Monthly Archive for April, 2012

California Lobster Rush:The Best Spots for Maine Lobster

These days, minor indulgences that don’t break the bank are important. It doesn’t get any better than a dinner of fresh lobster – but even with its amazing, expansive coastline, finding the best lobster in California can be tricky. The Golden State is chock full of outstanding restaurants and fish markets, but where can a seafood lover find the best lobster at the most reasonable price? We investigated, and what we learned is that not all lobster joints are created equal. Here’s a summary of what we learned.

Lobster California California Lobster Rush:The Best Spots for Maine Lobster

King’s Fish House has 11 locations scattered throughout the whole of California.  The common positive points of all of the restaurants are spacious booths and period décor with gorgeous dark wood.  The common negative point, however, is that it is so loud in these restaurants that you can’t hear your dining companions over the din.  Though you might think this is because of the awesome, budget-friendly prices at King’s Fish House, you’d be wrong.  The lobster is okay, but pricey: $40-$44 per plate minimum. You’d probably do better to cook at home and turn the television up loudly to get the same quality and atmosphere at a lower price.

The Lobster in Santa Monica (1802 Ocean Avenue) boasts an incredible view of the ocean from nearly every table. The lobster is only mediocre, which is somewhat to be expected in a place that looks like a tourist trap.  The prices and service are great – but only during happy hour.  If you plan to dine outside of that narrow time window, be prepared to pay tourist prices while getting only cold to lukewarm service.

A local institution in Santa  Monica is Ocean Ave Seafood (1401 Ocean Avenue) with its wall of windows overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Pier. You can order up to a 3 pound live Maine lobster from their tank. They serve a New England Lobster Roll for $26.95. In addition to their extensive oyster bar, they serve up Iced Shellfish Platters with oysters, clams, jumbo shrimp, black mussels and half a lobster. You can also order clam chowder with apple-wood smoked bacon and a bowl of fish chowder.

Another seafood restaurant in Santa Monica, CA is the BP Oysterette (1355 Ocean Ave). Besides a nice raw bar, BP makes a Lobster Mac and Cheese with Gruyere cheese and truffle oil for $18 and a Lobster Roll on a brioche roll with
homemade sweet potato chips for $22. You can also find Maine steamer clams and fried clams–whole belly Ipswich clams served with lemon aioli. There’s also an outside patio to enjoy oysters and beer by the beach.

Oceanside’s Rockin’ Baja Lobster Bar & Grill (258 Harbor Drive South) serves a Pacific or Baja lobster (not real Maine lobster) in many different forms, all with a Mexican cuisine flair. If you prefer this style of lobster, the prices are reasonable at about $18 per person for the “slipper lobster tails.”  The atmosphere is extremely casual – it’s not a bad deal if you don’t mind everything on the menu (except the margaritas) coming in a bucket, and everything being cooked with Mexican sauces and spices.

The Lobster Trap in Avalon (128 Catalina Avenue) has a helpful, friendly staff and serves generous portions of lobster.  The lobster roll, however, was filled with nearly tasteless lobster (except for lots and lots of salt), and was ice cold.  The rice was equally without flavor.  The roll isn’t toasted, which sometimes causes it to fall apart after being soaked with its lobster filling.  The prices are reasonable, however.  It’s an okay place in a pinch, but don’t rush to The Lobster Trap.

Redwood City is the site of Old Port Lobster Shack (851 Veterans Boulevard).  An informal lobster restaurant, patrons place their order and then find a seat.  Served with coleslaw on the side, their various lobster dishes a little pricier than usual. A coffee cup-sized portion of lobster bisque is $7.75, with both cold and hot lobster in it.  We were confused.

Yankee Pier (3593 Mt Diablo Blvd)  is another Bay area seafood restaurant located in the heart of historic Larkspur, CA. Here you can order a lobster roll on griddled bun with housemade kettle chips and coleslaw, served chilled or hot for $22.50. They also serve fried Ipswich clam platter. On the menu is a New England clam boil with clams, shrimp, mussels, linguisa & red potatoes  for $21.00.

Sams Chowder House (4210 Cabrillo Highway North) is a New England style seafood restaurant overlooking Half Moon Bay. Sam’s West Coast version of the Lobster roll is its much publicized signature dish. Unlike the real East Coast version, Sam’s does not use mayonnaise in the mix, just lots of butter on a warm brioche roll. It sells for $21.95 with potato chips and a dollop of coleslaw. Not so sure about the brioche roll with all the butter, but it is well packed with good chunks of fresh lobster meat. The chowder was not bad, but a little thin compared to a good Boston chowder. For those who can’t manage a trip to Half  Moon Bay, Sam’s has its own San Francisco Bay area food truck called the Chowdermobile.

