Before fishermen discovered the edibility of fish, they used each catch as bait for larger species, hoping in the end to hook the biggest fish of all—friendship. Pair amiable eats and cheerful company with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of seafood fare at J's Crabshack, formerly known as Tinkers.
The fish flingers at J's Crabshack, voted 2nd Best Fish Market in 2010 by the Hartford Advocate, serve up large portions of fresh seafood in a maritime-themed, family-friendly environment. Clams on the Half Shell inspire sing-alongs to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song ($1.50). Lobster bisque ($3.75 for a small) and caesar salad with grilled swordfish ($11.95) tease the taste buds of dainty eaters while a scallop roll sandwich ($8.95) or a family-size fried lobster tails combo served with a pint of coleslaw ($15.95) fills the hunger void of one extremely famished eater or the bellies of several mother raccoons.
J's Crabshack consists of an outdoor patio for warmer months and an inside dining room decorated with paintings of whales for cold weather and air-conditioning fanatics. A huge fish tank is fully stocked with tropical fish, spotted eels, and plastic, coral-ridden shipwrecks.
Golden-fried clam strips, fantail shrimp, and bay scallops anchor the tables at J’s Crabshack (formerly Tinker’s), sending up clouds of steam next to hearty steak and lobster dinners. Founded by chef and scallop fisherman James Tinker more than 20 years ago, J’s Crabshack has grown into a bustling seafood hotspot, where an aquarium teeming with eels and tropical fish overlooks the dining area. The shack’s market counter dishes out freshly snagged raw shrimp and scallops, earning recognition as runner-up for best fish market in Hartford from the Hartford Advocate in 2011. The restaurant’s culinary team, which includes James Tinker II in its ranks, works diligently to serve guests in the ocean-themed catering hall, then sticks around to burp everyone postmeal.