably in other places where they cherish oysters, the lemon juice adds taste but also serves to make the oyster move slightly, as if it were trying to avoid the painful, citric acid liquid.  That’s a good sign.  That means it’s still alive and ready to consume.  If there is no movement, beware.  Then it’s up to each connoisseur to add whatever condiments they wish and just gulp it down.  An excellent glass of white wine makes the experience that much more memorable.

So where can you go to enjoy a platter of freshly shucked oysters in South Florida?  There are a few delicious restaurants.  I happen to love the oysters at Mignonette in NE Miami. This restaurant offers a wonderful sampling (Hood Canal, Reach Island, Kusshi, Wiley Pt., Pemaquid, Half Moon), of the little creatures from a variety of coasts in the US. 

Mignonette Uptown is serving some delectable small plates including a rotating selection of $1 oysters and .75 cent raw clams as well as Oysters Rockefeller for $2 with herbs, Pernod and parmesan.

Mignonette Uptown is located at 13951 Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami Beach. Details: www.MignonetteMiami.com or call 305 705.2159.