Snooty maître d' and exorbitant prices aside, there are few better venues for oysters than this 267-year-old bulwark in St. James (jacket required). The mustard-colored walls are hung with portraits of the restaurant's master shuckers, including Thai émigré Sam Tamsanguan, who won the '99 world championship for speed-shucking. (He opened 30 in three-and-a-half minutes). At Wiltons, Sam works at a more measured pace-he'll carefully set you up with a dozen English "natives," arranged on a dimpled silver platter, with a lemon half wrapped in cheesecloth-a thoughtful touch. The main course? It has to be the whole Dover sole, grilled and then broiled with nothing but butter, salt, and pepper.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.