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Phantom Gourmet: Yankee Lobster In Boston’s Seaport District

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BOSTON – There’s nothing like eating fresh seafood right near the water. In the Boston Seaport District there is a little place where the portions are big, the prices are small – and the parking is free.

Steamers and beer. Chowder and Bisque. Lobster Rolls and Lobster Mac & Cheese.

Way before the Boston Seaport evolved into a legitimate dining destination, Yankee Lobster on Northern Ave. became one of the city’s top spots for “seafood in the rough.”

“Been here fourteen years and we’ve seen the whole area completely develop,” explained manager Frank Zanti. “Local food. Local flavor. Everything’s fresh; everything’s cooked to order.”

“We have the patio and we’re located next to a concert venue so, grab a beer, catch a show. You come here to hang out get really good food. Once you walk through the door, you feel like you’re part of the family.”

And this family eats very well. The harbor and fish pier are just feet away. The restaurant’s wholesale seafood business is right on sight, and the fresh lobsters are out of sight.

The top seller here is the lobster roll, a true New England classic filled to the brim with fresh-shucked meat and herbed mayo on a toasted split top bun.

There’s also a luxurious lobster bisque full of sherry and cream; an exceptional Lobster BLT boasting Texas toast stuffed with an absurd amount of meat; and an extremely filling order of Lobster Mac and Cheese that’s an unexpected value at under $14.

“You are getting a bunch of chunks of lobster meat in it,” Zanti described. “We have jumbo meat. We have claws, knuckles, tail meat in it; pretty much anything you’re gonna get in a lobster we throw it in there. Somebody once said it was the Cadillac of comfort food.”

Of course, if you want to keep it traditional, there’s always the not-too-thick, not-too-thin New England Clam Chowder, and the tray full of steaming hot Twin Lobsters with French fries and corn on the cob.

“This is what your customer usually comes for – to have that real New England style lobster or lobster roll, and we completely expect you to get messy, have fun with it.”

For seafood lovers, nothing is messier, tastier, or more fun, than when a table orders Yankee’s so-called Bucket of Crabs. There’s so much smashing, cracking, and pounding, that it sounds more like a construction site.

The Bucket of Crab is the most shared dish at Yankee Lobster. (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

The Bucket of Crab is the most shared dish at Yankee Lobster. (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“Bucket of Crab is the most shared dish that we have,” Zanti said. “You get a huge bucket of crabs. We have the placemats; we have the bibs; we have baskets for all the shells to go in. It is the dish that you’re going to get the most dirty with – but it’s fun.”

Other popular items include the hearty fish stew, crispy fish tacos, crab cake sandwiches with spicy remoulade, stuffed clams, and of course, plump and golden fried clams.

“The whole belly clams: simple batter, light batter, you know we don’t want to overpower the seafood. You want to actually experience and taste what you’re actually putting in your mouth,” Zanti said.

The famous Yankee Fish Sandwich is a site to see, almost too big to fit in your mouth.

“It’s a towering sandwich,” Zanti described. “It’s like the ultimate fish sandwich that we have here: coleslaw, tomato, onion, cheese, bacon. You know, like most of our food here, it’s a little overwhelming when you first get it, but you’re definitely left satisfied.”

For something even more satisfying, sit outside on the patio, get a cold draft beer, and order up a big bag of steamers.

“Great shared item. Dip ‘em in some broth. Dip ‘em in some butter,” Zanti said. “Steamers and a beer, you know you can’t go wrong. Perfect experience.”

To make the experience even better, consider this. The prices are incredibly low, with most appetizers costing less than ten dollars and entrees less than twenty. Yankee Lobster even offers free parking, so you can keep cracking away, without cracking your budget.

“We like to have fun and we want our customers to have fun. Especially in the summer, with everything going on, if there’s a show going on everyone’s having a good time. It’s a good place to come with a few friends, kick back a couple beers, have some good food. We want to have a fun atmosphere that you’ll tell your friends about and want to come back.”

You can find the Yankee Lobster at 300 Northern Avenue, and online at yankeelobstercompany.com.

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.

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