The oyster shucker at DeMun Oyster Bar stands on a raised platform behind the bar. The resemblance to an actor or musician on a stage can't be coincidence. The restaurant has a kitchen, but the shucker is the star. His task, straightforward but essential, is to ensure that your oysters, shipped to St. Louis daily from the Pacific Northwest, reach your table in pristine condition. This is vital for any oyster, of course, but especially so here, where the oysters are the cream of the crop — and priced accordingly. (A dozen luscious, ocean-sweet Kumamotos will set you back more than $30. This is a necessary occasional luxury.) The kitchen plays a role, too. They serve steamed mussels and clams in a delicious, garlicky beurre blanc. They poach salmon and pan-sear scallops. They have heat, the shucker has a knife, but both share the same philosophy: When it comes to top-notch seafood, you need to do very little to prepare it, but what you do, you must do very, very well.
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