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“Has highs and lows”
Review of Summer Shack

Summer Shack
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Ranked #71 of 627 Restaurants in Cambridge
Price range: $30 - $50
Cuisines: American, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Large groups, Local cuisine, Kids
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Off-Street Parking, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Dining
Transit: We are across the street from Alewife T station on the Red Line.
Description: Cambridge’s premier Seafood Restaurant featuring the largest raw bar in town… Summer Shack was opened in May 2000 by chef Jasper White on the outskirts of Cambridge in a spot once was occupied by the infamous Polynesian Restaurant, Aku Aku. It was a shock to many customers from the former Jasper’s Restaurant, a fine dining establishment that opened on Boston’s Waterfront in 1983. White tablecloths, soft music, elegant dinnerware and pristine food presentations: gone! Turn up the music. Haul out the picnic tables. Bring on the fun. At Summer Shack, rustic dishes like steamed lobsters and crabs, fish cakes, clambakes, fried chicken and burgers are served alongside modern preparations influenced by world cuisines, grilled local seafood and the best raw bar in town. At Summer Shack we are serious about our food, drinks and hospitality. Were are not fine dining – this is a casual restaurant that is family friendly and handicapped accessible. We welcome small parties but also excel at handling large groups of friends, family and business colleagues. Our Cambridge restaurant features a large function room, suitable for all sorts of event from rehearsal dinners to business meetings. Clambakes are our specialty – with our patented “Lobster Line” we can cook 100 lobsters at a time perfectly. Call us about customizing your next function; we can work with your needs and your budget. Come let us show you why FOOD IS LOVE.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
53 reviews
45 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Has highs and lows”
Reviewed August 18, 2013

I've eaten here for lunch and dinner many times over the years and have had food that's ranged from excellent (pan-roasted lobster, an SS specialty) to worse than mediocre. Most recent meal, lunch a few weeks ago: very good cornbread, but flounder tacos were disappointing as the fish lacked flavor. (Perhaps flounder is too bland for a taco dish; the tacos themselves were a nice texture, and the accompanying condiment was tasty.) Also, the slaw, though good, was over-creamified; it would be great if SS could also offer a vinaigrette-based slaw, which would be a perfect complement to seafood. Finally, was disappointed that the menu had only one berry pie, blueberry, though it was the height of summer; in the past, SS has had delicious, less pedestrian berry-pie offerings. Server was attentive and friendly.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank critiquer862
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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243 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Newton
Level Contributor
105 reviews
74 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Good Seafood, Reasonably Priced”
Reviewed August 13, 2013

We went here because we had a gift card and had heard good things about the place. We arrived between lunch and dinner time and were seated fairly quickly. Our waitress came over immediately and asked us if we wanted anything to drink and came back quickly with our drink orders.

We asked about one of the dishes on the blackboard, but unfortunately that was a holdover from the previous night's menu and was unavailable. We ordered a starter of iceburg lettuce (dressing on the side) and calamari. Both came out quickly and were quite tasty (calamari some of the best we've tasted ever!). For main meals we had the crabmeat club and the salmon. Both were very tasty and served quite hot! Our waitress was a delight. We loved the decor, but both thought that when the place was full it would be quite noisy (with no soft surfaces to absorb the sound). A good place to get tasty seafood!

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Skippy1958
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
94 reviews
77 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Great options, always a good choice”
Reviewed August 8, 2013

I like the Summer Shack (Alewife location). The scallops are good and they are usually available. When they aren't available, I get a clam chowder or some such thing.

The mixed drinks are good; they have a nasty maitai!

Great place to go with a large group.

One thing I've found is that the food and the service are very variable. Sometimes they are awesome and sometimes quite bad. There have been times when the place isn't too busy and food has taken a long time.

I remember the place being better lit and more cheerful in the past but on the most recent visit I was struck by the fact that it was dark and almost reminded me of a Polynesian restaurant with dark interiors etc.,

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Amrith K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
33 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“What is chocolate bread pudding?”
Reviewed August 7, 2013

I don't know, but it wasn't what I ordered. Bread pudding to me is warm, cinnamony, and made out of bread pieces. Theirs was more of a chocolate lava cake. Don't order if you were expecting bread pudding. Otherwise, we went on a Saturday night, they had dollar oysters, and I ordered the "be good to yourself" special which was really good and really filling. Overall the food was great, just not the chocolate bread pudding.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank SacManang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lincoln, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Forget it if you want something that isn't boiled”
Reviewed August 5, 2013

Terrible. We ordered the "Stuffed Scallops Appetizer" (note the plural, SCALLOPS), for $11!!!. It was only lousy scallop, cut in half with some horrible crumbs. Really awful. Skimpy and bad-tasting. Then the Bluefish entre? Had to send it back the first time because it was raw, then the second time it was still inedible. Unless you want a boiled lobster or fire clams, don't go there. They really can't cook.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank 450path
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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