Skipjacks/Summer Shack Showdown
Visiting Boston next month and would like someone who has been to both seafood restaurants help us decide which one to visit. I narrowed it down to these two because 1) they are close to the hotel where we are staying and 2) they have someting that would appeal to my very finicky eating daughter (Skipjacks-childrens menu; Summer Shack-corn dogs). I'm looking for a good lobster roll and my wife likes a nicely grilled fish. Thanks for any help you can provide.
Hi soybreath. Well, I think a lot of it might come down to atmosphere, because both have pretty decent food. Skipjacks is definitely a slightly fanicer choice, while the Summer Shack is more family friendly. In terms of grilled fish options, my personal preference is for the Summer Shack. I know folks like to rag on the place a little, but it *is* Jasper White, and he certainly knows from grilled fish. I also think if you're going to be dining with a kid, Summer Shack may hold a lot more interest in terms of the decor and tenor of the place (I don't know how old your daughter is, but I think they've also got color-in placemats if you ask for them). I can't speak to the difference in the lobster rolls between the two establishments because I haven't tried them, but personally, I'd sooner have one at the Summer Shack than at Skipjacks -- this is, of course, based purely on conjecture, and thinking about the food I've had a both places in the past. To be totally fair to Skipjacks, I'll say that we usually frequent the Summer Shack in Cambridge, where Jasper White is often in the kitchen and hanging around. I've eaten at the Boston location, but usually just for lunchy items, not full on dinner stuff -- it may be of a different quality than the Cambridge location. Perhaps someone else can post to that issue...
As somone who has actually tried them both, Skipjack's lobster roll is much better.
Summer Shack is probably better all around for kids. Adults can stick to the raw bar, RI-style calamari, tuna tartar, and basic steamed lobster. "Full on dinner items" have tended to be underwhelming. This is all Back Bay location. (Except the lobby roll, which I tried in Cambridge.)
Some of us don't "like to rag on [Summer Shack] a little," some of us like to rag on it a lot. It's just not that good, and Skipjacks is just a step up. However, if the goal is to keep the young one happy, I would vote for Summer Shack. I'll just throw out there that B&G Oysters, one of Boston's best seafood restaurants, serves a BLT (with or without lobster) with wonderful fries, which might make everyone happy, but the atmosphere certainly is not as kid friendly as Summer Shack and Skipjacks.
Summer shack. My daughter who is at times picky loves Summer Shack. It's fun and very casual with wonderful seafood. Things I usually get there are the Bermuda Fish Soup, Great Buffalo chicken wings like none I have ever eaten before. Delicious lobster roll and lobsters. The Rhode Island Spicy Calamari is wicked good as we say in Boston. There are lots of families and ones with babies and everyone is comfortable and gets well fed. The desserts are good too, try the coconut custard pie. Also my daughter likes the fried chicken they serve. Enjoy.
PS. Get the raw bar too, this is making me hungry...
Summer Shack is definitely kid friendly. When my friends were in from California they took their 2 1/2 year old there and he napped half the time, then snacked on some chicken and then went over and looked at the lobster tank.
My husband is particularily fond of Jasper's Pan-roasted lobster. The sauce they serve with it seems to vary seasonally.
Summer Shack Boston
50 Dalton St., Boston, MA 02115