Aunt Carrie’s

Review by: Jane & Michael Stern

Aunt Carrie’s, at Point Judith on the ocean, has been a favorite summertime destination since 1920. (Between April and Memorial Day, it is open only on weekends.)

It remains one of the few places in Rhode Island that still lists a full shore dinner on its menu. Start with chowder (your choice of white, red, or Rhode Island-style, which is clear and bacon-flavored). That’s accompanied by crusty-gold balls of deep-fried clam-flavored dough called clam cakes as well as steamers with broth and butter for dipping. Then come filet of sole with corn on the cob and French fries, accompanied by homemade bread and butter. After that you get a whole lobster and finally warm Indian pudding topped with ice cream or a slice of pie. Abbreviated versions of the big feed are available (without the lobster, or without the fish); or you can order à la carte and get whatever combination of chowder, clam cakes, fish, or lobster you like.

Beyond huge, whole dinners (priced in the $30 range) and plates (closer to $20), the menu lists a nice array of modestly priced rolls and sandwiches, including local flounder on a bulky roll, whole-belly clam rolls, lobster rolls on house-made bread, and a unique BLT. That’s bacon, lobster and tomato.

Desserts never fail: sweet/tart rhubarb pie, seriously good Indian pudding and, at the very end of the summer, pumpkin pie. During strawberry season Aunt Carrie’s traditionally offers Yankee strawberry shortcake.

What To Eat

Fried Clams

DISH
Shore Dinner

DISH
Rhubarb Pie

DISH
Steamers

DISH
Lobster

DISH
Indian Pudding

DISH
Clam Cakes

DISH
Pie

DISH
Lobster Roll

DISH

Aunt Carrie’s Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Aunt Carrie’s?

One Response to “Aunt Carrie’s”

Sally Lerman

July 17th, 2012

This spot has a long history here on the Rhode Island shore. Been here since the 20s, owned by the same family, so they must be doing something right. That thing is definitely the baked goods. Fresh baked bread and pies that were all terrific, and I tried an awful lot of them.

Started with my first taste of a clam fritter or, as I call them, fry balls, a specialty of the house. I don’t think I really get these things: fried batter with barely any noticeable clams. You salt them, and add vinegar, as our host, an expert on all things Rhode Island, explained.

Then I got a basket of homemade cinnamon roll bread served, curiously, with margarine. Do people still eat margarine? It was Land O’Lakes, but still. Amazing bread; it was all I could do to save a little room for my lobster roll and dessert, of course.

So, for the lobster roll, you have a choice of hot or cold, and homemade bread or not. Eh, the bread choice was obviously a no-brainer. Why have non-homemade when you can have homemade? I figured that out when the giant sandwich arrived. The homemade bread option results in a sandwich with giant slabs of good-tasting, fresh bread. Delicious, but makes for a very unwieldy eating experience. Jan, our host, ordered the non-homemade option. She’s clearly ”in the know.” The plain hot dog bun might not have tasted as good, but looked much easier to eat.

Ken and I ordered one hot and one cold. I saw little difference between the two; they really appeared exactly the same. The hot was a little warmer, and the cold had some mayo. There was superfluous lettuce on both and the hot had a side of melted butter.

I asked the waiter if the lobster meat for the roll was cooked and picked in-house and he unconvincingly told me that “everything’s fresh.” Hmmm, well maybe everything is fresh, but that doesn’t mean it was made here. The hot dog bun wasn’t. The meat was all claw, no tail (always a sign to me that it was likely not cooked and picked in-house), minimal spongies and not bad flavor.

The hot version was just hard to handle: because the meat was naked, it kept falling out. I happen to think that naked meat can only be pulled off if you are using uncut meat, a la Red’s. Even then, it’s kind of annoying because you can’t dip a lobster roll in butter like it’s a French dip roast beef sandwich. The innards all fall out and you end up pouring butter all over your hand. If I wanted to make a mess of myself, a whole lobster is the right answer.

I wanted to like this lobster roll a lot more than I did. But the bread was everything I dreamed it could be, just not right for a lobster roll. I think they should try making a hot dog bun with their great bread. When I go back again, I’m going to stuff my face with bread and order a whole lobster. Then eat a ton of dessert. If you have never had Indian pudding, try it. It’s like grits meets molasses cookie, with ice cream. Aunt Carrie’s Indian pudding is great.

Reply

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By Jane and Michael Stern Originally Published 2002 Gourmet Magazine WITH THE EXCEPTION of the hot dog bun, there has never been an edible invention as useful as the...

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