Anatomy of a Dish
Cocktail or Bar Snack? This Oyster is Both
Walk the Brine at Plan Check.
Photo © DYLAN + JENI

This smoky, frothy, spicy, sour and salty cocktail-snack hybrid is served on the half shell. Here's how that intricate slurp comes together.

Matthew Biancaniello isn't so concerned with pairing cocktails and food—he would rather mix them up. The recipes he creates at Plan Check gastropub in Los Angeles defy strict menu categorization. For instance, the self-styled cocktail chef (he even has a hybrid title) recently introduced Walk the Brine: a bar snack and a shot of booze in a single slurp. Biancaniello starts with a Washington state oyster on the half shell, pours smoky Benesin mezcal over it, adds a wheatgrass-elderflower foam, and places sour pickled button mushrooms, spicy arugula flowers and vibrant mustard flowers on top. "People tell me they've never had anything like it," Biancaniello says. "That's my favorite thing to hear." 351 N. Fairfax Ave.;

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