East Coast Oysters for $1 at The Oceanaire

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Displayed prominently on the web header for The Oceanaire is a quote from Leonard Beck (who?), "To eat an oyster is to kiss the ocean on the lips," another sensual metaphor for a mollusk long believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac.

The connection between oysters and sex goes back thousands of years to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love who allegedly sprang forth from the sea on an oyster shell. Legendary playboy Casanova was said to have started each meal with a dozen. But the lustful feelings brought on by the dish are more likely due to association than science. Robb Walsh says it all with this quote from his 2009 book Sex, Death, and Oysters: A Half-Shell Lovers World Tour : "As I savored the wonderfully slick texture, delicate briny flavor, and marine aroma, it was easy to see how oysters came to be associated with the tenderest portion of the female anatomy."

This week Galleria-area seafood restaurant The Oceanaire invites you to a full-on make out session with the sea, with $1 oysters all day every day at the bar through December 30. While Gulf Coast oysters are said to be at their sweet, creamy best between the months of November and March when the drop in water temperature causes them to fatten, the firmer, saltier Northeastern variety are widely believed to reach their prime in November and December.

You'll find the latter at The Oceanaire. The restaurant carries more than a dozen varieties of East Coast oysters, normally retailing at around $2.50 a pop. Still, a dollar per oyster may seem pricey to some. After all, around this time last year, Pappadeaux was selling a dozen for $3.95 on Mondays and Tuesdays.

But that was before BP dumped $4.9 million gallons of oil into the water, destroying many of the delicate beds that flank the Louisiana coastline. Texas fisheries were largely unaffected, making Lone Star bivalves a hot commodity this season. When we discussed the local effects of the spill upon Galveston business owners this summer, the price of oysters was a major concern. Whether Pappadeaux will eat the cost to bring the Gulf oyster special back in 2011 remains to be seen (management at the Westheimer location could not confirm it). The current dine-in menu lists them at $11.95 a dozen / $6.95 for a half dozen.



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