Eating oysters around coastal North America has become one of my favorite pastimes. From New Orleans (Bon Ton Cafe) to New York (Crave Fishbar) to Vancouver (Fanny Bay Oyster Bar & Shellfish Market) and Maryland (True Chesapeake Oyster Co.), I’ve become familiar with what oysters I love and will pass on if they are on the menu.
Keeping it simple, I love the sensory pleasure of taking a small to medium sized oyster and dripping mignonette (typically with vinegar and chopped shallots), hot sauce and cocktail sauce on the meat before slurping it down.
So, when Geneva lamented that we could meet at Found Oyster for our planned dinner – BUT it would be too much of a tragic waste of time to go at 8pm when we were planning on meeting up – due to the horrid wait time – I became curious. We ended up picking L&E Oyster Bar for our dinner plans. But, undeterred, I still wanted to try Found Oyster. Browsing the online menu and setting my sights on a date, I decided to ask Johann if he were free to enjoy a happy hour treat with me.
Happily, he said yes – and a date was set.
On a casual Thursday, we met at Found Oyster around 4pm – close to when they opened. Sitting at a high top table in the main dining room, we browsed the menu and took in the overall vibe of the place.
Eclectic nautical framed artwork decorated the entryway to the kitchen. Wine bottles filled cabinetry and a disco ball hung from the ceiling. Staff shucked oysters at the bar, making fresh platters for hungry guests. It visually felt like an updated Northeastern seafood bar, transplanted to Hollywood.
To start, I ordered a glass of 2021 CHRISTOPHE ET FIS, “PETIT CHABLIS” a chardonnay from Chablis, France. It was perfect – crisp, buttery and complimentary toward what was the come.
As we decided between the Baywatch Platter and the Overboard Platter, I asked our waitress for the price difference. Market Price can mean a great deal of variance, depending on the day. When she said $90 vs $160, I glanced at Johann in surprise. We quietly agreed that we did NOT need the extra oysters or crab cocktail. Which instantly made the Baywatch Platter the right choice for us.
When the BAYWATCH PLATTER arrived, we were impressed. It consisted of:
- 6 MERE POINT oysters from the shores of Maquoit Bay in Cumberland County, Maine
- 6 B.I.O. BLADE oysters from the Barrier Islands, off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina
- SICILIAN CRUDO (Lemon, Caper, Red Onion)
- PEEL AND EAT PRAWNS (Head On W. Special Sauce)
- Mignonette (vinegar, shallots) and cocktail sauce (tomato sauce, horseradish)
Johann and I immediately dug in. We sipped, savored and compared each element of the platter. Personally, my favorite oyster of the two was the smaller B.I.O. Blades. They were my favorite size, tasted clean and delicious. They were right up there with my favorite oysters, the Japanese native Kumamoto Oysters, now typically grown in the Pacific Northwest. On the other hand, Johann loved the crisp salty clean mouthfeel of the Mere Points.
The Sicilian crudo was mild in flavor but fresh in quality of fish. The capers and diced red onions paired well with the bites of salmon and yellowtail. The olive oil tasted clean and actually added to the flavors of the small dish. However, the peel and eat prawns were my least favorite of the platter. It was then that I determined it was too much work for too little meat with mid flavor. Plus, the eyes stared back at me.
With the ordered PLATE OF FRITES – salted perfectly and served pipping hot – arriving soon after the fruits de mer, we were set. It was everything we needed for the course.
Following, the FRIED YELLOWTAIL COLLAR arrived. Hot, crispy and seasoned with a furikake variant (typically with sesame seeds, katsuobushi, green seaweed flakes, and nori seaweed) and a umami savory sauce, it was Japanese inspiration at its finest. Upon first bite, I greatly appreciated the layers of texture and taste. But, it was missing a certain je ne sais pas – thin cracker or wafer pairing. I felt like I needed to have it on top of something buttery and salty. So, I asked for and received some Ritz crackers.
In passing, I asked a staff member the inspiration for the fried yellowtail collar special. It seemed so out of place in my expectations of the New England vibe. He explained that actual concept for Found Oyster was Northeastern oyster shack meets a Parisian wine bar and Japanese izakaya.
For the uninitiated, an izakaya is a type of Japanese bar or pub that serves drinks and a variety of small plates, similar to tapas or appetizers. The dishes of small plates are called otsumami and are designed to be shared among a group.
Now, I appreciated the Japanese inspired flavors and technique. But, I still feel the yellowtail collar needed some kind of additional accoutrement to really make it sing. Again, it was good and spicy. However, I was still left wanting something else alongside the dish.
After Johann expertly took apart and split up the collar, we still wanted just one more item to complete our time together.
Overall, a 4 pm seating at Found Oyster was perfect. Next time, I look forward to enjoying a glass of wine with a cup of clam chowder or the lobster roll.
4880 Fountain Aveune
Los Angeles, California 90029