Sea Basket lobster stew is exquisite. Milk-rich but not thickened or heavy, it is loaded with hunks of knuckle, and claw meat and has a glistening butter slick on top. It is the sort of rich, refined dish you’d expect to eat from a Staffordshire china bowl with a silver spoon, but the bowl here is Styrofoam and the spoon is plastic.
Fish and clam chowder are similarly excellent; and the baskets of fried shrimp, clams, and haddock are all fresh and crisp. Sea Basket scallops are especially delicious – sweet, tender, and veiled in a crust that virtually melts when bitten. We also like the lobster roll, which is filled with never-frozen pieces of tail, claw, and knuckle meat bound in just enough mayonnaise, but is made, oddly enough, in a sturdy bun similar to what you’d use for a hero sandwich. In our opinion, the bread is too much a presence, its substance detracting from the delicate taste and texture of the lobster it contains.
The Sea Basket offers a broad selection of whoopie pies — thick, soft chocolate cakes surrounding white sugar filling, as well as such variations as raspberry crème whoopie pies made with white cookies, peanut butter cream whoopie pies, and thin-mint whoopie pies (“tastes just like one!” a sign boasts).
Sea Basket is a neat and tidy functional roadside café, outfitted with laminate booths and tile walls. Service is eat-in-the-rough style: place an order and wait for your number to be called. Nutritional worrywarts will be happy to know that the menu includes a “Heart Smart” category with crispy chicken salad, a hot baked potato (with sour cream and butter!), and soup with a toasted garlic roll.
Note: Sea Basket closes in January and February, and it is always closed on Tuesdays.