#253: Old Port Lobster Shack

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Website: http://oplobster.com

(Scanned) Menu: Click Here

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#247: Moe’s Southwest Grill

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It feels like we’ve had a lot of traditionally non-California chains expanding into our area over the last couple of years.  Moe’s is one of the newest and I was brought here by an offer of a free burrito for downloading their rewards app.  They are located at the corner of Sunrise and Cirby, in the new building next to Starbucks.  Since they’re a big chain I’ll let the photos do most of the talking, but my overall impression is that it’s like a more colorful version of Chipotle.

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My burrito was the following: pulled pork, southwestern rice, grilled mushrooms, grilled onions, grilled bell peppers, sour cream, guacamole, corn salsa and a creamy southwest-type of dressing with a bit of heat, then finally finished off with a dash of their hottest sauce.  It had to be double-tortilla wrapped due to how stuffed it was.  Overall it was enjoyable.  I must admit however that I have a huge love for Freebirds and will most likely continue to go there for my spicy burrito needs.  One nice thing here is that they deep fry their complimentary tortilla chips right in-store.  Downside is that the side of guac I got was tiny (+$2.80 for the guac and a soda).

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#244: DT Noodle

Yesterday I had a late lunch at DT Noodle, a fairly new Vietnamese Restaurant next to California Family Fitness on Foothills at Junction.  They were in Lincoln originally and recently moved to Roseville.

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I stepped in at about 2:30PM and was the only customer in the large space, aside from a postal worker on his break.  They utilized the large windows for tons of natural light.  The place seemed very clean and there was lots of room for customers without being packed together tightly.  I was greeted immediately upon entering and was gestured to one of the tables along the wall.

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I took a few minutes to skim the menu (link to scanned version), although I knew I would be getting the #13 Banh Mi (grilled beef sandwich) on recommendation from commenter Joell.  The prices seemed pretty low, just $5.75 for the sandwich, so I decided to add on an appetizer of shrimp and pork spring rolls to my order $4.95.  Had I taken a little more time to look at the beverages I probably would have seen that they had Thai tea, but instead I got a boring diet Coke :(.  One odd thing I noticed during my lunch was that there was christmas music playing.

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The soda was brought out within a minute in a can with a glass of ice.  The can looked spotless and it was plenty cold so I drank out of that.

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Three minutes later my spring rolls arrived.  I wonder if they have these made up in batches because that seemed fast.  They were excellent.  They were wrapped up tightly with a good amount of pork and each with a couple shrimp.  The lettuce was crisp and the peanut sauce was fantastic, especially served warm.

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Five minutes after the rolls came my banh mi.  It was a decent sized sandwich, probably a 6-8″ baguette cut in half.  It had a somewhat thin layer of the grilled, seasoned beef and stuffed with pickled carrots, daikon, cucumber and topped with fresh cilantro.  There were also some thinly sliced jalapeños hidden within that kicked things up a notch.

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The bread was soft with a thin, crunchy crust.  I generally enjoyed this sandwich with a couple things to note.  The beef was a bit overpowered by the picked carrots and jalapeños.  I think doubling the meat would be a simple solution here, and I would gladly pay for that since the price is already pretty low.  The 2nd thing was that it seemed like a fairly dry sandwich.  I’m not sure if that is normal or not, or if I should be utilizing some of the condiments on the table.  I remember the first banh mi sandwich I had and it was incredible, but that’s probably an exception because it was from a food truck and I’m sure they punched it up with some craziness.

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The service was polite and attentive, despite not much being needed for my simple lunch. I suspect I will return to try their pho.

Website: None

(Scanned) Menu: Click Here