Castro Street draws a younger crowd to Mountain View—those interested in having drinks and food and observing the time-honored tradition of happy hour.

Shell Shock Oyster Bar and Grill is a newer restaurant on Castro that offers happy hour twice a night, every night, at the fairly convenient hours of 4:30-6:30pm and again from 9pm to close. The restaurant advertises fresh oysters in a combined package of ambiance and cuisine that seems fit for an important business client or a fancy dinner for mom.

On a weekend visit for lunch, I decided to see how Shell Shock handles its non-oyster menu items. The weather was great and most lunch-goers chose to sit outside on Castro Street’s comfortable sidewalk dining nooks. I chose to sit indoors and enjoy the high ceilings and modern decor. The restaurant is spacious and minimalistic with most design elements coming from a mixed wood grain wall and exposed bulb lighting fixtures. This place must be booming at night as a bar with a comprehensive spirit selection that takes up the wall left of the restaurant. The hostess seated us promptly and service remained consistent throughout the meal.

Lunch for two started with the Mini Crab Tacos ($14 for four), which came with crab meat, spicy aioli, avocado and scallions in a thin wonton shell served on a metal taco holder. The menu was accurate to have listed this under the Small Bites section since two bites per taco was all there was. The dish could have been enhanced with a more citrusy, spicy punch.

The Truffle Lobster Mac and Cheese ($16) provided some redemption from the tacos. Four pieces of lobster tail lay atop a rice bowl’s worth of elbow macaroni in a mostly cheddar sauce. While the macaroni was a little al dente and the lobster tail slightly overcooked, the flavors of this dish were satisfying.

We split the Cajun prawn sandwich ($12.95)—three large prawns with sauteed onions, pickled onions, arugula and a citrusy mayo sauce. Of the dishes served so far, this sandwich tasted the best. The prawns were cooked just right and tasted fresh. The sauce added good flavor and the side of garlic fries were a decent portion size. The sandwich itself could have been a little bigger.

Having already ordered three dishes for lunch and not feeling full, I added an order of the Soft Shell Crab Rice Bowl ($14), which came with a fried soft shell crab, poached egg sprinkled with furikake, two slices of avocado, a cabbage slaw with jalapeno slices and sesame seeds on top of rice with a wonton chip. The rice bowl was the saving grace to this lunch. After combining all the elements, each bite held a satisfying mix of flavors.

Shell Shock may be a place that’s better for the trendy aspects, like drinks and small bites for happy hours. I reserve an official judgment until I try the oysters and the happy hour, but with the regular lunch portion sizes being what they were, I can only imagine what the happy hour portions would be. I also wonder how much credit a chef gets for a restaurant that prides itself on serving raw oysters sourced from local farms. Shell Shock should work on elevating the quality and portion size of its dishes to earn the high price point. The only shock for now lies with the sticker.

Shell Shock Oyster Bar and Grill
124 Castro St, Mountain View