The food trucks have become a popular scene in the Los Angeles, CA area. Now there is a food truck that sells lobster rolls aptly named The Lobsta Truck. The main attraction here is the lobster roll  made with fresh lobster meat on a toasted split top roll with mayo or butter for $12. The bread and lobster meat are flown in from New England. Also on the menu is a crab roll and New England clam chowder.

Did you know who holds the largest Lobster Festival in the United States? If you guessed the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland, ME—you guessed wrong. The  Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival claims to have the largest lobster festival in the world. For the 201o festival, held in September, over 32,000 Maine lobsters were flown in fresh, cooked and served.

Live Maine Lobster Shipping California Lobster Rush:The Best Spots for Maine Lobster

The best deal we found was LobsterAnywhere.com, which offers live Maine lobster delivered fresh to your door – or anywhere in the USA –  the next morning!  Located in New England (arguably, where all good lobster comes from),
LobsterAnywhere.com gets their seafood directly from the Atlantic Ocean via trusted suppliers and ships it so it arrives at its peak freshness.  In addition to whole lobster, this company offers lobster tails (in four different sizes), lobster meat and lobster rolls.  Other shellfish, shrimp, chowder and starters are available for the full seafood experience.  The prices are reasonable, and the result is a high-quality lobster dinner delivered to your door, fresh, the next day.  Try it!

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Real Good Maine Lobster in Florida

Maine lobster has become famous for its bountiful meat and rich, delicious flavor. Florida has some native lobsters, but they cannot compare in taste or quality to genuine Maine lobsters.

In Florida the local lobster is called a rock or spiny lobster (Panulirus argus). Unlike Maine lobsters, Florida lobsters do not have claws. It is is a crustacean related to crabs, shrimp, crayfish. Florida lobsters average 1+ pound each,  and one third of its weight is in the tail.

The spiny lobster is caught off the Keys and around the southern tip of the state from waters of the Atlantic Ocean near the Florida Reef Tract. Fishery regulations specify a harvest season from August 6 to March 31. In the Bahamas  the Florida lobster is one of the island nation’s chief exports. These warm water lobsters are primarily sold as frozen tails. You can find these cheaper tails on cruise ship buffets or at your local warehouse club.

People expect the cold-water Maine shellfish when they order lobster in a restaurant, not the clawless warm water species which are very different in texture and flavor.  Luckily, even in Florida, you can still enjoy the amazing taste of Maine lobster.

In Orlando, you can stop by the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel and visit either of their restaurants for a variety of tastes. Schula’s Steak House offers Maine lobster prepared traditionally for that classic taste you know and love, as well as a number of amazing steaks. Todd English’s Bluezoo Restaurant adds some spice to their Maine lobster by frying it and adding soy glaze for a Cantonese feel. They also have an impressive wine list to accommodate any palate. These restaurants are in a high price range, but their amazing Maine lobster leaves nothing to be desired.

Another seafood restaurant in Orlando, FL is the Oceanaire Seafood Room, owned by Landry’s Restaurants. The Florida location offers live 1.5 pound North Atlantic lobster served with drawn butter and lemon. The menu is based on market availability, therefore selections change each day. There is another Florida location in Miami.

In Lantana, FLA visit either the Station House Restaurant or Station Grille. The Station Grille focuses more on traditional American food and steak, while the Station House Restaurant is renowned for its seafood offerings. Both offer fresh, authentic Maine lobsters. Their Maine lobster is widely regarded to be some of the best in Florida, even by visitors from Maine! Depending on the season, they may have traditional lobster offerings or special lobster themed dished, each more delicious than the last.

Also in Lantana, try Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Roll for a more casual dining experience. Linda Bean makes a delicious lobster roll on white or wheat bread, with a light herb dressing. They only use the highest quality fresh Maine lobster in their rolls, with up to 6 ounces of meat in a roll. These delicious, buttery Maine lobster rolls come at the fraction of the price you pay in fancier sea food restaurants, without sacrificing any of the rich Maine lobster taste!

Aunt Catfish’s on the River in Port Orange, Florida offers a down-home southern feel and a varied seafood menu to accommodate everyone. The highlight of their menu is their delicious Maine lobster and lobster tails. Depending on the season, they also offer a tasty Maine lobster stew that combines the rich taste of Maine lobster with other local flavors. Aunt Catfish’s is a great place to get Maine lobster year round!

