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The Early Word on Hip New Oyster Bar The Leadbelly

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The people behind Lower East Side hot spot the Fat Radish recently opened The Leadbelly, a small oyster bar and cocktail den on Orchard Street. The space features an old timey piano, a small record player, worn-out stools, and crumbling walls — it looks old, but also very hip. So far, reviews have been all over the place, with some diners extolling its charm and others noting that the drinks and service are weak.

The Great News: The oyster experts at The Oyster Blog are thrilled with the oysters: "We barely had to wait before our perfect dozen arrived at our table, with each member plump and beautiful. The changing daily selection consists of both East and West Coasts varieties. We tried them all. The Montuak Pearls from LI tasted straight from the water fresh, and the Ceder Islands from Mantauk RI, were a slightly sweeter delight. The West Coasters brought it home with the melony Kusshi, and our favorite the creamy and metallicy Skookums." [The Oyster Blog]

The Terrible News: One Eater tipster is not impressed. From the tipline: "Never again. Terrible service, poor drinks, and basically a place that doesn't make sense." [Eater Tipline]

The Long Wait News: Yelpers are hot and cold on this place, but most seem to be in agreement that the waiting times are excessive. One files this report: "Waiting 30 minutes just for some drinks...I don't think so, specially if the place was almost empty and they had like three bartenders." [Yelp]

The Pricey News: An Eater commenter is upset with the prices of the drinks: "Leadbelly charged me $28 for two Plymouth and tonics and that'll be the first and last and only time I"ll be paying that much for a highball." [Eater Comments]

The Service News: Another Yelper enjoys the atmosphere, but has this to say about the service: "The servers forgot about my drinks, then I'd order from whomever we could flag down, and suddenly I'd have three of the same drink. And when we ordered a plate of oysters - the kumumoto, the kussi, and then two east coast oysters from Montauk and Prince Edward Island - the server presented them and didn't explain which were which. When I asked him to do so, he only knew the kumumoto oysters and shrugged about the rest." [Yelp]

The Menu News: Over on Foursquare, a user is pleased with the food: "Good oysters but come early or they run out! The tartare was good if not a bit salty because of a heavy hand with the capers. The salad was the best dish by far with lots of interesting vegetables." [Foursquare]

The "Better for Drinks than Food" News: The bloggers at Zagat are happy with the overall experience but note: "If you like fiery drinks and shooting oysters, The Leadbelly is a great bet. Just take note that you may need to find food elsewhere." [Zagat]

The Ambiance News: Another Yelper describes the feel of the restaurant: "This is not a place to have your 10th anniversary dinner but a place to come for an ambiance that easily could mirror your living room in Woodstock, NY-hosting your best friends with amazingly fresh local foods..with uniquely concocted drinks that assures a good time for all. I am a fan..." [Yelp]
— Aaron Baer-Harsha

The Fat Radish

36 Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, , GA 31401 (912) 298-0499 Visit Website

The Leadbelly

14 Orchard St., New York, NY