When someone mentions Hawaiian food, the first thing that comes to mind is pineapple. In our country, anything that has pineapples on it are called "Hawaiian"--from pizza flavor to burgers and salads. Initially, I thought The Shrimp Shack was composed of pineapple based recipes on their menu but I turned out to be wrong. Back in the 50's, Ouahu's North Shore in Hawaii was not only famous for its sandy beaches and water sports but they also had shrimp trucks that attracts locals and tourists alike. Such is the kind of experience that The Shrimp Shack would like to capture for their customers to experience. With a goal to give their guests an authentic Hawaiian Shrimp Scampi experience, The Shrimp Shack Restaurant's specialties are Garlic-Shrimp Scampi and Chili Garlic Scampi. For those who aren't familiar with the said dish, Shrimp Scampi is originally an Italian-American dish composed of loads of garlic, olive oil, butter, white wine and spices. The Shrimp Shack also assures the shrimps' freshness as they only use fresh, local in-shell white shrimps. They follow what the locals of Oahu does--shrimps are best to suck it first to get its tasty flavor on your mouth, peel off the shell, eat and enjoy. So don't be surprised to see that in any of the shrimp dishes from The Shrimp Shack are unpeeled and still on their shell.
Now that you know well enough where and how The Shrimp Shack has began, let's move on to the said restaurant's vibe. The Shrimp Shack had that kind of ambiance that will make you feel like you were transported to one of those Oahu North Shore beaches in Hawaii. Walls were painted with a beach backdrop complete with "surfing signs" and huge colorful surf boards adorning their walls. In fact, The Shrimp Shack restaurant actually reminds me of one of my favorite Drew Barrymore films--"The 50 First Dates" with Adam Sandler, which was a love story shot in Hawaii.
For starters, we were served with Hawaiian Chicken Salad with Water Chestnuts (Php140). This salad sort of left me flabbergasted upon a spoonful. Usually, green salads had that citrusy-vinaigrette taste. But certainly this salad is an exception. It had minced carrots, chicken and greens alright, but what has surprised me the most was the overpowering taste of ginger on it. It was the first time I've had a green salad that had minced ginger. Well, perhaps I had always associated ginger with things like fried rice, Hainanese chicken etc. that I didn't saw the possibility that it could also be an ingredient in green salads. The experience was kind of strange for someone like me whose idea of salads revolves around balsamic vinegar + olive oil and other creamier popular dressings like ranch, thousand islands and the like. Just don't order this salad when you're on your first date, unless you'd want to have a dragon's breath that smells like ginger.
Next, we've had shrimp popcorn (Php195). This one is served literally as such--shrimps on a bed of popcorns. I could eat those shrimps just as fast as I eat popcorns. Those small breaded shrimps had flavors popped just right into my mouth. How good was it? I should say that only a few minutes after it was served, all the shrimps had totally gone.
Then, after we've had the shrimp popcorns, we were served with Tomato-Cheese Fondue with Nacho chips (Php145). I loved that this appetizer didn't had any complicated ingredient. Made from honest-to-goodness melted cheese with minced tomatoes and onions, you could simply dig into the cheese using the nacho chip triangles and enjoy the food. Be careful though because it's served on a hot plate similar to sizzling plate.
We've also tried some of The Shrimp Shacks sandwiches and pasta dishes. I'd highly recommend the Shrimp Scampi Spaghetti (Php220). Loaded with minced garlic and shrimps in olive oil and al dente pasta, this was the dish that has truly made my day. It was sooo good that I think I could eat it again and again. It had the natural sweetness of shelled shrimps bursts its own flavor + add the generous garlic and olive oil into it--it had that sweet yet a bit salty and some umami taste. If there's one dish (no, make them two dishes because if you do away with the pasta,this dish would then be called Shrimp Scampi) I'd certainly come back for at The Shrimp Shack, this has to be it! Other foodie bloggers didn't liked the fact that the shrimps were still on their shells, but according to my well-traveled friend, they also practice the same thing in Italy to ensure and sealed-in the shrimps' flavor.
Shrimp Po-Boy Sandwich with fries
We've also tried The Shrimp Shack's Shrimp Po-Boy Sandwich (Php185) which was pretty much the same thing with shrimp popcorn except that it's served with lettuce and tomatoes. Then, we devoured on US Angus Cheese Burger (Php265). To be perfectly honest, I was a bit disappointed with their patty because it was way too bland for my taste. It had tomato, lettuce and cheese--but it seemed to lack in taste.
The Pot Roast Belly
I was a bit disappointed too when we've tried The Pot Roast Belly (Php285) because it also tasted bland. The meat was so tender with a demi glace brown sauce or gravy served with mashed potatoes. But the demi glace didn't seemed to do much justice to the said dish. The fork tender meat wasn't as impressive as it's supposed to be because it's bland. For the next dish called US Angus Beef Steak Loko Moko (Php255)--which had a beef patty on a rice mound with a fried egg on top. The patty this time had more flavors, a bit peppery but still good.
US Angus Beef Steak Loko Moko
Soy Glaced Chicken Barbecue with rice and Macaroni Salad
Soy Glaced Chicken Barbecue is similar to Chicken Teriyaki. This one's best eaten with a side dish of Macaroni Salad (Php45). Moist and tender, it goes well with The Shrimp Shack's addicting pineapple blended house iced tea.
Apple Crisp ala Mode
Although some of their dishes weren't exactly standouts, their desserts had a different story. The Apple Crisp ala Mode (Php130) was truly delicious. Served on a hot plate with crumbles and thin apple slices with a scoop of yummy vanilla ice cream on top--it deserves a space into your stomach after a meal.
Not to be outdone is my new dessert favorite, Butter Mud Pie (Php130). An enticing square of Butter Pie with chocolate crumbs and ice cream with oozing chocolate sauce--every chocoholic's dream indeed. I'm no fan of chocolate but I'd love to eat this one whenever I can. It was sooo good, I even compared it to T.G.I.Fridays' Mud Slide dessert. And hands down, The Shrimp Shack's Butter Mud Pie is a whole lot better than theirs. I know it's not fair to compare them, but I just couldn't help it because they look almost the same.
In a nutshell, I'd definitely recommend The Shrimp Shack's Shrimp Scampi (regardless if it's the chili garlic variant or the ordinary one or even when it's on top of a pasta spaghetti) because it's fresh and had that naturally sweet and salty after-taste. I'd also come back for their desserts because they perfectly cap off our meals and for some they might find them addicting. For that Hawaiian-beach vibe, helpful and friendly staff in Hawaiian inspired hibiscus printed polo shirts and cool ambiance, The Shrimp Shack is one nice place to kick back and relax and to simply savor the shrimps as you suck, peel, eat and enjoy!
Come and visit The Shrimp Shack at their Market! Market! Branch located at the G/F of Market! Market! (You'll find them across Serendra, beside its sister restaurant, The Old Spaghetti House).
Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.