For a lobster dinner and great views in  Cocoa Beach, FL  make reservations at the Lobster Shanty. You can order live Maine lobster steamed or baked from 1 , 1 1/2,  or 2 pounds.  They even offer a New England baked haddock with a  Parmesan and bacon crust and topped with a sun dried tomato cream sauce.

For authentic lobster salad go to Handsome Harry’s Third Street Bistro in Old Naples. Chef Tony Biagetti uses fresh shucked lobster meat to make his signature lobster salad. In 2011, the restaurant sold about 2,000 pounds of lobster meat at 4 ounces a serving.

In Sarasota, FL there is a placed call the Lazy Lobster. The menu includes lobster Newberg, lobster bisque, and live Maine lobster.  Be sure to sample their lobster mac and cheese made with fresh steamed lobster meat, macaroni and white cheese baked with toasted crumbs.

There’s a great steak house in Naples built out over the Venetian Bay that serves up fresh seafood and Maine lobster called Cloyd’s Steak & Lobster House. Cloyd’s serves up a Jumbo 16 oz Maine Lobster Tail and 2, 3, and 5 pound live Maine lobsters. Give the lobster bisque a try.

Be sure to check out 264 the Grill in Palm Beach for their signature Maine lobster “264”, a stuffed lobster served with creamy pasta and vegetables. They also offer a butter poached Maine lobster with any of their steaks. 264 the Grill features Maine lobster in many of their dishes, from pasta to salad to a traditional seafood platter, so it’s sure to have something for everyone!

In Boca Raton, Chops  features a chic Lobster Bar with mosaic tile and extensive raw bar.  Chops Lobster Bar serves real Maine lobster from 2 to 5 lbs. steamed and cracked.  They also offer a whole Maine lobster “scampi style” with morals of Maine lobster, Florida shrimp, colossal lump crab and drawn butter.

banner2 250x250 animated2 Real Good Maine Lobster in Florida

If you love the taste of Maine lobster but prefer to prepare your own dinner at home, try ordering Maine lobster from www.lobsteranywhere.com. Whether you want lobster for a holiday celebration or just a fun night at home with friends, Lobster Anywhere will deliver live lobster or frozen lobster tails to your home overnight! If you are longing for the taste of Maine Lobster, visit www.lobsteranywhere.com today!

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New England’s Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood Dives

Is your favorite lobster shack shacky and weathered and in a fairly remote place near the ocean? Or, perhaps it is tacky and reminds you of a roadside hut.

Most shacks are a “no-frills” family establishments with a simple menu, and almost always have long lines in peak summer months. Some shacks have become tourist destinations and others have become tourist traps with over the top prices. Lobster and seafood shacks are symbols of summer and a few are beacons of the past. Many of us have nostalgic childhood memories of a trip to a favorite lobster shack.

Lobster shacks can be off the main path or right on the Main Street. Some shacks have seaside views, while others have no views at all. Lobster shacks at out of the way locations are usually off narrow roads or routes that can become crowded with traffic jams in the warm weather. Familiar surroundings for lobster shacks are rocky beaches with a view of the harbor, fishermen’s boats and sea gulls, or maybe a forested cove. Perhaps you wish to combine a shopping trip to LL Bean or Kittery shops with a side trip to a Lobster Shack in the area. Often the shacks are shuttered from October to April in the cooler weather, so catch them when they are open in the spring and summer.

Don’t dress up because you will most likely be eating on a pier at a picnic table. Usually, there is no indoor seating, but the views waiting for a lobster dinner can be spectacular. It is cool in Maine, so bring a sweater and enjoy the finest lobster ever. How can you resist since the freshest lobster thrives in New England waters where it is caught, and then it is cooked in a Lobster Shack and brought to your table. When the lobster is served, be prepared to crack it open on a paper plate and dine al fresco on bare wooden tables. Many of the unassuming shacks are BYOB, so don’t forget to bring a cooler.

The star attraction of these eateries is lobster served in the rough: a whole lobster cooked plain and simple. The typical lobster size served is usually between 1 1/4 pounds to 1 1/2 pounds, but some lobster shacks offer a pound. Lobster fishermen deliver and store their fresh catch in large seawater filled tanks. Shacks with lobster pounds are typically larger with more seating. If cooking live lobster at home makes you squeamish, this is a great alternative. Expect a messy meal and no side orders except some chowder or a bag of chips. More spacious places may feature lobster dinners served with corn cobs, onion rings or chowder. Or, you may want to order a lobster roll instead with mayonnaise and butter on a fresh roll with crisp lettuce.

