Restaurant Review: The Summer Shack
You will forget you're in Richmond. Upon sitting down at one of the picnic tables inside, I could have sworn I was sitting down in a no name seafood dive on the Beach Road in Nags Head - and I mean that in a good way.
The Summer Shack is in the blue building that used to be Fast Eddies on West Broad Street past Short Pump, past 288. It's so Far West End, it's actually East End (for Goochlanders, anyway.)
Starting with the parking lot, it's just like you're on the OBX. Pull up, no parking spaces, just pull into the dirt lot. There are some shrimp nets, crab pots and buoys on the outside to let you know you've found the right place. Walk up the wooden steps, through the doors and pick your seat. There's a porch swing to your left (yes, inside) the bar is straight back with a big screen and around the corner to your right is another room. The Wife sat us at the picnic table by the window.
Before we go further, let me state this: this place is casual. I'm talking blue solo cups, the silverware comes wrapped in a paper towel and the menu is a folded in half piece of paper. But if you've ever been to the Outer Banks, it's right on point.
We started with the fried catfish bites, unfortunately they didn't come as an appetizer, but with our lunch entrees. The breading was very crisp, The Wife thought it was great, I thought it was a little overcooked. It was served with "beach fries". These look and taste like they're cut fresh from potatoes in the kitchen.
For lunch, The Wife ordered the Tuna Tacos. Wow, were these good. She made the comment, I a agreed - these are worth coming back for. Three good sized soft taco shells each full of good sized chunks of tuna. The Wife requested hers blackened. This is not the type of place where you expect to be asked how you would like your tuna cooked - but they did; rare? medium rare? The tuna was plentiful and spicy. Two was too many for The Wife, the full three would have filled me up. They're served with a fresh cole slaw and the beach fries. She requested onion rings, but they were out of onions and weren't getting a delivery until tomorrow.
I opted for the fried shrimp sandwich. These are hands down the BEST fried shrimp I have ever had in Richmond. Growing up near the Outer Banks, I'm used to good, fresh North Carolina shrimp. These were huge, and again tasted as if they had been freshly breaded. Six large shrimp were served on a roll with the home made slaw. It was a huge roll, and the shrimp couldn't all fit inside.
The prices are reasonable - all sandwiches are under $10. Our bill, with an appetizer, two lunch entrees and two teas came to $27.
If you want fresh seafood in a laid back atmosphere, this is your place. This isn't Water Grill or Coast, but it doesn't try to be. The service was a little slow, but again, this is a casual place - and the food made it worth it
We both left wanting to return. I overheard the owner saying he had originally owned Patina, and had sold it, as well as a few other Richmond restaurants. The experience came through in the food.
The also had some great nightly specials - one night's special is $.50 oysters - Yes Sir!
If you want some of the freshest seafood in Richmond served in a laid back environment with no pretenses make the drive. You'll be glad you did.