The first item you receive, often before you place your drink order, are these delectable hush puppies. The puppies come piping hot and have a slightly oniony taste to them. The sauce on the side is actually just straight-up butter, but the extra addition of fat is the perfect complement to the fluffy/crunchy puppies. They key is not filling up on the endless baskets of these fried treats.
As expected of an oyster house, the main attraction are the oysters. You can get them raw or, as above, steamed to varying degrees of doneness (Dad liked his medium-rare to make them slightly more solid). The oyster quality does not seem to change during non-r-containing months and none of the oysters leave you feeling cheated because they are too small. Most normal people will probably like the half-peck size, which is about 15 or so oysters. I was not familiar with the peck increment of measure, so I thought I would offer what advice I could. They also have fully steamed oysters with various toppings (including Rockefeller) and freshly prepared oyster stew. At the oyster bar, you can watch the stew prepared by a chef who cares for his creations as if they were newborn children.
My favorite dish to get is the seared ahi tuna special. The tuna is seared perfectly (mostly cold and ruby red on the inside while just barely warm on the outside) with sesame seeds and two sauces, one ginger- and the other wasabi-based. The sauces pack some great flavor but do not overwhelm tasting the delicate tuna. On the side, I picked rice, cooked with clam juice, and the cole slaw. I must mention that this slaw is the one that awakened my taste buds to eating slaw again. It is a perfect balance of creamy, sweet, vinegary, and crunchy. Another side I've had are the mashed potatoes which are some of the creamiest I've ever tasted (undoubtedly because they use cream and butter).
For those who prefer their seafood fully cooked, they have many other options including fried (with some very good calamari) and steamed. One special that I want to try next time I go is the cioppino, seafood cooked in a tomato sauce. 42nd Street clearly draws a good crowd, but I'm amazed at how few people know about it in my area of Durham, so take the trip to the capital for a great seafood experience.