A new takeout and delivery operation specializing in the styles of lobster rolls served in the Hamptons and Cape Cod comes from a surprising source: the Italian-American kitchen at I’m Eddie Cano in Chevy Chase.
The ghost kitchen, dubbed Nantucket Clam Shack, started selling a variety of lobster rolls, chowders, and other seafood dishes Monday, July 27. The owners plan to keep it running through the fall inside the mod, 60-seat restaurant at 5014 Connecticut Avenue NW.
The menu kicks off with jumbo shrimp cocktail (peel-and-eat) and two types of clam chowder by the pint or quart: a tomato-based Portuguese stew packed with linguiça and a creamy New England style filled with bacon.
Lobster rolls are named after Montauk in East Hampton, New York, and Madaket, on Nantucket. The Long Island style is served warm with celery butter. The New England style is chilled with aioli and celery salt. A $27.95 price tag includes cole slaw and Cape Cod brand chips. Each component is packed separately, including quarter-pound tubs of Maine lobster meat and rolls that local Panorama bakery makes with a splash of IPA.
Additional options include a beer-battered fluke sandwich or fried chicken sandwich with pickled ramps. They’re served on toasted brioche with waffle fries. For dessert, there’s a whole key lime pie lined with a graham cracker crust. Along with six-packs, growlers, wine, and White Claw, the drink menu includes a dark and stormy cocktail for two. Fried whole belly clams will join the mix as soon as a Maine vendor gives the word.
Meal kits for four (24-hour notice required) include all the fixings for a lobster roll feast or Nantucket clam bake at home: steamer clams, mussels, shrimp, smoked sausage, potatoes, fresh corn, drawn butter, garlic bread, coleslaw, clam chowder, and key lime pie.
Orders open at 3 p.m. and stop after 8:15 p.m. Customers can order online for curbside pickup online. Delivery options include DoorDash and app-based Starship Robots, which carry food within a 1.5-mile radius of the restaurant.
With summer travel plans scratched everywhere due to the pandemic, the idea is to deliver of a beachside treat. Long before he helped open I’m Eddie Cano in 2018, chef-partner James Gee spent years working in restaurants along the “lobster belt” from Montauk to Maine.
“In Nantucket, all the local seafood shops had the best lobster rolls and fried clams,” says Gee, who helmed the Galley Beach in Nantucket from 1998 to 2002.
Under a subsequent, decade-long stint in the Hamptons, he worked as sous chef at the reputable 1770 House and East Hampton Point. He met co-owner and general manger Massimo Papetti, an alum of Assaggi Osteria and Cafe Milano, while cooking at East Hampton’s celebrity-packed Cittanuova restaurant. Nantucket Clam Shack is, in part, inspired by the local haunts he used to frequent along Montauk’s thin Napeague Stretch.
“It’s a thin spit of land that has the clam bar, known for a good beach cocktail, and the Lobster Roll, with a famous sign that just says ‘LUNCH,’” Gee says.
Gee calls the clam shack a “pivot” but says “it sure would be nice” if it expanded into its own standalone restaurant space. I’m Eddie Cano is still running its Italian-American menu in tandem with the ghost kitchen. There’s takeout, delivery, and dine-in service from (3 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a 10 p.m. close on Friday and Saturday.