The Half Shell’s lobster and shrimp bruschetta is a rich, thick seafood mixture with a mayonnaise base served on buttered toast thins.
Danny Sumrall, Half Shell co-owner, says the recipe originated with the restaurant’s chef, Darrell Smith.
“Just how he did it, I don’t know,” Sumrall says. “Other than he says, ‘Well, the shrimp needs to be chunky, the lobster needs to be chunky, and you just need a little bit of spice on the back end to make sure everybody’s palate is awakened.”
He added: “It goes great with a glass of fumé blanc or sauvignon blanc.”
“When most people think of bruschetta, they think ‘Italian,’ served hot with a tomato slice and basil leaf and maybe some mozzarella cheese. Ours is a completely different thing. It’s not hot. That’s not what we’re trying to do. It would probably be better to call it a ‘dip’ or whatever.”
The Half Shell began serving its bruschetta at Youth Villages Soup Sunday 10 years ago, Sumrall said. Instead of bringing 20 gallons of soup, they offered the bruschetta, which is chilled. “It holds up well, and people like it.”
They now serve the bruschetta at 95 percent of the functions they participate in each year. For the recent “Taste of CBHS,” The Half Shell brought enough for 400 people. “For Soup Sunday, we bring 2,500.”
They make their toast points out of French bread from Rotella’s bakery in Chicago.
I recently ordered it at the restaurant for the first time. It’s a generous portion with 10 or so toast points. “It’s a share-able appetizer, pretty rich, and it’s one of those things four people can sit down and share,” Sumrall said.
Three others at the table tried the bruschetta, but they only ate a little. I ended up eating it out of the bowl with a big spoon like clam chowder.
The Half Shell: 688 S. Mendenhall, 901-682-3966; and 7825 Winchester, 901-737-6755.