Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Review by: Michael Stern
Lobster roll nirvana! Meat from a one-pound lobster is picked from the shell in immense pieces (no shreds here), loaded into a locally baked roll, then drizzled with melted butter (or, if you wish, dolloped with mayonnaise). It is not a huge sandwich, dimensionally speaking, but its flavor is immeasurable.
From a full menu of fried seafood (as well as hot dogs and hamburgers), fried clams are the stand-out: whole belly critters that perfectly balance crunch and goo. Whole lobster dinners are available from the seafood market next door.
It is up to the customer to find a place to eat food once it is retrieved from the window of the shack. Many people just loiter on the sidewalk and eat standing up. Also, there are a couple of benches in back with a lovely view of the water. They are conveniently located in a shady area, but put you in harm’s way of the gull pirates who would swoop down and steal a clam or even a chunk of lobster out of the roll if you leave it unguarded.
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What do you think of Clam Shack?
4 Responses to “Clam Shack”
April 10th, 2009
If I listed my five best Roadfood dining experiences, I would have to say The Clam Shack is one of them. Our family loves to go there and order a lobster roll apiece and a couple of orders of fried clams. The rolls are filled with luscious lobster and hot butter. The clams are fried perfectly; so delicious.
We open up the back of our van, where we put down a tablecloth and have a cooler with our drinks. We then happily eat away, enjoying the best darn lobster roll that one could ever ask for. This special vacation treat always remains the same and the word for it is “wonderful.” The staff is friendly and everyone is in a happy mood while waiting for their seafood treats. A most fun and delicious summer experience.
September 28th, 2007
We are big Roadfood fans and have discovered many fantastic places through this book. However, I would have to say the Clam Shack in Kennebunkport was a giant disappointment after visiting so many other lobster pounds and seafood shacks on the Maine coast. We stopped in at The Clam Shack anticipating what has been called the “best lobster roll” anywhere, but this was far from it, espeically for the exorbitant prices they now charge due to the marketing hype.
We ordered lobster rolls and onion rings. Our ideal of a master lobster roll is a healthy size sausage-style bun, crisp and toasted, with dressed lobster absolutely dripping with butter. The lobster rolls do contain a healthy amount of lobster meat, but the meat was average in taste and texture and the “butter” we ordered with it was nothing more than a thin veneer on the bun. The buns themselves were little more than average hamburger-style buns, nothing distinctive. The onion rings were frankly cheap and greasy and not something you want to eat unless you have the Pepto handy for getting back on the road.
Nothing tragic, just disappointing considering it was a major cash payout for lunch and so hyped. We easily found several other places within Maine, some from the Roadfood book, that were miles above the Clam Shack.
September 7th, 2004
To our chagrin, my wife Connie and I missed the Clam Shack on most of our numerous trips to Kennybunkport. This was simply because the restaurant is so small and inconspicuous. However, after reading of it in Road Food, I made a point to try it. We both ordered the lobster roll and were won over with the first bite! Not only is the lobster first rate (without the work of cracking the shell) but the bun is the best roll I’ve ever tasted.
The rolls are made especially for the Clam Shack by a bakery near Boston and are fresh daily. The lobster is the choice meat and fresh. You can have your roll with mayonaise or dripping with (artery clogging, but utteryly wonderful)melted butter.
We’ve always loved Kennybunkport, but we now we go there just to to eat at the Clam Shack anytime we are remotely close. If fact, we drove at least a hundred miles out of the way for a second helping the last time we were there. This time, however, we really pigged-out and bought three lobster rolls to share. We each ate one whole one, then my wife ate the lobster out of the third and I (very contentedly)gobbled down the roll.
This is definitely DO NOT MISS eatery!
May 23rd, 2004
I live in Kennebunkport and recall that the first time I was ever introduced to fried clams it was at “the Shack” and they have always been as good as those first succulent morsels. After living in K-port for most of my life, and putting in 20 seasons at area restaurants, no offense to anyone, but I have had it with tourists, as have many locals. But, one of the highest compliments a local person can pay to any establishment is just to show up during the tourist season. The Clam Shack is easily one of those places even the locals will go to at the height of the season. It’s just that good. There are any number of fry cooks in the area that cut their teeth working for the Jacques family, but nobody does it better. I know Steve Kingston personally and wish him the best of luck with the Shack. Steve knows good food and has a genuine concern that his customers have a good experience. Some may remember Steve as the kid with the lemonade stand at the corner of routes 35 and 9 as one comes into Kennebunkport. Steve has earned his way to the Shack through lots of hard work. You can’t go wrong with the Shack. I’ll see you there this summer!