Summer is all about getting your beach on, and that means lots of pilsners and oysters. While it's easy enough to pop the cap on a chilly brew, coaxing an oyster out of its shell isn't so simple. We've got the scars to prove it. To eliminate further damage to our digits, we stopped by The Oyster House to visit shell whisperer Ameen Lawrence for a step-by-step lesson in shucking.
"Each oyster opens differently," said Lawrence. "Some are too brittle to go in through the hinge, and some require a little more finesse. It's all about how it feels."
Lawrence has been working at The Oyster House for 14 years, but he wasn't a Natural Born Shucker. "I got my first opportunity about 10 years ago and it didn't go so well," joked Lawrence. "But after a bit of practice, I got my technique down, and I've been doing it ever since. Practice makes perfect."
While he has won numerous speed-shucking competitions in Philly (watch him tear through six clams at the end of the video in 30 seconds), Lawrence said quick hands aren't what matters most. "We're professionals here, which means it's about precision. A good looking oyster will sell."
The Oyster House always has daily selections of gastropods from all over the world, and from 5 P.M. until 7 P.M. the Oyster of the Day is just $1 each. For you folks with a big appetite, Tuesday nights are all about the Dump Dinner, a $19 feast that includes steamed clams, oysters, mussels, shrimp, kielbasa, and potatoes dropped on your table without silverware. Napkins are provided, but we suggest you leave your dignity at home. [The Feast]
The Oyster House Debuts Dump Dinner