Capt. Kat’s Lobster Shack: Barrington Passage, Nova Scotia

Located in the Lobster Capital of Canada, where the lobster grounds are some of the richest in the world, Capt. Kat’s Lobster Shack is all about the lobster.

Location: Capt. Kat’s Lobster Shack, located at 3728 Highway 3 in Barrington Passage, Nova Scotia. Find the restaurant’s website here.

Menu: The menu features everything lobster and other maritime ingredients, such as haddock, scallops, and mussels. In addition to the bounty from the sea, the menu stars other Nova Scotia products, like Acadian maple syrup and apples from the Annapolis Valley region.

You could choose to pair your meal with a local beer or a Nova Scotia wine. I had the Apricot Wheat beer from Boxing Rock in nearby Shelburne. The slight apricot flavor of the beer paired well with my lobster nachos.

The menu includes a lobster tank, where you can choose a live lobster for your meal. However, with so many other unusual lobster dishes on the menu, we selected some of Capt. Kat’s signature dishes and local favorites.

If you’re a landlubber who prefers chicken or beef, you’ll find plenty of choices too. The menu has several burgers, a ten-ounce steak, and several chicken options, including a maple cranberry chicken.

The restaurant serves lunch and dinner.

Thoughts: Inspired by local culture and traditions, the dining room’s nautical theme is comfortable and charming. The dining room has three distinct areas, the main dining room having both an upper and lower deck, with a dory acting as a decorative divide between the two levels. A third room provides more seats for this busy venue.

The upper walls painted shades of ocean blue with whitewashed shiplap covering the bottom, continues the maritime décor. Each unique table has a tartan plaid table runner as a nod to the area’s Scottish influence. An eclectic mix of dining chairs rounds out the homey décor. A whimsical sign and red paint set off the galley (kitchen).

My lunch at Capt. Kat’s Lobster Shack was during the 2020 Nova Scotia’s South Shore Lobster Crawl, so my selections focused on everything lobster. The cold Atlantic waters make this the best time of year for lobster and the lobster meat is particularly succulent.

Our appetizers started with the lobster nachos and lobster fondue. Both dishes were deliciously different. I hadn’t seen these items on other menus before, and in both cases, lobster was the star of the show.

The restaurant’s lobster roll won first place in the 2020 Nova Scotia’s South Shore Lobster Crawl Lobster Roll-Off. The bread component is a bun split at the top rather than the side. The sides are white, while the top is golden brown from the oven. Capt. Kat’s chef took those white sides, brushed them with butter and toasted them on a grill until lightly golden brown.

Then came the lobster filling, overflowing from the bun. The mixture consisted of firm, succulent chunks of lobster, finely diced celery and onion combined with mayonnaise and a bit of lemon. They garnish it all with a lobster claw. The lobster roll comes with coleslaw and the Shack Salad.

The Shack Salad is a combination of baby spinach and fresh arugula that provides a foundation for all the toppings. It’s served fresh and chilled. Then come the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, sliced smoked almonds, dried cranberries, and a cheese blend drizzled with a choice of their house-made dressings.  The memorable thing about this salad is the variety of ingredients and the dressings. The blueberry honey citrus immediately caught my attention. It was delicious; but when I finished that, the real surprise came with the maple dill dressing. It was green, and while the verdant color came from the dill, it had an unexpected sweetness from the maple, that left me wanting more. 

My favorite dessert was Mrs.  Swaine’s Guinness cake. I love chocolate and this cake was chocolate decadence, moist with a cream cheese filling. The baker frosted the cake with a house-made ganache and garnished it with whipped cream. This cake had a secret ingredient that no one would ever confirm, even after several guesses. I thought the secret might be the local Crosby’s molasses, made in Yarmouth, but I guess I’ll never know for sure. In any case, whatever the secret is, it was undoubtedly a delicious addition.

Price Range: Exchange rates vary. These prices are in Canadian dollars with the exchange rate of $1.32 CD to $1 US. Appetizers range from $10 for mini fish cakes to $25 for lobster bruschetta or seared scallops with maple bacon glaze. Seconds range from $13 for the Seastar fish cakes to $45 for the Lobster Capital of Canada catch of the day or the Captain’s feast. Most desserts are $6. Lunch for two runs approximately $50 including tax and gratuity.

Disclosure: Visit Nova Scotia provided the author with a complimentary meal to facilitate this review.

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