Mother Shucker. And How to do the Philly Flip.


Iconic’s lineup on the bar at Shuck.

I found my new Happy Place the other day: full of California sunshine, bright white, clean, stocked with super-chilled, zippy white wines and a mountain of raw bivalves.

Shuck, Orange County’s new oyster bar, is the kind of place that reminds me how much joy and satisfaction can be obtained from the simplest and most obvious food and wine pairings.

Clams and chorizo @ShuckoysterbarShuck’s not just Oysters: The Best Clams & Chorizo.  Ever.

This is the kind of simple perfection that I crave, especially when it’s hot outside I want something light and fresh.  What could be better than a cold glass of white wine and plate of gorgeous raw oysters?  Shuck’s barman, Sonny Nhoung did not stop shucking the whole time we sat at the counter- fingers flying, precisely separating abductor muscles from shells and carefully preserving that briny oyster liquor with a gentle placement in crushed ice- he never flinched as he entertained us from behind the bar.

Death Rain

Death Rain?

Sonny explained the “Philly Flip”, a technique for gently flipping the oyster inside its shell after cleaning in order to check for bits of shell and to  present the little guy at its cleanest and most delicious angle.  Check out this photo animation on Food Republic.  Slick.

Sonny @ Shuckoysterbar

Sonny.  Highly trained Shucker.

The wine list at Shuck is simple and focused- 8 or 9 crisp, clean whites, and a couple of light-bodied red, perfect for seafood.  That’s all you need.  We tasted the Iconic lineup hat night with one of the winery’s owners, Birk O’Halloran.  The Iconic wines all provided the perfect stony, mineral-blast this kind of delicate, saline food requires.  The wines also have a common thread of acidity that helps lift all that sunny California fruit- these are food for sure.  The kind of wines that make you salivate a little…

Heroic Ladies

Iconic Labels= Bad Ass