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Straight Wharf Fish Store, Nantucket island

Straight Wharf Fish Store, Nantucket island

I was on Nantucket island for less than 48 hours to attend the wedding of two good friends. Their hospitality was such that Jon and I ate only one meal “on our own,” and for that, we headed straight to the Straight Wharf Fish Store.

This Serious Eats blurb about the place called it “Nantucket’s Best-Kept Lunch Secret” and then included a photo of a magnificent-looking soft-shell crab sandwich. Surely they would serve a good lobster roll.

Straight Wharf Fish Store interior

Straight Wharf Fish Store interior

Straight Wharf Fish Store is definitely first and foremost a fish store. Lots of tanks of doomed crustaceans and fish; clean, no-nonsense white tile decor. I wondered at first whether they actually sold prepared food, but then I caught a whiff of rich, creamy clam chowder and knew this was the right place.

Lobster roll at Straight Wharf Fish Store

Lobster roll at Straight Wharf Fish Store

The bad news is that the Straight Wharf’s lobster rolls cost $18 each and are served with some pretty awful potato chips. The good news is that your buttered, toasted roll comes stuffed with 1/2 a pound of chunky lobster meat, touched up slightly with tangy mayo and crunchy celery. It didn’t look like much, but it was sweet summer decadence on a roll.

We devoured our sandwiches sitting on creaky picnic tables by the water. And I thought about how the lobster roll could only have come from America: they represent an almost-embarrassing abundance. What other country would treat fresh lobster meat like canned tuna?

The clam chowder ($6.50 a pint) was no slouch, either. It lacked big chunks of clam, but it made for an unbeatable companion while I stood in the rain, waiting for our ferry back to Hyannis.

Straight Wharf Fish Store, 4 Harbor Square, Nantucket, MA 02544; 508-228-1095. (When you get off the Hy-Line Ferry, just walk down the pier and you’ll see Straight Wharf on your right. If you hit Cap’n Tobey’s Chowder House, you’ve gone too far).

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