Say hello to Little Shucker, your favorite new oyster bar on Fillmore Street. The restaurant has quickly become a go-to for slurping down beautiful bivalves and feasting on crispy-skinned fish. Here’s everything else you need to know about this fun, cool little spot.
1. You might know the folks running the place.
Little Shucker comes from the same team that brought you the Snug, located a couple blocks away: Liv Ringo, Jacob Racusin, Shane Matthews, and Zack Schwab. They also brought over John Fragola, the group’s bar director, and onboarded a talented chef in Adrian Garcia, who comes with some very serious fine dining chops: He worked at Quince for five years, including two as chef de cuisine, as the restaurant went from one to two to three Michelin stars; Garcia also spent time at Benu and Addison in San Diego, both which currently have three stars as well.
2. Here’s one game plan for exploring the menu:
If you’re with at a friend or two, definitely start with The Big Shucker, a two-tiered seafood tower that comes with a dozen oysters, plump prawns with cocktail sauce, a halibut crudo garnished with flowers and green onion curls, lobster claws, and mussels filled with crème fraîche and chili oil. The seafood spread comes with lemon, mignonette, housemade salsa verde, and Crystal hot sauce — that’s chef’s favorite oyster garnish.
From there, a couple of baked oysters are a nice move. There are a few different options, but the miso bone marrow is essential. It’s fatty and rich and served with pickled daikon to cut through it all.
There are also small plates and salads, but probably smart to not skip out on a lobster roll. You could go cold, but hot is always a good move in our opinion: a generous amount of steamed Maine lobster is given a warm bath in clarified butter before being stuffed in between a buttery top-split brioche roll. It’s topped with tobiko that pops, as well as garlic breadcrumbs for added texture and is finished with chives. (An extra half-ounce caviar supplement is good for the ‘gram, but you’d be wiser to get it in chip-and-dip form where the shiny pearls can stand on their own.)
If you’ve still got stomach space, the whole roasted branzino is a banger. It’s brined in a 10% salt solution then air-dried overnight so that it loses moisture. Once it hits the oven, it’s quickly blasted for six minutes at exactly 572 degrees in a fancy convection oven. The result is a crispy-skinned, juicy delight. It’s paired with an herby pistou made with every imaginable green garnish possible, spiked with anchovies, capers, and fish sauce. A squeeze of lemon and go to town. It’s served with a feta potato tomato side and it’s just all so satisfying.
3. It’s located right on Fillmore for prime people-watching.
Little Shucker is housed in the old Grove space on Fillmore, but the new restaurant is something completely different from its predecessor. Tall windows that open up to the street let in beautiful natural light that shines bright into the space. Clay-colored trim combined with custom woodworking along the wall and gray tiled floors provide a cool calming feeling to the large, high-ceilinged space. We have the co-owners Liv Ringo to thank for that — she designed the space, and Jacob Racusin worked on the custom wood elements.
4. It’s always spritz time here.
Fragola cleverly creates “Champagne acid,” a fancy mixologist technique that combines equal parts lactic acid with tartaric acid that provides a good citric bite and acid that comes from Champagne without actually using the good stuff, which would otherwise get lost in the mix. Consider the Pink Spritz, which blends a slightly bitter mix of aperitivo with rose vermouth, the aforementioned Champagne acid, and soda water of course — it’s a light bright effervescent blast to start you off right.
If you’re feeling wine, there’s a medium-sized list of options available both by the glass and bottle featuring domestic and foreign producers. Chablis and oysters are always a good call, and theirs by the bottle is a nice value for a premier cru.
5. No Resy? No problem.
At a newly opened hot spot like Little Shucker, primetime Resys can be difficult to come by. But fret not: there are always a few seats held for walk-ins, namely at the bar and counter. Sit in front of the oyster station and watch the pros go to town on some beautiful bivalves — keep a watchful eye and you might even learn how to go shuck yourself.
Omar Mamoon is a San Francisco-based writer & cookie dough professional. Find him at @ommmar.