There's nothing like a hot summer night to bring on cravings for New England seafood. Visions of clam shacks on the coast and tearing into lobsters at picnic tables were enough to send us racing to Pearl Oyster Bar the other night.

friedoysterpoboyNow the subject of the best lobster roll in New York has been hotly debated, but Pearl's has always landed near the top of the list. But don't forget the other items on the menu -- fresh oysters are always a great starter, as is the bucket of steamers, but Gothamist's favorite appetizer is the fried oysters. They're lightly battered and fried to a light crispy perfection, not at all heavy or greasy, and are paired with a homemade tartar sauce. Just in case you need more than the appetizer portion provides, they're also available on a po' boy. The fried oyster po' boy and the lobster roll are both served with thinly cut shoestring french fries, which are perked up with an optional dash of malt vinegar. Be sure to save space for dessert -- the hot fudge sundae is a classic.

Pearl Oyster Bar until relatively recently was just that -- a bar. Although they expanded into the space next door and now have proper sit-down tables, Gothamist prefers to eat at the bar for the original oyster bar feel.

In case you can't make it to Pearl Oyster Bar in person, chef and owner Rebecca Charles' cookbook, Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie, allows you to relive her coastal Maine summers through recipes and stories.

Pearl Oyster Bar, 18 Cornelia St. between Bleecker and W. 4th St., West Village, 212-691-8211.