The Classics: Oysters and Muscadet (at Comme Ça Los Angeles)

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Malpeque oysters paired best with a lemony Muscadet.

Los Angeles chef David Myers has been soaking up praise for his spontaneous farm-to-table Sona Restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard now in its seventh year, as well as a newly opened pizzeria called Pizzeria Ortica and a French brasserie called Comme Ça. We made Comme Ça the second stop on our multi-restaurant sweep through L.A. and took advantage of their pristine oyster bar.

Malpeque or Malpec (either spelling is accepted) oysters are named for Malpeque Bay of Prince Edward Island on Canada’s Atlantic coast and probably rival Blue Points as the most common North American restaurant oyster. This is partly due to their affordability and availability, but probably has even more to do with their light-bodied creamy texture and clean finish. These particular Malpeques were especially creamy and possessed a perfect balance of sweetness and brininess, needing only a gentle squeeze of lemon to brighten them up, and a cool, crisp glass of Domaine du Vigneau Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie 2005 to help wash them down.

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David Myers’ Comme Ça on Melrose in West Hollywood presents traditional Parisian brasserie fare.

The bone dry, high-acid, lemony, and otherwise neutral white wine of Muscadet is considered an oyster’s classic partner for a number of reasons. The seaside city of Nantes lies at the westernmost end of the Loire, falling within the historical kingdom of Brittany, aka Breton. There the Loire River ends its 960-kilometer journey and diffuses into a delta before spilling into the Atlantic. From these waters comes one of France’s most prized foods, the Breton oyster, as well as all manner of delicious fish and shellfish.

Muscadet, made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape, was famously shunned from its home in Burgundy as a tart and neutral varietal, but was happily embraced in Nantes for these very same qualities. Muscadet’s sharp acidity is the perfect contrast to an oyster’s briny liqueur and its neutrality is welcomed when savoring an oyster’s sometimes delicate flavor.

posted on August 8 2009 by jesse

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