If an oyster is not served raw and on the half-shell, it is, by default, weird. But! It can still taste good (and its aphrodisiac-ability is likely still "working"). Let's fete National Oyster Day by eating the rich man's bivalve five different ways:
Son of a Gun: An oyster fried is quite the sexy nugget. For the oyster's Christmas, don't sandwich it with bread and dressings in a po' boy (Uncle Darrow's) or a slider (The Tar Pit). Instead, honor it in a surf 'n' turf medley, courtesy of Son of a Gun, who is serving a helping of fried oysters with Niman Ranch hanger beef and French fries. Dip it all in the housemade bearnaise.
Son of a Gun, 8370 West Third Street, at South Kings Road (323-782-9033 or sonofagunrestaurant.com)
Salt's Cure: Salt's Cure, while keen on its meat, sources superior sea life out of California, too. An order of grilled oysters will offer six of Carlsbad's finest -- it might be a Luna, a Blonde or a Del Sol -- and after a brief affair on the grill, the oysters pop ajar. After careful shucking, each oyster is drizzled with a generous amount of housemade butter/garlic/white wine sauce -- so comforting you'll want a soup cup of it.
Salt's Cure, 7494 Santa Monica Boulevard, at Vista Street (323-850-7258 or saltscure.com)
Izakaya Haru Ulala: You know about shooters. The frat variety will typically arrive in a shot glass, but at Izakaya Haru Ulala, it's swimming in a martini glass of good-grade sake, ponzu sauce, a cracked quail egg and delicate garnishings of smelt eggs and pickled burdock root. You throw it back just the same -- but maybe with a pinky raised and sans the post-grimace.
Izakaya Haru Ulala, 368 East Second Street, at South Central Avenue (213-620-0977 or [Yelp])
Blue Plate Oysterette: As its eponymous-y name implies, this Santa Monica chic shacks honors the oyster. The daily raw selection is always a huge draw (as are the 60s throwback, Oysters Rockefeller), but the ceviche renderings are more alluring. Try the Oysters Ximenez, wherein the bivalves are doused in aged Sherry vinegar, tossed over with tomatoes, mint and extra virgin olive oil.
Blue Plate Oysterette, 1355 Ocean Avenue, at Santa Monica Boulevard (310-576-3474 or blueplatesantamonica.com)
Venice Beach Wines: The kitchen at the littlest wine bar on the Westside might be the size of a twin bed, but it's turning out a lot of good wine-friendly food. However, there is one endearing thing on its menu that requires little work in the kitchen: a tin of smoked oysters. Suddenly, it's as if you're at a 1970s dinner party, soon to play that promiscuous game involving keys, your toothpick stabbing into one of a dozen oysters sitting in a pool of olive oil. VBW serves 'em with fresh baguette, chopped greens and housemade mustard.
Venice Beach Wines, 529 Rose Avenue, at Dimmick Avenue (310-606-2529 or venicebeachwines.com)