JB’s Fish Camp; New Smyrna Beach, Florida
JB’s really is a fish camp, offering kayak rentals, bait for catching redfish, and slips for arriving boaters in addition to a parking lot for cars. Located along the Canaveral National Seashore between the Mosquito Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, it provides diners with outdoor seating on the water where lucky ones will be able to glimpse manatees and porpoises cavorting nearby. Captain John A. Bollman, who runs the place, is a passionate crabber (the restaurant nabs its own), a fact evident in the snowy crab cakes and a “crabulous sandwich,” which is nothing more than cool, fresh crabmeat, mayo, and a jot of spice. Blue crabs are sold by the dozen, infused with whatever degree of JB’s proprietary spice mix you specify; and there are soft–shells, stone crab claws, and snow crab clusters. Plus a full array of oysters, scallops, pink shrimp and rock shrimp, and clams straight from JB’s waters. (859 Pompano Ave., New Smyrna Beach, FL; 386–427–5747)
Five Islands Lobster Company; Georgetown, Maine
If you want to go for a swim near Georgetown Island, Reid State Park offers a lovely sandy beach. The other side of Harmon Harbor, two miles farther down east, the water that surrounds Five Islands Lobster Company, at the end of the road on the docks, is too cold for swimming. Thankfully, the low temperatures make it just right for lobstering: When it is properly cooked, a denizen from these icy depths fairly bursts out of its shell with firm, sweet meat. Pick your own from the tank and tell the cook if you want it as the centerpiece of a full–bore shore dinner with a pound of steamers and potatoes and sweet corn boiled in briny water. For those too impatient to wait for their chosen lobster to cook, there’s a quick–gratification menu of lobster rolls, chowder, crab cakes—even hamburgers and hot dogs—and crisp fried whole–belly clams that are second to none.
BYOB and dine at a weather–beaten picnic table on the dock, where the achingly beautiful view is of five pine–tufted islands just off the coast and lobstermen bringing in their catch. Gulls swoop overhead through air that smells of the sea and of the come–hither perfume of hot lobsters and drawn butter. This is the ultimate Maine coast lobster–eating experience. (1447 Five Islands Rd., Georgetown, ME; 207–371–2990)
Jane and Michael Stern are the authors of Roadfood, the eighth edition of which was published in June 2011, and were longtime contributors to Gourmet. They currently operate Roadfood.com, the Web site guide to good eats all around the U.S.A.