Where do Forkers spend a lazy hump day? One answer is at OC Mart Mix, where Chowdown Champion Dave and I ended up to sample the seafood at Shuck Oyster Bar's grand opening. Of course, we're leaving the formal review to our illustrious Edwin. This is more eye candy and first look.
Similar to that other operation Leonard Chan runs at the opposite end of the Mix, his take on modern is minimalistic and exposed. We mean a mixed bouquet of white flowers, matching white counters and bar stools and a garage door opening up into the parking lot as an exterior entry. Noah Blom is the other hand you'd want to be shaking; as co-owner and resident oyster connoisseur, he's responsible for all the sexy coming out of the kitchen.
A faux chalkboard above the counter is your best source for information. Oyster "markers" indicate which of the 30+ (40+? we've lost count) are currently available. Last night, there were nine. Dave's serving had pairs of Tomahawk, Wellfleet and Naked Cowboys. At least, that's what HE said. A squeeze of lemon and dab of mignonette later, and it was dinnertime!
Of course, the non-conformist in us wanted to explore other areas of the oceanic menu. A savory salad of oak-smoked salmon, haricot verts and cucumber looked like a complete meal. Finished with cotija cheese, lemon oil and a blush vinaigrette, all it needed was a glass of the free-flowing bubbly (Note: Their beer and wine license is by way of Mozza, if you know what we mean. Bring your own or go the iced tea route. The no-charge champagne was just for opening.)
The po' boy we shared above looked a little intimidating. That's Dave's half in the photo. The creole chili dipping sauce was already incorporated in the slaw. Can we just say that's a lotta slaw for a half-dozen fried oysters! The baguette was hiding underneath.
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Our preferred dish was a classic New England chowda. Whole Manila clams, Yukon golds, and whole buttah. We liked dunking our crunchy bread in the generous bowlful of love. Now if only we made room for (cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano) grilled cheese.
P.S., Shuck: Thank you for purse hooks!
Shuck Oyster Bar is located at 3313 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, (949) 433-3854. www.shuckoysterbar.com.