TNT Diner

Tacoma sandwich smackdown: Lobster Shop and C.I. Shenanigans

I recently dug into two seafood sandwiches on the Ruston waterfront — a shrimp po’ boy at the Lobster Shop and a crab panini at C.I. Shenanigans. Here’s how they rated in my sandwich smackdown:


3017 Ruston Way, Tacoma; 253-752-8811,

Lump Blue Crab Panini Sandwich, 16.95

Built on sourdough, the sandwich was pressed flat — in fact, too flat — with not enough crab between layers of bacon and cheddar cheese. The mayo was glopped on, not carefully applied the way a heavy condiment such as mayo should be. I could barely taste the crab under all that heavy dressing and that’s just a travesty when eating a sandwich that costs almost $17. Honestly? The thinly cut, skins-on fries outshone the sandwich. I should have just ordered those and saved the money.


4015 Ruston Way, Tacoma; 253-759-2165,

Shrimp po' boy, $14

The bread appeared a touch too squishy for this classic Louisiana sandwich, but the ciabatta wasn’t as mushy as it looked. A few of the cornmeal breaded shrimp had tossed their jackets, leaving the shrimp naked and plainly flavored. Other than that, the sandwich had all the attributes I look for in this classic. One quibble for purists: Remoulade-dressed slaw proved a crunchy accompaniment, but the sandwich didn’t come “dressed” as it is typically adorned in its home state (with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles). The fries here were outstanding. Medium-width fries with the skins kept on looked as if they’d been hand cut.

Verdict: The shrimp po’ boy wins, no competition.


Have a sandwich you want me to find for you? Just let me know. I’m always on the prowl for a great sandwich. Here are a few recent sandwich projects:

Project pastrami.

The hunt for croque madames.

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