Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Lobster Shanty - Salem - Massachusetts

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I had a bunch of miles that were expiring soon and with an open invitation from Gourmet Pigs to come out for a visit, decided to do just that for my birthday since I hadn't gone on a big trip in a while. Five days after I booked my flight, she received a media invite to Sacramento to tour a cattle ranch.

Could I change my ticket?

Not without incurring a hefty change fee. Plus, I wanted to go to the Keene Pumpkin Festival that weekend.

Would I mind if she went? She could leave her car for me if I wanted?

Well, sure, in that case, that actually worked out better because I could go up to Salem and spend time with second-oldest nephew.

Evidently, Salem is more happening than I realized. Since my flight came in late, I Googled around for some options and saw that The Lobster Shanty was open until 1 a.m.

Doh! October. Salem. Witch trials. Halloween. It's Salem's high season.

According to the T-shirts, which said, "The Lobster Shanty -- warm beer, lousy food, surly waitresses, rude bartenders, cranky cooks," I think it's supposed to be a dive, but service and food were just fine.

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I ordered a hot and dirty pickle martini, $7.95, Knockabout gin, Sriracha, Maitland Mountain Farms pickle brine and pickle garnish. They had a lobstertini with lobster claw garnish, but I had to draw the line somewhere! I could just barely see a few flecks of red in the martini. Where's the Sriracha?! Nonetheless, the pickle brine gave it a nice freshness. Second-oldest nephew ordered a beer.

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I couldn't pass up the fried calamari, $10. Especially after I asked nephew what Rhode Island-style meant. Battered and fried peppers. Oh yum! You can just see the green peaking out of the slices of jalapenos. Perfectly crispy and not too heavy, but the fried peppers gave the standard calamari a nice bite.

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We split a bowl of New England Clam Chowder, $6, with fresh chopped Gloucester clams and bacon. Those Westminster Bakers oyster crackers? So much better than the generic kind I've had before. I wish these were more readily available on the West Coast because I don't really want to order a 150-pack from Amazon just to get some!

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Lots of big pieces of chopped clams.

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Nephew wanted the fried whole belly clams with waffle fries, $16. My neighbor is from Boston, so when I mentioned I was heading out here, he waxed nostalgic about the fried whole belly clams. Not like the strips of outer clam meat usually served elsewhere, in which you just taste the batter, these fried clams were whole pieces of juicy meat.

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Couldn't start my New England trip without ordering lobster! The lobster roll, $19.50, with 6 oz of meat served in a buttered toasted roll with a choice of waffle fries, sweet potato fries, or waffle fries. I chose traditional, served chilled lightly tossed with their own lemon mayo and diced celery on a bed of shredded lettuce. The Connecticut-style was served warm tossed with sweet butter.

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A lot of lobster meat. The lemon mayo was really light because I could barely see or taste it. I tried taking a photo of it split in half, but the cross-section picture just looks like a pile of lobster meat. Only a few pieces of celery,  the lettuce and bread seemed like an afterthought. As a roll, I was underwhelmed. Not to say it was bad, just that I felt like I was simply eating chunks of succulent lobster.

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There actually were a few lobsters in that tank. And right above it, you can see Guy Fieri's grinning mug. Yes, The Lobster Shanty was featured on an episode of "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives."

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I wouldn't want to leave you with that awful image as a last picture, so here's our food before we started digging in. Well, minus some calamari. Nephew's friends later joined us and helped polish off the plates.

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Maybe next time I'll try the lobster mac and cheese, but I'll still hold off on that lobster martini with "lobster essence."

Posts in this series:
Lobster Shanty - Salem - Massachusetts
"Bewitched" Statue - Salem - Massachusetts
Red Line Cafe - Salem - Massachusetts

The Lobster Shanty
25 Front St.
Salem, MA 01970
Wednesday to Monday noon to 1 a.m.
Tuesday 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Hours vary by season so double-check before arriving.

1 year ago today,
2 years ago today,
3 years ago today,
4 years ago today,
5 years ago today, Marche Moderne - Costa Mesa.
6 years ago today, trying to identify my dahlia.
7 years ago today, individual hot pots at Jazz Cat Cafe - Alhambra (Closed).


  1. Lucky you didn’t go to Keene, NH pumpkin fest as it turn into a riot this year with police firing rubber bullets and tear gas.

    The Amazon price of $19.95 plus $10.28 shipping for a box of 150 Westminster Bakers oyster crackers is an excellent price compared to Famous selling all things and foods of New England price of $29.99 plus shipping (which is on sale) or you can go directly to Westminster Bakers oyster crackers Vermont website and purchase a box of 50 for $8.96 plus shipping directly from the company.

    When you return you can make New England style lobster rolls with New England top split hot dog rolls because King’s Hawaiian bakery is the only one making them outside of New England sells them in your area in local supermarkets. Of course nephews have to send you lobster or you can purchase hard shell frozen lobster from your local Costco and the mayonnaise used is Hellman’s on the east coast but called Best Foods west of the Rocky Mountains made by same company.

    When you return to Logan Intl Airport get there early so you can stop in Winthrop, MA RT-145 off RT-1A back side of Logan Airport (East Boston) at Belle Isle Seafood, 1 S Main St, Winthrop, MA 02152 (at the Winthrop Bridge) for their lobster roll which is guaranteed 8 oz. of lobster meat in the same size roll the you can waddle to the airport 10 min away.

    Next time try to get up to the North Shore to Ipswich, MA on RT-1A to The Clam Box ranked the best fried clams in all of New England by Yankee Magazine.

  2. Ken,
    I did go! Luckily, all the rioting happened after I left.

    I guess the Amazon price isn't so bad then. Those crackers were really good!

    I'll add Belle Isle to my list for my next trip. Although, after eating lobster in Maine, Boston comes in second. I've got The Clam Box bookmarked to try too, but didn't get time on this trip.


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