The more I experiment with this supposed recipe that’s been floating around the Internet at AllRecipes.com and other locations, the more I’m convinced that it’s WAY the hell off base. People seem to think that the Internet is the source of all truth without realizing that it only contains the information that other people WANT you to know. It just goes to prove how, much like Wikipedia, the Internet is full of truthiness (information that ‘feels’ true but has no fact to back up it’s claim) but often very little actual truth.
In any case, nothing much to report because I got really sick due to some packaged goods that gave me food poisoning that had nothing to do with Killer Shrimp. (Damn you Munchos! Damn you to hell!) But a couple things arose in my quest for “Killer Shrimp” I thought was notable:
KILLER SHRIMP… IN CHICAGO?!?
This is no joke. Apparently, the owner of the original Killer Shrimp chain moved to Chicago. Bastard. And he’s opening up a store there this summer. No one seems to have details however other than, it’s in Chicago, and it’s happening this summer.
Yes, this is the original Killer Shrimp. Along with the original Killer Shrimp logo. Here’s the front end web site that they’ve set up for the new restaurant:
- Killer Shrimp Chicago
Great. So he closes up shop in Studio City & Marina Del Rey to open up in Chi-town? Sorry. I can’t get behind that at all. Oh who am I kidding. I’ll probably fly in just to get a sample of the broth to retest against my current formula/recipe. Thank God for United Frequent Flyer miles.
JACK SHRIMP… BROTHER OF THE KILLER SHRIMP GUY
The other thing is that there’s a place in Newport Beach called “Jack Shrimp” which has a broth reportedly identical to that of Killer Shrimp. The reason is, “Jack Shrimp” is run by Jack Jasper, the brother of the guy who ran “Killer Shrimp”.
The story, according to my friend Stephanie and this LA Times news article, is that Jack’s sister & a partner took their grandmother’s recipe and opened up the Killer Shrimp chain – strictly selling shrimp broth and only shrimp broth. Meanwhile, Jack set up his own restaurant in Newport Beach diversifying the menu. If it’s true, and the same recipe is used at both locations, this could be a boon to figuring out what the recipe is.
Hey – it beats flying to Chicago.
- Jack Shrimp of Newport Beach
My friend, Steph the wonder cook, brought this up a few months ago and I only remembered it today when I was parsing through some old Chowhound threads. I found a mention of the inclusion of “shrimp or fish stock” in a Chowhound post the other day which might provide that all important “savory” taste that I think is still missing. Only one question remains: WTF is Shrimp/Fish stock?
- Shrimp/fish stock?
I’ll give this a try once I figure out what it really is and how much to start with.
And for what it’s worth – the creation of this broth is such a laborious task that I actually don’t think that researching and publishing the recipe is that much of a concern to the restaurants that use it. The dish isn’t that expensive but the cost of preparing it in time and labor is huge. While the overall cost of goods isn’t high, you really have to make it in bulk for it to be worth one’s time which is why doing it as a restaurant dish as opposed to a home-cooked dish really makes a lot of sense.
The umami, or savory, quality you’re missing is clearly (from Creole barbecued shrimp recipes) worcestershire sauce. These recipes also include lemon juice or sliced lemons cooked with the sauce. Since their sauce is not a broth as in KS, but just butter and spices, etc., and doesn’t cook for nearly the length of time, I would try for lemon juice. Another couple of essential elements of louisiana cuisine are paprika and oregano.
By the way, I haven’t been able to find the resurrected Marina KS, despite regular yellow pages (online) searches.
Okay, just finished putting the leftovers away after having spent the evening tweaking, my husband tasting the various alterations from my recommendations. We ended up adding:
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 cup butter (for a total of 3/4 cup – this also upped that savory element)
The most important outcome of these changes, we feel, was that the kitchen smelled like Killer Shrimp. We could close our eyes, picture ourselves in the Marina or Studio City. Perfect!
Let me know what you think. And thanks for all your incredible work in the search.
Dammit, Arspoetice. You’re making me get back into this quest and I’d thought I’d gotten out! Because I’m betting you’re right. In fact, I think my wife is gonna facepalm for not thinking of this. Thanks for the input! Can’t wait to try this now. (…gotta go buy more clam juice now…)
Here’s the super-secret web site for the newly rebuilt Killer Shrimp:
FYI: The place is MONSTROUS. It used to be a place called the Waterfront Restaurant before. It’s about 14x the square footage of the original Killer Shrimp location and it’s menu is far deeper than the original “Shrimp only” menu, now serving steaks and appetizers, as well as a full bar. (Instead of beer & iced tea) The original owner – the guy with orange hair (Kevin Michaels?) is still there.
Upscale KS?!?! What a travesty! So glad to know you’re well on the way to resolving the mystery. And sorry to drag you back in, but this may get so good, you might want to start one of your own!
One strange comment somewhere on the internet had said that orange hair guy was the ’70s rocker Lee Michaels. Did you ever hear that?
Yeah, that’s probably right. It’s on the “ABOUT” page of http://killershrimp.com that Lee Michaels owns the restaurant and his son Kevin manages it. I’ve spotted him a couple times at the restaurant – he comes out to greet business execs & VIPs with reservations, I think. I once saw a couple come in that looked like something out of a day time soap opera (the guy had a scruffy, chiseled chin & made the women in the lobby swoon… the gal had an mindblowing figure that made even the most discreet guy leer uncomfortably) and he came out slowly to shake hands and say a few words while some business manager types came to escort them. He has orange designer glasses, flaming orange hair, and walks kind of like Ozzy Osbourne… with a demonstrable hunch and scuffles his feet quite a bit.
So yeah, it’s likely true.
What a way with words you have! A wonderfully vivid little vignette that speaks to the marvelous intersections in Angeleno society . . .
You are no mere techie, Kurtish, says the former USC writing prof.
Thank you, Ars. Appreciate the compliment and hope you make it to the new Marina location. It’s not at all like the Washington location but it’s got the same spicy shrimp broth that I’m sure you remember so that might be worth the trip.
One final note — I usually rinse shrimp to death to get rid of any fishiness, but since the broth was still a bit off at this point, I just threw them in! Not swearing that it’s the most sanitary approach, but in the spirit of full disclosure (really hating that one guy who refused to name his secret ingredient), I thought I’d better add that detail.
For those who missed it, this is part 6 of a 6 part series on reverse engineering the recipe for Killer Shrimp. The rest are here: