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Dos Factotum » Archive » You’ve Earned a Belon

You’ve Earned a Belon

January 9th, 2010

I don’t know you or your eating habits but I can confidently say that if you have a Belon oyster at Shaffer City Oyster Bar and Grill it will be the best oyster you ever eat. Each Belon costs $5, which could also buy a foot of turkey sub at Subway. But a turkey sub is no way to celebrate the end of a [adjective of reader’s choice] decade. Eating a Belon is. So have a Belon. You’ve earned it probably.

You’d think a post about an expensive oyster in MANHATTAN is exactly the sort of thing weary Americans do not need to read right now. But you’d be wrong. Once slurped into your mouth, the Belon (pronounced bey-lohn; aka the European flat oyster; Ostrea edulis) demands so much attention that you can’t be bothered by your problems. At first the Belon is meaty and could pass as a Blue Point. But once bitten into, the Belon releases no less than an ounce of potent grassy juice as if it were a lawnmower-blade-flavored Gusher. This juice fills your sinuses and then your head and neck, and you forget whatever it is that’s been bringing you down. Perhaps you and your girlfriend of 2+ years broke up in early December and the thought of her returning the lovely J. Crew winter coat and pants she’d bought you for Christmas bums you out. Like a tiny five-dollar whore, the Belon will put you at ease. The Belon’s aftertaste is less like grass and more like sweet mulch and will linger until you sip your martini. The Bombay Sapphire martini I had with my Belon was a pleasant accompaniment but the Belon itself is enough for complete self-medication so, really, no alcohol is needed.

The Belons are a special at Shaffer City and they’re bound to go fast. As my server Michael P. said in his enthusiastic pitch, these Belons aren’t your garden-variety Belons. These Belons are special. Historically a French oyster, there are now Belon beds in New England as well as California and Washington. The ones at Shaffer City are from Maine and only 5,000 of them were harvested in 2009, according to Michael P. They are not from the Bélon River in Brittany so they aren’t bona fide Belons as far as the French are concerned. But I’m discovering that life’s too short to worry about stuff like that. Michael P.’s pitch ended with him locking eyes with me and saying, “You should really try a Belon.” And he was right. And so should you. After eating your Belon you’ll want to appreciate its attractive shell. The shell is so smooth and sexy that some folks take it home so years later they can fondly remember the time they ate a Belon.

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