Portland, Maine / August 22, 2009 / lunch
Winederlust Rating (details below): 6.5 out of 10 / Winederlust Worthy: Maybe
After visiting the new Ed's Chowder House this weekend in NYC (review and pics coming soon), we were inspired to post the tale of our last chowder-eating excursion over the summer. During our weekend trip to Portland, Maine for a friend’s wedding, we knew we had to eat as much as possible of one thing: lobster. But considering we also love oysters, we couldn’t pass up Jay’s namesake seafood joint, J’s Oyster, right on the water in the touristy Old Port section of the city.
From the outside, the place wasn’t much to look at – and from the inside, it wasn’t either. J’s was more like a dive bar with food than a restaurant, with many diners eating at the U-shaped bar that dominates most of J’s interior and a few at tables scattered near the windows. The clientele appeared to be mainly locals sharing gossip about other locals (and easily identified by ordering non-seafood dishes like chicken salad) and a smattering of tourists ordering many, many plates of shellfish in all its forms.
We started with a plate of lobster claws, about eight pieces of meat arranged on some lettuce. Our motto is that no lobster is bad lobster, and these were fine – not incredibly sweet, but with that familiar addictive lobster taste.
Next came two cups of stew: lobster and, for variety’s sake, oyster. I preferred the oyster, which was slightly creamy like a New England clam chowder and full of juicy oysters and potatoes, but Jay was a bigger fan of the lobster, in a red broth with a tangy taste that we couldn’t quite place (though it was undeniably tasty).
We also ordered a dozen oysters, which we’d seen piled high in the middle of the bar area. Unfortunately, these oysters were nothing special, rather thin with a slightly metallic taste. We didn’t even finish all of them which, considering our oyster obsession, was saying something.
We finished our lobster feast by sharing a lobster roll. This one came with mayo on the side, which we actually saw a lot of on the trip (though I had been expecting large amounts of mayo mixed in). Again, the meat wasn’t as sweet as we would have liked, but even though we were full, we were able to polish it off, since who can turn down lobster that’s right in front of them?
- by Liz Humphreys, Winederlust Eater in Chief
Winederlust Rating Details (out of 10):
Food: 7.0 (preparation, presentation & taste)
Wine: 6.0 (selection, recommendations, pairings & taste)
Service: 8.0 (helpfulness, attentiveness, knowledge & pacing)
Place: 5.0 (location, view, decor & vibe)
Price Range: $ (So Cheap)
J's Oyster Bar / 5 Portland Pier, Portland, Maine
Direct Line: 207.772.4828
Open Monday-Saturday 11:30am to 11:30pm and Sunday 12pm to 10:30pm; No Reservations.