There's more to love at dinner, where Schellin flexes more fine-dining muscle, preparing a beautiful and bountiful lobster, clam, and shrimp cioppino in a deftly balanced broth; a hot-and-cold plate of tilefish (abundant in the Gulf of Mexico) and roasted beets; Southern-fried chicken with sausage gravy (a steal at under $12); and beef short ribs served with potato puree to please the seafood-shy. Raw items, like the simple striped bass ceviche, were also a refreshing option, and the small but well-chosen array of East and West Coast oysters should not be overlooked. Have them on the half-shell or submerged in a creative savory shot from the bar, like the one with Bulleit bourbon, barbecue sauce, and bacon.
And speaking of the bar, Smack Shack tends to mix drinks sweet and strong, such as the Chambord and gin martinis or the New Orleans favorite Hurricane, but I mostly stuck to the wine list, especially the whites, which are your best bets with this type of fare. Because lobster contains lots of natural iodine, it really doesn't react well with red wines. Try one of the sauvignon blancs — one is more grapefruity, the other more dry — or a vanilla-y chardonnay. I'm hoping by summer there will be a vinho verde, which would be lovely to enjoy with any and all of the lobster dishes in Smack Shack's planned outdoor seating area.
Are there more refined places to get seafood around these parts? Yes. But there's still no better place in the state — maybe the entire Midwest — to get a lobster roll, which Thoma and his team seem to realize is still the backbone of this hip new haunt. It was our favorite sandwich of 2012, one of Bon Appetit's six best lobster rolls in the country, and still the best thing on the menu.