Posted By Chris Ayers & Amy Briesch
1/3/2012 10:31:00 PM
Typically when we think of lobster rolls, the smell of salt fills our nostrils and our heads are filled with romantic images of rocky shorelines dotted with collectible seashells. As is probably true for many Americans, we have come to associate lobster with sitting at a rickety table by the water. Alive and Kicking in Cambridge proves, however, that the best things in life are not necessarily by the sea.
Driving down the tree-lined Putnam Street you would likely never even realize that there was a business nestled between two residential buildings. Alive and Kicking is not so much a restaurant as it is a fish market. Walk inside of what looks like a converted residential garage and you’ll find yourself in a room that is tiled from floor to ceiling. Behind a small fish counter stand two or three massive lobster tubs (clearly more functional than the clear lobster tanks found elsewhere). There is no place to sit inside, but if the New England weather happens to be agreeable, your meal can be enjoyed at one of a small number of wooden picnic tables. Close your eyes and picture the waves crashing on the shore so that you don’t mistakenly catch the eye of the woman vacuuming her apartment next door. The littoral ambience may be absent, but it matters little when your senses are overwhelmed by the food anyway.
The star of the show (and really the only meal item on the menu) is the lobster sandwich, which is lobster salad served between two pieces of toasted Scali bread. Although some will instantly frown at the idea of adulterating lobster by serving it in salad form, the mayo was used sparingly and the only other distinguishable ingredient was a hint of black pepper. As for the lobster, it was as fresh and tender as they come, with not a bit of the rubbery-ness that can ruin an otherwise enjoyable lobster-eating experience (we found out later that the lobster had just been caught the night before). Accompaniments are limited to Cape Cod potato chips (which are included in the price of the sandwich) and private label sodas. Alive and Kicking also sells fresh fish and chowders for those who believe that a meal should be more than a sandwich.