For something different from the conventional style of first-class restaurant and which may be claimed as peculiarly American, we turn with pleasure to the first class oyster house, very probably the source of more real enjoyment combined with a sufficiency of tone or style than any other class of public eating house whatever; and as sea foods, in the natural order of things, become the greater luxuries in proportion to their distance from the sea, we shall find the best specimens of the oyster and fish house in the very centers of the continent, in the large cities of the interior, probably nowhere better than in Chicago. All that the famous gourmands and epicures named in history could do was to obtain rare and costly kinds of meats and fish, and make them more costly still by obtaining them from immense distances whither their competitors and their purses could not reach, and even the king of romancer, Dumas, could imagine no higher achievement for one of his most sumptuous heroes than his feat of procuring a rare and peculiar fish found only in one particular river of the world, brought across the wilds of Russia in a tank of water and landed in Paris alive, to be served at this wonderful entertainer's next reception.

The railroads and express service have done much to bring all parts of the country to the same dead level of equality of markets, and yet there is a small fence of ex-clusiveness raised around the inland oyster house by the express charges and "oysters on the half shell," which may be too common at ten cents a dozen at a fish stall on the sea-board for their intrinsic excellence to be really appreciated, when enhanced in flavor by so much per pound charged for transporting them a thousand miles or more become a luxury worthy of the mirrored marble and mahogany halls and elaborate styles of service and all accessories of the best Chicago oyster houses.

The fine restaurants make the most of the great American specialty, oysters, in all styles, employing the best cooks in that peculiar line that money can procure and adopting every new device for presenting the luscious bivalve in the most tempting forms. In addition they serve fish of every saleable variety, shell fish such as lobsters, crabs, clams, crayfish, scallops and, since Dumas' fils, salade Japonaise has gained notoriety, the humbler mussel which en.-ers into its composition. Salads of all sorts, but more especially fish salads, are made here in perfection. Very little attention is paid to the ordinary meat dishes of the restaurants, yet a steak or chop with potatoes can be had if any member of a party happens to have a distaste for fish foods. While these oyster and fish houses do a good business at all times of the day they are in their glory only at night, when, after the ordinary closing hours of business and the closing of theatres and other places of amusement, they are crowded to their utmost capacity and long charcoal ranges are covered with oysters roasting in the shell, clams likewise, and further on with broils, fries, stews, soups, steams and chowders.

The chief drawback to this business is that it must take a vacation during three or four months of summer, when oysters are out of season; or the business must be temporarily changed to something to suit the time and re-organized every fall. The following appended as a sort of guide to prices for any one entering the business is the bill of fare of a Fulton market oyster and fish house. Considering the location it ought to show the bottom prices which a good house can afford to accept close to the chief source of supply; Chicago prices ought to be and probably are higher, and Denver or other more distant cities should obtain prices higher still:

An Oyster And Lunch Room

Bill Of Fare. Fulton Market, New York City. Soups

Ox Tail Soup....................................20

Chicken Soup....................................20

Bisque of oysters................................10

" " Clams.................................20

Green Turtle Soup...............................40

Oysters

Saddle Rock Roast..............................35

" " Fry................................35

" " Stew.......................,.......35

" " Raw................................35

" " Broil...............................35

Extra Saddle Rock Roast........................50

" " Fry..........................50

" " " Stew.........................50

" " " Broil.........................50

" " " Raw.........................50

Plate of Raw....................................20

Stew............................................25

Boston Stew......................................50

Fancy Broil......................................50

Box Stew........................................30

Oyster Fritters..................................35

Pickled Oysters..................................25

Oyster Pattie....................................25

Fricassee Oysters................................35

Saddle Rock Fry in Box.........................35

Clams

Steamed Clams..................................35

Clam Chowder...................................25

" Stew.....................................25

" Fry........................................35

" Roast.....................................35

Clam fritters....................................35

Saddle Rock Clam Fry..........................35

" " Stew.........................35

Raw Clams......................................20

Stewed Scallops..................................25

Fried Scallops....................................35