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"Lantern" Restaurant's Salt and Pepper Shrimp Dish

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Has anyone else tried this dish?? It was featured in the current issue of Gourmet magazine. I ate at Lantern on October 8th and was quite disturbed by this dish. As our server informed us the shrimp can be eaten with the Shell on. My husband and I tried one bite and thought the dish would be inedible if we ate it with the shells on.... we assumed the shrimp shells would be a lot softer (like eating soft shell crab) with the deep frying method but this was not the case. Regrettably my shrimp was not deveined too well either, once done with the starter I could not help but stare at my little pile of shrimp shells and think what that would do my digestive system.
As i know shrimp shells are for saving for making stock and then headed for the trash can....
My main entree was Crispy Duck Confit soup , that was AMAZING! I would not hesitate to go to Lantern many times over again...it 's just that the Shrimp Dish really caught me off guard.

Just wondering if anyone else was perplexed as I was.

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  1. I had that dish several years ago. Yes, it was somewhat different to eat the shells, but we just crunched our way through it - and thought it was good! The shells seemed a little softer that when I peel raw shrimp. I guess the cooking process softened them somewhat.

    1. Hmm, sorry you didn't dig it. Maybe you got a bad batch? That dish is one of my favorite appetizers at Lantern.

      1 Reply
      1. re: GogglesPaisano

        I have had this dish at more authentic Chinese Restaurants a number of times. Always with the shell on and usually with the head still on. The shells are crunchy and tasty, only stopped getting it when my blood pressure prevented me from having all that salt.

        Go with the flow all of the flavor is on the shell and it did not harm me at all.

      2. Softshell shrimp are awesome and classic and when you leave the shells it hurts the chef's feelings.

        1 Reply
        1. re: avad

          I hear what you are saying, really I do.... I went to culinary school and worked in a professional kitchen for ten plus years but the shrimp shells were like eating thin layers of plastic and having to clean the dark veins out of the shrimp didn't help the cause. I'll just chalk it up to a bad/busy night- they were also hosting a 4 or 5 course dinner in the bar area to support local farming and Agriculture.

        2. I like the Lantern a lot, but also think that the shrimp they are serving are not delicate enough for eating the shell. I am a huge fan of soft shell crabs, don't mind that texture thing at all, but these were tough and chewy, and I wasn't able to eat the shells. You're not alone.

          3 Replies
          1. re: LulusMom

            Well, I can surely see how that preparation could go horribly wrong. Ew.

            1. re: avad

              I like the salt and pepper shrimp at Fortune Garden in Raleigh. They've always been good.

              1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                I have to try these the next time I am in Chapel Hill, just out of curiosity! Anything new and good there? I'll be in town in a couple of weeks