My friend and I have a longstanding tradition of meeting for lunch over oysters and a light lunch. Thinking we might have a new and fun experience, and perhaps even eat a bit less expensively, this year we opted for Summer Shack in Cambridge rather than Legal in Burlington.
First, the vibe: At 12:30 pm on a weekday hardly any tables filled. Felt barny and somehow depressing. No sense of energy other than from the hostess, who told us they were understaffed due to a special event being held.
Our dozen oysters were fine, but at $3 per, no bargain and at least one pair of them were on the cusp of tasting good. The cocktail sauce was oddly flavored and not fresh, with a small dollop of horseradish on one side of the cup, presumably for us to mix in. Mignonette had barely discernible whiskers of shallots. We asked for oyster crackers, and after we found the waiter, asked him, and they came, they were stale. We also had to ask for Tabasco. I ordered oysters Rockefeller which, in other places is 5 good-sized oysters. Here it’s 4. No sign of any ‘absinthe’ or fennel flavor whatsoever. Sad little wilted greens in the middle.
My friend’s cup of Bahamian chowder was so-so, by his report. There is no other chowder than the heavy, white-sauced one. No Rhode Island style with just good briney chowder, salt pork, quahogs, a few 'taters and a touch of milk.
A guy with a white chef’s jacket stormed through the room holding a live lobster. Clearly in a mood, he hefted up the steam pot lid and smashed the lobster into the pot, and stormed away. Lovely.
We could hardly find anyone to give us a bill, and my dining partner went around the room to locate someone. All-in-all this dining experience was sad, expensive, and dispiriting. I was told that Jasper spends most of his time in Florida. Perhaps he’s just eager to rake in the dough. Clearly, he couldn’t give a fig for this place and it shows. We shall not return.