There is one more lobster restaurant in Portland but there are never enough

I’m of the opinion that there can never be too many good seafood restaurants in town. While Maine Lobster Shack on Fore St. isn’t right on the coast, it’s close enough to feel the part and its April opening added another spot for both locals and tourists to choose from when thinking about where to get their seafood fix.

We took a trip to MLS on a beautiful Friday night and chose to sit outside. It was quiet in the Old Port and the restaurant wasn’t particularly busy, so the scene was quite serene. We were provided with both drink and food menus. Never having been and not knowing what to expect, I was surprised by the size of the menu, expecting purely lobster-based items, but there was a full offering of Maine seafood specialties.

There were plenty of beer, wine, and liquor options, but she stuck with a soda water and lime while I just had a standard, oft underappreciated water. The food menu started with soups/chowders, oysters, steamers, fried seafood, and shrimp and crab items. Lobster, rolls, and salads came next, followed by plates, mac and cheese, and sandwiches.

it was either a lobster roll or some fried seafood for me and since my wife wanted a roll, I went with the fried. There were clams (whole belly or strips), oysters, scallops, or calamari from which to choose. I went with Scallops (served with tartar or cocktail sauce), but the fried seafood was considered a starter and didn’t come with sides, so I also ordered Coleslaw and Onion Rings. She picked the Naked Lobster Roll – pure lobster meat on a roll served w/ fries and coleslaw and side of drawn butter and mayo.

When the food came out, I immediately thought that the portion sizes were fair. There were eight large scallops ($16) and at $4 each, the sides were plentiful. My wife’s roll was quite full, though I expected it to be for $22.50. We requested silverware and tartar sauce for me and took the ketchup from the basket of condiments, each squirting a fair allotment of the tomato-based flavorer in our baskets.

Once I had the proper utensils and sauces, I snagged a scallop. The lightly breaded, cylindrical mass of seafood was mildly seasoned, fresh, and perfectly sweet. Its natural flavors shined and paired perfectly with the tartar sauce when I chose to dip them in that. The coleslaw was mayo based and the onion rings had heavy breading. They were both solid – not far out of the ordinary, but well made and an appropriate compliment to fried seafood.

My wife’s roll was grilled. I don’t remember ever having a roll with plain lobster meat, though plenty of locations offer them. I took a bite and was impressed. The meat was fresh and tender and I confirmed there was plenty of it in there. The roll gave just a little butter flavor. It was definitely a healthier lobster roll than most if you’re into that sort of thing.

All the food got finished and my hunger was fully satiated. Maine Lobster Shack turned out to be an excellent place to eat and the outdoor seating in nearly perfect Maine weather led to an outstanding experience. Their menu is robust enough that one could make many visits there before eating the same item twice. If you like oysters, fried seafood, and lobster rolls, they’ve got what you want and much more beyond that.

I wouldn’t say that Maine Lobster Shack is the best at any one thing, but they performed well with everything we had. They seem to have a solid grasp on casual seaside fare and the Fore St. location really is a fun, central spot in the Old Port. Have beers and oysters outdoors, lobster rolls and fries indoors, or whatever combo of atmosphere and seafood you want. I think you’ll find a pleasant experience without any wanting for more when you’re through.

425 Fore St.

Stay hungry.

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