Ways & Means Oyster House: Worth A Visit

This modern-day oyster house located in Old Towne Orange, Calif. is a pleasant surprise for seafood aficionados. Ways & Means takes inspiration from fish houses around the globe. "I look to create restaurants, bars, and clubs that get people's attention," Owner Parnell Delcham told us. "The name stems from the service philosophy of making guests feel at home: Any Way, By All Means.'" The name definitely rings true upon visiting.

As soon as you enter the New England-themed restaurant, its coastal chic vibe, along with waiters wearing adorable plaid bow ties, pulls together nicely and you can see all the intricate details that Delcham and his wife/partner Jennifer have created. "We want guests to feel the warmth of being welcomed in by family and that history of Old Towne Orange," says Delcham. "But at the same time, we have little touches of bling that make you go 'wow!'"

Ways & Means' cuisine is inspired by fish houses around the globe with a light California cooking style and a bit of a Mediterranean feel. We were served seafood chowder, which was thick and creamy all by itself. Included were potato, leek and house made bacon oyster crackers. The lobster mac & cheese was spot on; making Kraft's shameful in comparison. If you're craving sweeter dishes, indulge in the Bananas Foster alongside Bourbon ice cream, a Bourbon lover's dream.

The star of the show is their rotating selection of two dozen different East and West Coast oysters and glamorous seafood cocktails and towers. The popular king tower priced at $85 comes with two shrimp, three crab claws, half a lobster, four oysters, four clams, crab meat and two scallops.  This feast is clearly a great selection for a sizeable dinner party. Besides seafood, Ways & Means offers guests 40-day aged Angus filet and prime rib eye. In addition, the charred Brussels sprouts with capers, red onion and Spanish chorizo is delicious.

The beverage program includes drinks such as their take on a Moscow Mule, or venture to try their Chapman Mai Tai with Clement V.S.O.P. The wine list is broken down by price between $30-$75. The bar is backlit with bottles and exudes a sexy vibe. We visited on a Thursday evening and by the time we were done with our meal at 7, the place was packed and the bar was full. Ways & Means has started to have a strong following, and we can see why.