Oyster lovers should be impressed by the extensive list of oyster cocktails, offering a range of fresh, grilled and fried oysters, at Mountain View’s Shell Shock Oyster Bar & Grill. Some of the happy hour oyster specialties include the Killin’ Oysters, prepared fresh with garlic, green onions and hot sauces, and Shuck Me, grilled oysters made with Shell Shock BBQ sauce and bacon.
For those who are not huge fans of oysters – like me – Shell Shock has other seafood and non-seafood specialties that should satisfy your palate. One dish that will probably be on my plate next time is the Break An Egg: fries topped with a fried egg, chorizo and Serrano peppers. Yum!
Dish of Choice
I have to preface this section by saying my first time having oysters was not a pleasant one. The last time I had a fresh oyster, it did not get past my esophagus and it went back up into my napkin. The consistency and appearance of the oyster made me think of snot on a rock. Along with that, I feel that fresh oysters have a weird fishy aftertaste, like someone just plucked them out of the ocean and set them on my plate. I can’t get past that aftertaste.
Nevertheless, I wanted to give oysters another shot.
I ordered the Crispy Oyster Nacho, fried, bread oysters on top of wonton chips with pico de gallo and spicy aioli. I also ordered the Herb Butter Oysters, which came to two grilled oysters and prepared with lemon butter, sage, parsley and chives.
Under the happy hour menu, the Crispy Oyster Nacho was $7 and the Herb Butter Oysters were $5. Along with two glasses of house wine at $5 a piece, my bill came out to about $22 without tax.
So I know just about anything that is fried tastes good, but I enjoyed these oysters on the Crispy Oyster Nacho. They were lightly breaded, and the meat was very tender. The wonton chips were crispy and not greasy, adding an interesting texture to the dish. The pico de gallo was flavorful, fresh and had a great helping of cilantro. The aioli gave the dish some bite and added vibrancy to the presentation.
As for the Herb Butter Oyster: I really wanted to like this dish. Although the menu said this oyster was grilled, it tasted more on the raw side. But maybe oysters are not supposed to be on the grill that long (I’m no expert in oyster cooking techniques). The lemon butter and seasonings helped, but I still got that “straight from the ocean” aftertaste. I stand firm in the belief that oysters are an acquired taste, so this is not the fault of the restaurant.
Shell Shock prides itself in serving the shellfish aficionados in the area, according to its website. The restaurant has the finest products delivered daily from Bay Area and national oyster farms and personally selects the shellfish featured on the menu, the website says.
Shell Shock offers a variety of vegetarian and gluten-free small plates and entrees and hosts happy hour from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily, with a late happy hour from 9 p.m. to close.
The restaurant is located in downtown Mountain View at 124 Castro St., along the town’s main strip of restaurants, bars and shops. For more information on Shell Shock, visit www.shellshockrestaurant.com, www.facebook.com/shellshockrestaurant, or call (650) 988-8880.