It’s been my family’s summer staple for as long as I can remember – lobster. Every summer we’d spend a week at my grandparents’ house on Cape Cod and feast on some of the freshest and tastiest lobster. One restaurant we never missed is the simply named “Raw Bar” in the Popponesset Marketplace in Mashpee. They have the best lobster rolls on the Cape, and perhaps anywhere. It’s all meat, no filler. Huge chunks of tail meat are mixed in with enormous claws that are still whole, held together with a little bit of mayonnaise and piled high on a hot dog bun.
Since my grandparents sold their home on the Cape a few years ago, my visits to the Raw Bar have been less frequent. This past weekend I was in Boston with my family, and we couldn’t pass up a trip out to our favorite seafood spot.
The Raw Bar hasn’t changed much since I began going there. The indoor bar is always packed with people waiting for one of the bar stools to open up. A wooden mermaid hangs above a fish tank with live lobsters. The ceilings are covered with Red Sox paraphernalia, the walls with photos of parties held at the Raw Bar. Barbados Bob, the owner, shucks all the oysters right at the bar and chats with all the regulars. Outside, the picnic tables quickly fill up with customers ordering lobster and beer in thick Boston accents.
When we arrived it was raining, so we grabbed a spot at the bar. I ordered a Sam Adams Octoberfest and six cherrystones.
For me it’s a special treat to eat cherrystones since they’re hard to find on menus in South Florida. They’re thicker and meatier than oysters – definitely not for those who are afraid of raw shellfish. When you bite in you get such a satisfying taste of the sea. It’s a little salty, a little sweet, a little slippery. Yum.
The cherrystones were shucked at the bar and placed in a paper dish with a lemon wedge. I like mine with a healthy serving of cocktail sauce. These ones were so big you almost needed to cut them in half to eat.
After savoring the cherrystones it was time for the main event, the lobster roll. It’s just as good as I remember. There were tons of claws, my favorite part of the lobster. The meat is cooked perfectly; it’s just the right texture and not too chewy. Best of all, there’s no work involved (besides digesting all that lobster). If I had to crack all the lobsters to produce this much meat, I’d be cracking lobster all day! The sandwich is truly decadent. It’s a special treat I urge all seafood lovers to indulge in. If you’re wondering, yes, I was able to eat all that lobster meat. It took me a while and I skipped the bread, but I couldn’t see any of that lobster go to waste!
The Marketplace Raw Bar is located in the Popponesset Marketplace, accessed by entering the New Seabury community near Mashpee. There’s a second new location in Hyannis, on Ocean Street.