The Lobster Trap is a large and fairly isolated seafood restaurant at the beginning of Cape Cop. During the summer, it becomes its own bustling village. Valet parking lots overflow, and long waits keep anxious diners milling around the attached fish market, which is where it all started, in 1969.
Once you’re seated on the patio, the crowds seems far away and you can enjoy a tranquil view of Buzzard’s Bay. The menu is large and includes all the seafood shack favorites as well as such modern flourishes as Asian fusion noodle dishes and a lobster Reuben. Everything is centered around seafood.
Clams are a specialty. Quahogs look impressive in the fish market, piled high with filling laced with Spanish chorizo. Unfortunately, the one we got at the restaurant was all bread. We didn’t notice any more clam than the shell. Perhaps we got an unlucky clam, but we can’t recommend them.
Other than a sad quohog, the news is very good. Steamers are pristine and plump. They have some gentle earthy notes, and we couldn’t tell if that was from steaming in court bullion or the just the natural complexity of the clams. Either way, they are succulent, juicy, and grit free.
The clam roll is whole belly clams battered, fried, and tucked into a buttery brioche roll. We’re particular about fried fillings for sandwiches. We find it parching and redundant to stick breaded food between bread, but the best whole belly clams (and oysters) succeed because of the all the juices in the mollusk. The excellent clams that The Lobster Trap sources take very well to frying and make for a succulent roll that requires no tartar sauce. Accompanying fries are crisp, hot, and golden.
We’re skeptical of places that feel too slick and branded. The atmosphere can be hectic and the prices inflated. The Lobster Trap is pleasant (once you got a table), and prices for the ambitious dishes with schooled execution are about the same as the prices at dusty old hard-times clam shacks with basic food. Anywhere that can fry clams like this is aces in our book anyway.