Last Wednesday three of us got together for happy hour at Rustic House Oyster Bar and Grill in San Carlos. A first time for each of us, we were pleased with the quality and value found here.
I'll confess that I'd not heard of Rustic House before this meet-up. Apparently it has been here for two years.
Happy hour oysters on the half shell are chef's choice at 2 bucks a shuck. These were Fanny Bays from Washington served with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce.
The rest of the happy hour bites are priced at $6 apiece. Shrimp ceviche was vibrant but with a slight sweetness that was out of place. The light and crackly housemade tortilla chips were excellent.
Crispy calamari, including some tentacles, was great too. Very crunchy but light and greaseless batter on the tender squid ringlets that was set off well by the extra spicy chipotle mignonette. Some chipotle aioli came with this too, but was more toned down. The grilled lemon was a nice touch.
Clam chowder was on the thick side, but sweet with clams and just delicious.
Fried green beans morphed into an assortment of fried vegetables that we enjoyed even better. Broccolini, carrots, cauliflower, squash . . . all good in a light batter and enhanced by the wasabi ranch dressing dip.
Fish and chip bites turned out to be a solid effort too. Chunks of moist and flaky cod in a delicate beer batter accompanied by puffy chips that were creamy inside.
After so much fried food, we ended with the grilled bagna caudal oysters from the regular menu, 6/$17. Anchovy, shallots, capers, garlic, butter and parsley were an umami blast on the creamy bivalves. These were terrific and I'm going to try to replicate this at home.
Happy hour is Monday through Friday, 2:30 to 5:30pm.
Rustic House has a full bar, outdoor seating and a private room for events that can seat about 20. I'd gladly return the next time I'm in the area.
Rustic House Oyster Bar & Grill
920 El Camino Real
San Carlos, CA, 94070