While we’ve already had some amazing lobster experiences in Maine, we wanted to appreciate the full range of seafood that Portland had to offer. Everyone kept telling us how great the oysters are so we were excited to learn that The Maine Oyster Company, in addition to supporting over 30 local oyster farmers, offers oyster shucking classes, we had to sign up!
Finding The Maine Oyster Company was easy using our GPS, and while there is a public pay-to-park garage at the end of the street, we were able to find street parking just a block and a half down from the restaurant. I would suggest scheduling your visit in the afternoon, during daylight hours, since some of the sidewalks nearby aren’t in great condition and might be congested with people staying overnight.
To get into the restaurant, they do have one standard step up to the door. We knew about this before going and when we emailed to check about accessibility they were incredibly nice and offered to have anyone on the team come help with the bump up if needed. We were able to quickly lift my chair up, but for those with a power chair, you’ll want to have a plan.
The Shucking Lesson:
We booked our lesson online and talked to the team ahead of time. My mom was worried I wouldn’t want to eat any of the oysters, and typically when you book a spot in the class, part of your fee goes towards a dozen oysters. Luckily, they said we could start with three oysters for me, and order more if I liked them.
As soon as we rolled in, we were directed to our table, which they had set up for us! There was another table also learning how to shuck, but instructions were given to each table independently. So you’re just seated with your group. I’m not sure if it’s always this way, or if this is part of their Covid-19 precautions. Either way, it worked out perfectly.
I was especially excited to get started once I saw the tools! After watching our host demonstrate how to shuck several times, we put on our gloves and got shuckin’. The first few were really tricky, as you have to work to open the hinge of the shell first, then slide back to take the top shell off entirely, finally using the knife to separate the oyster from the shell and flipping it over to make sure you didn’t lose any bits of shell inside.
It’s a good thing my mom and Gam both like oysters because I had so much fun shucking them! They both said these were the best oysters they had ever eaten, and enjoyed topping them with super fresh horseradish, cocktail sauce, and two specialty “mignonettes” which came in the most adorable tiny cork-topped bottles.
They liked them so much that they ordered an additional dozen and I got to keep practicing my skills. I did try a couple of them, but have decided that they’re not my favorite type of seafood. But I’ll happily shuck them for anyone!
Our oyster shucking class at The Maine Oyster Company was a great success. I had so much fun working the shucking knife that even though they typically serve the oysters pre-shucked, if we went back I would want to make sure we ordered them in the shell so I could do it again. The staff was so friendly and went out of their way to make me feel welcome and included, so this is an experience I would highly recommend.