ONE SHELL OF A FISH
A lot of restaurants serve chilled raw and cooked shellfish, but only a relative few do an impeccable job of buying, storing, preparing, and serving them. The rule of thumb: The higher the turnover the better when it comes to perishable seafood, and only those restaurants that sell hundreds of shellfish platters each week can guarantee consistent quality, cooking expertise, and service on fresh ice day after day. Some of the best examples are, of course, in seaside cities, but the signature seafood platters at the following restaurants are among the tastiest examples of simple American shellfish you’ll find anywhere.

ATLANTA: BluePointe, 3455 Peachtree Rd. NE; (404) 237-9070

CHICAGO: Shaw’s Crab House & Blue Crab Lounge, 21 E. Hubbard St.; (312) 527-2722

NEW ORLEANS: Restaurant Cuveé, 322 Magazine St.; (504) 587-9001

NEW YORK: Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant, Grand Central Terminal; (212) 490-6650

PORTLAND, OREGON: Jake’s Famous Crawfish, 401 S.W. 12th St.; (503) 226-1419

SAN FRANCISO: Sam’s Grill and Seafood Restaurant, 374 Bush St.; (415) 421-0594