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Summer Shack in the Back Bay


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Summer Shack in the Back Bay

C. Simon | Apr 8, 2003 08:41 PM

I know that Summer Shack gets some mixed reviews here, but I have generally been impressed during my many visits to the Alewife location. In particular, the quality of the fish and shellfish is tough to beat. Also, on one visit, a carnivore friend called the venniso the best piece of meat he had ever had.

I have therefore been anticipating the opening of the Summer Shack in the Back Bay, as it is within walking distance of my home.

While there are definitely service kinks to get worked out (it was only the second day!), things were fairly promising.

The scallop ceviche was my least favorite of the three items I tried. The large orange and graprefruit segments overpowered the delicate flavor of the scallops. Other flaws were the odd garnishes such as cherry tomatoes and greens. Major distractions that really didn't belong. On the positive side, the quality of the scallops was impeccable. Really, really good.

The "stuffers" were clams stuffed with bacon and cornmeal. Satisfying, but not memorable. It would be tempting to accuse them of having too much cormenal stuffing, but I think the whole point of this dish was to have lots of cornemal stuffing soaked with the flavors of bacon and clams.

The best dish of the night was the spring rolls with flounder and crab meat. Suitably greasy. Perfectly crisp, and full of sweet, oily flounder and crab. The cole slaw was the ideal side with the dish.

I think that hungry hounds will have a problem with portion size. While none of the dishes I had were exorbinant (none was over $7), they were all quite small. There were only five scallops, four clams, and two slender spring rolls.

I noticed at the original Summer Shack that portion sizes were drastically reduced about a year after they opened, sensibly capitalizing on the popularity of the restaurant. Unfortunately, the slimming of the portion sizes has extended to the new location.

Fun place. Tasty food. And, while it's not the greatest value in the world, you can get by without putting too big a dent in the wallet.

I will be back, for convenience and oysters, if nothing else.

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