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Preview: Kee Oyster House

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Long before pizza, bagels, and hot dogs were the food item most associated with New York City, oysters—yes, oysters—were the signature fare of Gotham, as the city’s harbor was home to more than half the world’s oyster population. (By the 1920s, primarily due to over-harvesting and pollution, the last of the New York oyster beds were closed.) 

“Our concept is based around old New York, the late 1800s,” says co-owner and Pleasantville resident Elvi Hoxhaj, “serving oysters and other true American food.” 

In addition to a bartender, you’ll find a shucker behind the marble bar, opening Beausoleil and Kumamoto oysters among a daily-rotating selection from both coasts. There’s also lobsters de-shelled tableside, mussel-and-chorizo stew with grilled country bread, pan-seared snapper with roasted-pepper coulis, and numerous surf-and-turf items. Wild-caught and organic fish are sourced daily from the New Fulton Fish Market at Hunt’s Point the Bronx. The kitchen is overseen by Executive Chef Lulzim Rexhepi, previously a sous chef at Le Bernardin; James McCue, former sous chef at Crabtree’s, is head chef. The beverage program includes 20 single-malt Scotches, 20 bourbons, plus craft beer on seven taps. Desserts are homemade and of the classic New York type: apple cobbler, chocolate cake, and cheesecake. “‘Old school’ is a positive term around here,” says Hoxhaj. “This is a New York City restaurant style that really existed.”