Tonight I went to the new Old Port Lobster Shack. They soft opened about three weeks ago near Mikuni and Century 14 on Eureka. Soon they will have their full menu, but at the moment they don’t have beer or desserts (possibly a couple other items). I’ve been looking forward to this one for quite a while. I had thought this was actually a much more widespread business, but they only seem to have a few other locations; two in the bay area and one coming to Portland.
I was joined by some family members a little after 5:15PM and we were one of the first customers for dinner. The three-person staff were very friendly and greeted us right away. The menu is on a chalk board to the let when you walk in.
I have been curious about what the prices would be like. My only experience with lobster rolls has been from various food trucks, and they tend to charge about $15-$17 for a small roll. I was a little taken aback when I saw that their rolls were $24.75, but I had to see what it was all about here. I’ve recently been hankering for some clam chowder, so I also ordered a cup of that [$5.75]. A bottle of Mexican Coke finished off my order [$2.50], bringing the total with tax to $36.28. There are lots of less expensive items to choose from. Pretty much everything with lobster (except the bisque) is going to set you back $25 though.
We took a seat in the dining room and didn’t wait very long, less than 5 minutes, for our food to start coming out. For the rolls there were two choices, Naked and Maine. The Naked was just lobster with butter, served cold or warm with sides of mayo and warm butter. The Maine was served cold, mixed with Hellmann’s mayo, green onions, salt & pepper. Both were serve with fries and coleslaw.
The slaw was fairly sweet and had some raisins mixed in. I’m not really a coleslaw guy but I’ll usually eat it anyway. I thought it was fine. The fries were good, crisp and hot. They didn’t need any salt or ketchup; a great fry in my book. The lobster was served on a soft, buttered and toasted roll. Based on memory, I would say there was about 50% more lobster on these than on the rolls I’ve had from trucks. The naked roll was pretty straightforward. I had the Maine roll and it was very good. The mayo, very light amount of green onions and salt/pepper seasoning helped transform it into something a little more interesting and tasty.
My cup of chowder came out in a literal cup. It tasted pretty good, but unfortunately was not very hot. The clams were small but plentiful, as were the potatoes, which made it a somewhat smooth chowder. I think if this were hot it would have been much better.
The last item we had was a basket of fried shrimp [$13]. This also came with fries and coleslaw. I think this was the absolute best value of everything we ordered. It had a ton of giant shrimp that were delicious. They had a light batter to them and it came with lemon slices which added some nice bright flavor to them.
Admittedly, lobster is never particularly inexpensive. Still, I find the price to be a big downside and tough to justify when you can get tons of great food for much less than I spent on my roll & chowder. I’ll really have to be in the mood for lobster to return. That said, the food was good (chowder temperature aside), I cannot deny that. It’s worth a visit, even if it’s not going to be a place I expect to frequent.