The City of Boston is known for its history, higher education, and highly delicious food, especially seafood.
We’re at one of the city’s best seafood restaurants, the Summer Shack where they say ‘food is love,’ and they serve a taste of Summer all year round.
Vanessa Bitton – Summer Shack: “So Summer Shack is like a quintessential New England, Boston Area seafood restaurant, it takes like fine dining food and puts it in a casual atmosphere, roll up your sleeves, crack open a lobster. The seafood itself is all super local. It all comes from the shores of Boston and Maine and the New England area. So you know, that makes us a really good place to be. We love being here. We’ve been here for 23 years. And you know, we must be doing something right?”
It’s so great. There’s a lobster in the rough sort of vibe. And you can see what their priorities are because the lobster tank and it’s gigantic is right in the middle of the restaurant.
Now the menu here is an interesting mix of very high end super fresh seafood and then great traditional comfort food. There’s a reason people come to New England from all over the world. And this is it. The number one seller here at the Summer Shack, the New England clambake.
Boston invented two things, a written constitution and a clambake.
“Traditionally clambakes are done in a big hole in the sand on the beach. So people are always asking us why is there a hard boiled egg in this bag of seafood, and we say because when you cook the clambake on the beach, traditionally, you stick the egg in there. So you know when the egg is cooked, the rest of the clambake is done. It’s just, it’s steamed lobster, it’s steamed clams, mussels, corn on the cob, potato, chorizo. It’s everything you can think of thrown in a bag steamed together, a lot of butter, a lot of Old Bay. It’s messy, but it’s good.”
Now I’m gonna give you a little inside tip. One of the best dishes not just in New England, but all of America is this one: The Pan roasted lobster.
The pan roasted lobster is one of my ‘going to the chair’ foods. They say ‘we’re gonna flip the switch at midnight, pal. What do you want?’ I get this.
Now this dish was invented by Chef Jasper White, he was the original chef and partner of the Summer Shack when it first opened. He started serving this at his fine dining restaurant in 1984. And it became an immediate hit. As a matter of fact, Julia Child herself said that this was her favorite dish in Boston.
“Yeah, so Jasper’s Pan roasted lobster is a dish that came from Jasper’s original restaurant, and is now a staple on the menu. Here it is my personal birthday meal every year, 18 years running now. So it is delicious.”
And here’s how it’s made. They cut the lobster up into pieces, put it into a hot skillet, and then it’s combined with some bourbon, white wine, chives, chervil and a little bit of butter or frankly, a lot of butter.
This comes with corn on the cob so you can roll it around in the sauce. I also recommend getting the corn bread. So in case there’s any left over you can sop it up and not waste one single drop.
Now the lobster dishes are at the high end of the menu. But then you also have this- some of the best fried chicken in America.
I’m a fried chicken freak. I’ve had it from Boston to New Orleans. I never had better than this.
“People are always really surprised by our fried chicken because they think oh, there’s a New England seafood restaurant. We couldn’t possibly do fried chicken well, but it’s one of the best things on the menu, if not arguably the best thing on the menu.”
The seasoning blend salt, pepper, garlic, onion. This is ridiculous. Everyone comes here and they want to eat the same thing to start: the New England Clam Chowdah. Here at the Summer Shack. They do a nice creamy version that has some pork in it. It has some onions in it. It has some clams in it, and it has some smashed potatoes in it too to thicken it up a little bit.
This rendition is not super thin. It’s not super thick to me. It’s just right. It’s got all the four food groups. It’s a meal in and of itself.
There’s really only one way to start your meal if you’re coming to the Summer Shack and that is with their raw bar.
Nobody really eats beans in Beantown or calls it Beantown. What they do eat is oysters.
They specialize in super fresh East Coast oysters, most of them sourced right from here in Massachusetts on Cape Cod. And if you want to go big or go home this is what you want to get the Tower of Power.
The seafood tower has oysters, clams, and even oysters with tuna sashimi inside this is the ultimate seafood experience.
“There’s also some cocktail shrimp on there, some cherry stones, ceviche, it’s really just a tower of everything raw. And it’s awesome.”
The motto here is food is love. And I love this restaurant.
If you want to have a lobster dish, first of all Boston is the place to be. And then within Boston, I’d say we are definitely the one to beat because you know it’s one thing to have lobsters come in and stick them in a refrigerator somewhere but we let them swim around. We have a massive tank here. We cook them right in these big pots and… it’s a great time.
We’ve already eaten a lot, but we’re still hungry. Let’s go to the next spot.