Our new neighborhood is full of undiscovered restaurant gems. This is not one of them. Even before moving to Harlem, I had heard tons of good things about LoLo’s Seafood Shack. For the last 3 years it’s been on every NYC summer hit list. Finally, I got to check it out for myself and could not be happier to have a place like this just a few minute walk away.
LoLo’s actually feels a lot like the seafood spots in my hometown. Colorful and not at all fancy. In fact, the type of seafood served is similar, just with more Caribbean seasonings rather than the Old Bay that’s so prevalent in the Lowcountry. There are no frills at LoLo’s, but – like with bbq joints – I firmly believe that’s where you find the best seafood.
When you walk in, you’ll see the counter and two tables. Order your food, but don’t worry about the lack of seating – the real party is in the back. In fact, this would be a great spot to host an event. It’s got a fun, backyard party vibe. Seems like there are some good catering/group meal options at a reasonable price. In fact, everything here is reasonably priced. For the quality, I would say it’s one of the best deals around. The wheels are turning. I need an excuse to have a party here.
We got two sides/apps: the cauliflower and the chicken wings. I enjoyed the sear and the sauce on the cauliflower but thought the veggie remained a liiiittle too raw and crunchy. The chicken wings had a great sweet smokey flavor. Not the conch fritters I was gunning for as an app, but it turned out to be a great starter.
For the entrées, we wanted to get one item that felt distinctly Caribbean and another that was pure seafood. I gotta say the jerk chicken over dirty rice was delicious. For those worried about how spicy jerk chicken can be (ahem, my Mom), know that this wasn’t spicy but it was flavorful. The johnny cake that came with it tasted like it had been soaked in melted honey butter. Yum.
For our seafood-centric entrée we got the salmon and shrimp basket, which came with steamed broccoli. You get to choose your sauce and I thought they all sounded so good so I asked for a recommendation and thing we wound up with a seasoned garlic butter one. It was a great meal – perfectly cooked seafood that was actually quite light.
I’ll be back to try what looks to be their version of a Lowcountry boil. I also haven’t had a softshell crab sandwich this season, and I think it’s time. Sadly, there was only so much of the menu two people could order.
One of the things I miss most from my hometown is the ubiquity of seafood. When you can catch shrimp and crab off the dock in your own backyard, you can be sure to find such food items everywhere and without a hefty price tag. LoLo’s remembers that seafood doesn’t have to be all raw towers and white linen.