Jasper White's Summer Shack in Cambridge was really good but heres the lowdown...if youre in boston, cambridge, and the urban core, etc its great if you eant lobster and other seafood. Far better for example than the average to medorcre legal seafood chain. Not worth a trip to if any time soon your're gonna be in cape cod, cape ann, Maine, or eastern Long Island. But it is better fish than most for an urban area.
$21 for a 1 1/4 lb lobster...$26 for 1 1/2 lb.....
$32 for his pan sauteed or whatever lobster..which was useless..
the lobsters were great, perfectly cooked, tender etc....you folks in coastal towns with lobstermen would sneer at these prices...but, this is essentially the NYC price for a lobster, pricey, but its in the city so....
Its a huge cavernous place...very informal...im sure he's making a lot of money...
The pan roasted lobster, which everyone says is the next step up in lobster is a complete waste of time...pointless AND expensive. It comes in a rich, flavored buttery sauce which doesnt belong anywhere near a lobster. on a piece of swordfish, maybe it would be great, because it was a well prepared tasty sauce. BUT it does absolutely nothing for lobster, and in fact hides the natural sweetnesss of the lobster meat.
The softshell crabs were good, but the cornmeal crust was a little too thick. Corn on the cob, cole slaw, clams, fries...this stuff is all available as are tuna steaks, seared filets, etc.
I've never had pan-sauteed or pan-roasted or pan-ANYTHING lobster, but I can tell you just on principle alone the idea doesn't appeal to me. In fact, with most fish and shellfish, the best rule of thumb is that when it comes to preparation, simpler is better.
As for softshell crabs in -cornmeal- well, no thanks. Dredge 'em in a little flour and plop in the ol' pan and they're fine. I dunno, I've never found that cornmeal goes really well with most kinds of fish...um, maybe catfish on occasion.
Why does good, simple seafood have to be SO hard to find?
re: Bruce Smith
i agree with you, the SS crabs didnt need that preparation nor did the lobster. but this place had no shortage of simple seafood....thats the only thing worth getting there, the simpler stufff...they do a good job with top flight raw materials...
everything else, forget about it
Thi is the only place I'll eat fried seafood. Fried whole belly clams that taste of clams, not oil. Outstanding.
I agree with your lobster comments, though.
Interestingly, my gourmet friend says that a vennison special we had there one night was the best piece of meat he had ever had. The waitress said that friends of Jasper's had hunted it during a snowstorm the weekend we were there.
I can't completely agree with you about the pan roasted lobster.I've had it twice and had completely different experiences (not a good sign for a dish I suppose). Normally I'd shy away from a dish like this (I've never had the lobster at the Peach Farm) but I decided to try it after I saw it in Saveur's "100 best things in food" (complete with recipe). The first time it was terrific...so good I tried to make it. What I made wasn't a thing like what I had at the restaurant. So I decided to try it again to see where the recipe was different from what they made in the restaurant. The second time I had it, it was very disappointing.
The only explanation I can come up with is that the first time I had it I know Jasper cooked it himself...and it was great. The second time I don't know who made it, but it wasn't Jasper 'cause he was working around the lobster tanks, and it was "a complete waste of time". A dish that is that unpredictable (and expensive) isn't something I'd recommend....unless you know Jasper is making it.
re: Jonny Quest
Okay, ya gottah try the lobster at PeachFarm.....Usually, the only lobster I eat is boiled, preferably w/seaweed, but this was fun and delicious...And if ya really wannah pig out, on scallion and ginger lobster, go to Victoria Seafood, on Comm Ave in Allston, and get 2 for the same price!!! The same Chinese crowd is there ordering them!!
Not to be crude but the Summer Shack s*x! I went and was so looking forward to it but ended up so dissapointed I probably won't go again. I ordered an $8.00 frozen mudslide(which if good is worth the 8 bucks). It came to me w/ huge chunks of ice in it and NO TASTE. I looked at the menu and decided that I wasn't going ot pay 22.50 for salmon or 20.00 for any of their white fish. I am not cheap and will pay for good food but I know there are better seafood restaurants around for less money. I also thought that type of price was a bit much especially when it's served to you in a plastic bowl!