Bellatrix has been telling us about Oyster Shack for awhile but the Divas were just never in the mood. Reminiscent of long family road trips to Maine, Diva#1 was finally convinced when Sweet Pea’s P’tit Soeur also told us how good it was. One Friday night, Sweet Pea and Diva#1 made their way to Oyster Shack and awaited Bellatrix’s arrival. We were starving and ready to order the whole menu; it also helped that Oyster Shack is very well priced, so money wasn’t an issue.
Bellatrix arrived and we immediately saw the shack snacks portion of the menu with buckets of seafood. All three of us are coconut shrimp lovers and connoisseurs; Diva #1’s father makes a mean coconut shrimp, so when we see it on a menu we do not hesitate but indulge. The bucket o’ coconut shrimp was very tasty and came on a handful of French fries with a tangy sauce. This was a fairly large appetizer and we were soon wondering why we had ordered so much.
Diva #1 is a coconut shrimp snob so though she loved it she saw room for improvement, but it was a great snack and perfect for a night out with some cocktails and gossip. We knew we were in for a long and chatty night so we decided to order three appetizers after our little shack snack. One of those appetizers was the clam chowder, which we shared, and if you think about it, it is barely an appetizer at all, more of a beverage
It was thick and creamy and came adorned with an opened clam in the center of the soup. You would be hard pressed to find better clam chowder in restaurants not located in the United States. Similar to clam chowder from trips to port towns in the US, this clam chowder made us want to order a second bowl. There was not too much potato, which is often the case, and the clams were salty and tasty: the perfect chowder to accompany our fried appetizers.
As we waited for our next two appetizers, Bellatrix became worried that the waiter would think that we were gluttons. Always concerned with what others think, she informed him that we had a friend on her way which is why we were ordering so much. It really is too bad that she was red and sputtered as she fibbed because the waiter just looked amused and said “yah… sure.” Diva#1 and Sweet Pea spent the rest of the night mocking Bellatrix for her fib. Of course, the waiter noticed that our third “hungry” friend never arrived, but we still managed to eat everything without “her.”
The crab cakes were not overly breaded nor heavy. For a deep fried treat, it is easy to go horribly wrong with crab cakes and end up with tasteless breaded things. This crab cake was interesting because it was a lump of crab meat that was impressively presented on a balsamic vinegar design andserved with tartar sauce; we were really impressed. When you hear Oyster Shack, you think casual, and it is, but their food is of a higher caliber than the local pub or shack.
Price listed above is for the main dish but the picture is of our appetizer portion.
If Bellatrix sees Mac n’ Cheese on a menu she has to order it. Having been to Oyster Shack before, she knew that she wanted the shack burger as her main meal, but she wanted to try the mac again. She tried to get Sweet Pea and Diva #1 to order the lobster mac and cheese, but we were set on the lobster roll that P’tit Soeur had recommended. So in typical Diva fashion, we asked the waiter to make the lobster mac and cheese into an appetizer size portion. Yes, we are those annoying people who always make changes to menu items… that’s just our style.
The lobster mac and cheese was generous; even the appetizer portion was large and very creamy. The cheese was gratinéed on top and the lobster pieces were decadent. We were very surprised; now, it doesn’t compare to the lobster mac n’ cheese that Diva #1 had in Florida, but it is certainly an impressive lobster mac n’ cheese for Montreal.
Sweet Pea and Diva #1 were ready to enjoy the magnificent lobster roll; having been spoiled by the phenomenal lobster roll at restaurant Le Local, Diva #1 was weary. Fret not; the lobster roll was wonderful, not too much mayonnaise, which is always the downfall of the lobster roll, and plenty of lobster. We opted for the Caesar salad, instead of the fries (we have to cut calories somewhere) and we all agreed that we really enjoyed the fresh taste of the roll. The bread could have been more interesting than a hot dog bun but in their defense they stayed true to real Oyster shacks in Maine and Cape Cod. Simple, delicious and well priced, the Divas would return on a hot summer day for Oyster Shack’s lobster roll.
Bellatrix was craving a burger and she said that though Oyster Shack is not a burger joint, their Shack Burger is amazing. It arrived at the table and was very juicy looking. She ordered the house salad and was very happy with her main meal. Diva #1 skeptically tried the burger; Bellatrix is a bit of a burger enthusiast and Diva #1 is a bit pickier but hey! They made a good burger. In general we would recommend the seafood at Oyster Shack over a burger but this was a very tasty option for the carnivores amongst us. Too bad she did not add the clam chowder poutine as a side to her burger, others had raved about it and we would have liked to try it but to be honest we were so full!
Oyster Shack also has a table d’hote special that offers a choice of daily dessert with coffee, tea or tisane for 5.95$, and though the Divas were too full for dessert we would happily return to try some. One menu option that Diva #1 would have liked to indulge in was the catfish burger which sounded very appealing. Catfish burgers are everywhere in Maine and a delicious substitute to a meat patty. You rarely see catfish on a menu in Montreal, let alone in a burger. This remains on our list of reasons to return to Oyster Shack and…well…the oysters. It seems kind of silly that we did not order oysters at Oyster Shack, but they do have a lot of variety so we got carried away with their other crustacean delights.
Our Rating: Average
Tagged: 1242 Bishop, Bar, Bishop, Calamari, Catfish, Clam Chowder, Clam Chowder Poutine, Coconut Shrimp, Crab Cake, Downtown, Downtown Montreal, Escargots, Fish & Chips, golden square mile, H3G 1S6, Lobster, Lobster Grilled Cheese, Lobster Mac n’ Cheese, Lobster Roll, Montreal, Montreal Restaurant, Oyster Shack, Oyster Shack Downtown Montreal, Oyster Shack Montreal, oysters, Seafood Platter, Shack, Shack Burger