Squid Ink Food Fight: Oysters, High and Low

There are few things to eat that are better tasting and simpler than an oyster. Complete with its own sauce, seasoning and serving dish, an oyster on the half shell is a nature-ready bite of food; any dash of lemon, mignonette or other sauce is arguably unnecessary. Once plentiful and cheap, oysters were once seen in a far different light than the sheen of high-class romance they are so often associated with now. For this edition of Squid Ink's food fight, we're pairing up the quintessential French oyster bar experience of Anisette Brasserie with a glimpse of the oyster's low-brow past in the cheap, down-to-earth shell slurping that can be found at El Puerto Escondido in Inglewood.

Anisette Brasserie
Anisette Brasserie
Willy Blackmore

With its glass-fronted raw bar display and the adjacent long, zinc-topped bar, Anisette beautifully replicates the trappings of a classic Parisian brasserie. And just as in Paris, where wooden crates of oysters can be found outside just about every eating establishment in the cooler months, a dedicated shucker close at hand, Anisette hits the mark on its oysters as well. We had a choice between Kumomotos, Fanny Bays and Hama Hamas, with a selection of all three showing a wonderful range of flavor and texture, from sweet to briny, soft to meaty. Paired with a mineral-y glass of Sancerre, a platter of oysters at Anisette makes the 3rd Street Promenade seem worlds away.

El Puerto Escondido
El Puerto Escondido / Anisette Brasserie, 225 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, (310) 395-3200

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