The Back Eddy in Westport Harbor, Westport Massachusetts, is perched on the edge of the river with a beautiful view and casual atmosphere. The napkins are dishtowels and perfect for a place with an abundance of shellfish on the menu. The nautically tinged décor is interesting, simple, modern and clean.
The Back Eddy signature roasted corn and clam chowder was hearty with chunks of red bliss potato and flavored with a hint of bacon. The base was white but not a thick cream. Costing around $6 for the shallow bowl, equivalent to a cup, I felt it was over priced. ‘Clam chowder’ does purport a greater perceived value, presumably because clams are more expensive than what you find in vegetable, beef, or chicken based soups. Unfortunately most restaurants, this one included, don’t use enough clams to warrant the price hike.
The daily specials included lobster bisque with lobster roe. I questioned the waitress about consistency. She assured me it was creamy and chunk-less after going through the blender. It wasn’t nearly as creamy as I expected being only slightly thicker than the chowder, which I assume can be attributed to the few solid things in it being pulverized by the blender. It had a light, slightly tangy, tomato flavor with a note of sea-something that could have been incorporated lobster, could have been from boiling cast off shells. There was a dollop of cream mixed with roe floating in the middle for that gourmet touch. Severely over priced at $8.50 for a bowl/cup of boil water with cast off parts blenderized into I was disheartened but remained hopeful for the entrée.
The regular menu item of apple wood bacon wrapped New Bedford scallops “Tournados” over spring succotash (yellow squash, zucchini, and tomato) with mixed field greens and herbed butter on the side was wonderful. The four giant scallops (approximately 3″ round) were succulently wrapped in slightly crisped bacon. The vegetables were also properly cooked, not mushy, and the tomato was the perfect accent to what could have been a bland combination. The unidentified mixed greens were better with the herb butter than naked though not something we would order.
From the specials menu the lazy lobster casserole for $27.50 was touted as ‘hand picked’ lobster with braised leeks, roasted asparagus and corn bread crumb. It too had a side of mixed greens though I didn’t see any herbed butter. The leeks were perfection, the baby asparagus whips were a bit rubbery, and the lobster was so over cooked it was impossible to cut with the butter knife and the strings of it caught between my teeth. Unfortunately the preparation overcast the flavor combination, which was on the mark. The ‘hand picked’ lobster save for the half of tail still attached to the shell with burnt edges (hint, hint, hint people in the kitchen) on the top of the dish, was most likely picked by someone at a Maine processing plant. There were no claws, very little knuckle meat, and two tails; one of which was equal to a decent sized shrimp you’d use for a shrimp cocktail. Unless it was a toxic lobster I’ve never seen one with two tails and no claws.
I had been leaning toward ordering two appetizers instead of one entrée. The Asian inspired Prince Edward Island mussels in coconut milk with ginger and chili paired with the Block Island crispy fried squid in tomato vinaigrette over field greens would have cost less than the lobster. Total cost for dinner, with one soda and no alcohol, was over $70 before gratuity. Please note there is no mention of bread or a starch side dish, neither were included but both can be ordered separately. A side of Wendy’s macaroni and cheese is $9.