As a kid in the high desert, my experience with seafood was mostly breaded shrimp and fish sticks. After spending several weeks in New England as a young adult, I was all-in—hook, line and sinker. Morgan’s Lobster Shack & Fish Market—opened just a few weeks ago—brought back those great memories, and then some.
My companions and I shared crab cakes ($13 for two) and an ahi poke special ($13). Unlike some crab cakes, these sizeable seafood pucks were a mix of minced crab meat along with large chunks of crab claw, with a nicely browned, pleasantly seasoned coating. The raw tuna cubes tasted very fresh and light, tossed in a sesame oil vinaigrette and whole sesame seeds and served with light, crispy tortilla chips.
Next up was a pair of 10-ounce soups, clam chowder ($6) and lobster bisque ($8). The chowder was excellent, with the flavor of bacon, black pepper and plenty of tender, chopped clam. But the bisque made me feel like I had bathed in essence of lobster. It was decadent, creamy, buttery and expertly seasoned.
The Mt. Whitney plate ($24) was a combination of lightly battered haddock, sea scallops, shrimp, fries and coleslaw. The batter was nicely seasoned and crispy, and the seafood was cooked just right. The housemade tartar sauce had a nice bite of lemon and dill, and the cocktail sauce had a good bit of horseradish to balance the tangy sweetness. Tasty coleslaw included red onion, carrot, radish and a very nice vinaigrette—my kind of slaw.
Lobster and dungeness crab rolls ($19 and $20 respectively) appeared a bit small on first glance but were stuffed with high-quality crustacean meat, lettuce, tomato, pickled onion and tartar sauce. Instead of potato chips our companions chose to substitute fries ($2 extra) and beer-battered onion rings ($4 extra). The rolls were simple, yet fantastic. The rings were great, and the shoestring fries were OK but a bit dry.
A king salmon burger ($15) sported apple-smoked bacon, tomato, butter leaf lettuce, pickled onion and chipotle aioli and came with fries and slaw. The salmon was lightly breaded and fried, and the result was quite good. Better yet were the surf and turf sliders ($17), filled with poached lobster, grilled pork belly and bacon aioli, also with fries and slaw. I was skeptical at first, but this combination of flavors was transcendent.
We also tried a bowl of creamy lobster macaroni and cheese ($12) and a lobster reuben sandwich ($18). The cheesy dish was replete with large chunks of lobster meat, apple-smoked bacon, fontina cheese sauce and campanelle pasta topped with toasted panko bread crumbs. It was every bit as good as it sounds. But the reuben was a special surprise. We all loved it. In fact, it might be one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever tasted. As one of my friends remarked, “This is a total foodgasm.”
The cioppino special ($21)—a big bowl full of clams, mussels, swordfish and halibut sauteed in a broth of lemon, garlic, white wine, tomato and butter—didn’t seem to have much tomato, but the garlicky seafood was delicious. We finished up with blueberry vanilla bread pudding ($7), which was sliced and grilled like French toast. The bit of crispy browning complemented the creamy, polenta-like texture, perfectly capping an evening to remember.