SHUCK U AT OYSTER BOY

Shuck U at Oyster Boy

I fell in love with raw oysters about 5 years ago. The treat was fairly costly and as a new grad, my friends and I would often visit restaurants specifically for their oyster deals; buck-a-shuck nights were well researched. When The Hubby and I started dating, we went to a seafood night at one of his friends’ that included freshly shucked oysters. It was like a lightbulb going off, we could shuck oysters ourselves at home for way less than $1 each! Since then, fresh oysters have become a regular appetizer whenever we host friends, celebrate special occasions, or if the craving hits.

The first time we bought oysters to shuck at home, it was a pretty scary and nerve wracking experience. We watched lots of Youtube videos. After attempting to open one, I left the rest to The Hubby and settled into my role of eater. Today, I’m more comfortable with a shucker but I wish I’d known about Oyster Boy’s Shuck U program earlier! I had the opportunity to participate in the 2 hour course and learned plenty about oysters and how to shuck them safely while sipping on sparkling wine and feasting on our hard work.

Disclaimer: All food and drinks reviewed below were provided complimentary. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine.

Oyster Boy is one of the best seafood restaurants in Toronto and offers a wide selection of oysters from both the East and West coast. On weekends, the restaurant runs their Shuck U program in the afternoon, which teaches participants about oysters in the first hour, and then turns hands-on during the second. Classes cost $55 and have a max of 12 students, keeping the course intimate with lots of interaction with the staff. Everyone gets a platter of 18 oysters and leave with their own shucker and Oyster Boy t-shirt or toque.

During our class, the VP of Atlantic Shellfish was there to talk about how his company cultivates oysters in the wild. Atlantic Shellfish is a major supplier of east coast oysters including the popular Malpeque oyster. It takes about 4-6 years for an oyster to make it to market and babies start at about the size of a pinkie nail. Today, oysters are available throughout the year and fisherman go out in ice-breaking ships to harvest them when the water freezes over.

Chris is the head oyster shucker at the restaurant and shared a few more facts about oysters before showing us his technique. Oysters are an important keystone species, that does an unbelievable job at filtering water. Oysters are being introduced along the coast in the US to help restore ecosystems. The flavour of an oyster depends on their merroirr (similar to a wine’s terroir but with regards to the water). Water flow, salinity and the feed available all change the taste of the oyster.

After learning all about oysters, Chris showed us his “wiggle wiggle pop” technique for getting into the hinge of the oyster and how to leverage the shucker against the shell itself to open. I found the 18 tuxedos we were provided were all quite pretty and easy to open, much easier than some I’ve battled at home. The staff was very helpful and circled the area offering help and tips if needed. For stubborn oysters, I liked how the staff helped but didn’t take over. Safety was first and foremost with staff making sure everyone was pointing their shuckers down and bracing the oyster with folded tea towels.

Shuck U was super fun, entertaining and informative. I found the 2 hours flew by and the oysters were delicious. The Hubby and I had a great time and the class was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Oyster Boy also makes a very tasty Caesar topped with a high mound of horseradish, a perfect companion to the first hour.

Shuck U at Oyster Boy
Shuck U at Oyster Boy
Shuck U at Oyster Boy
Shuck U at Oyster Boy
Shuck U at Oyster Boy