In addition to fresh lobster, many seafood eateries serve fried, steamed or baked seafood. The deep-fryer is often the most over-worked piece of equipment at the shack. Clams, haddock, fries and onions rings are given a quick, hot dip. Next to fresh cooked lobster and lobster rolls, the fried clams hold a special appeal for New Englanders and it is a contentious debate about the best fried clams place in New England. Fried clams are said to have been invented in 1916, by Chubby Woodman in Essex, Massachusetts.

Here are some wonderful Lobster Shacksdotted across New England that are well worth your time when planning a day trip or a stop in the area:

Maine
Bagaduce Lunch
19 Bridge Road
Brooksville, ME 04617
207-326-4729

Bagaduce was established in 1946, and is a family tradition tucked away next to the reversing falls on the Bagaduce River. Locals come from miles away for fresh haddock, fried clams, crab and lobster rolls. The owner’s brother is a local lobsterman, so count on getting the freshest caught lobster. Be sure to order the onion rings and watch for bald eagles soaring overhead.

Beal’s Lobster Pier
182 Clark Point Road
Southwest Harbor, ME 04679-441

Eat fresh lobster on a working wharf next to a Coast Guard base overlooking Southwest Harbor. Sit outside at picnic tables, drink beer, and casually eat fresh seafood.

FiveIslands Lobster Company
1447 Five Islands Rd, Georgetown, ME
207-371-2990

This is “as good as lobster gets”at a shack on the harbor edge overlooking rocky shores and lobster boats. Seating is open on the dock.

Perry’s Lobster Shack
1076 Newbury Neck Road
Surry, ME
207-667-1955

Perry’s is run by Perry and his wife Beverly. The lobster shack is on the side of Newbury Neck Road, with stairs leading to the town beach. Perry’s menu is simple, with fresh lobster, mussels, and corn on the cob. Enjoy a lobster roll on one of the three picnic tables on the pier and be sure to order homemade ice cream sandwiches.

Watermans 300x225 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood DivesWaterman’s Beach Lobster
343 Waterman Beach Road
South Thomaston, ME 04858-3325
207-596-7819

This establishment is a winner of the James Beard restaurant award and a model of a great New England lobster shack. Sit outside at picnic tables, order lobsters, and eat them on paper plates. Try the ginger ice cream: it is wonderful with blueberry pie!

Massachusetts

Roy Moore Lobster Company

RoyMooreLobster 200x300 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood Dives

Photo by Mike Carey

39 Bearskin Neck
Rockport, MA 01966
978-546-6696

Roy Moore’s is a local institution founded in1918, located on the docks of Rockport’s Bearskin Neck. It is good lobster bargain, with smoked salmon, fishcakes, clam chowder, and lobster on the menu. Seating is in tight quarters with crates used as seating out back.

Sesuit Harbor Cafe
357 Sesuit Neck Rd
Dennis, MA 02638
(508) 385-6134

 

This is on our list of shacks because it is a real deal for a scenic seafood spot located in a boat yard and marina, with Cape Cod style. Customers sit at picnic tables on the channel between Sesuit Harbor and Cape Cod Bay and observe the boats traveling in and out of the dock.

The BiteThe Bite 300x199 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood Dives
29 Basin Road
Menemsha, MA 02552
508-645-9239

The Bite is a tiny seafood stand in the fishing village of Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard and serves fried- to-order clams, scallops and oysters.

New Hampshire

Petey’s Summertime Seafood & Bar
1323 Ocean Blvd
Rye, NH 03870
603-433-1937

Petey’s is a “seafood shack” located between Hampton and Portsmouth, NH, across the beach from an old shipwreck with public beach access. It has a second-floor deck that has great views and a postage- sized parking lot.Petey’s serves lobster rolls on a bulkyroll. Try the baked haddock with lobster stuffing or the seafood chowder.

Rhode Island

Evelyn’s Drive In

evelyns hq1 300x199 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood Dives

Photo by Mark Saleski

2335 Main Road
Tiverton, RI 02878
(401) 624-3100

Evelyn’s Drive In has been serving fresh, local seafood since 1969. Evelyn’s is a half clam shack, half small, sit-down restaurant. Order a bowl of Rhody chowder, a couple of stuffies, and a sumptuous lobster roll, and be sure to try the delicious Lobster Chow.

The Country Chowder Shack
101 Old Hartford Pike
North Scituate, RI 02857
401-934-2044

Don’t drive all the way to the beach to get some decent seafood. This Rhode Island “hidden gem” Chowder Shack may be a last chance to taste Rhode Island-style red chowder before you drive to Connecticut. Country Chowder also has white chowder, stuffies, clam cakes, and hot wieners. The Chowder Shack is open from March 19th through October 31st. You can’t see the ocean from the Country Chowder Shack, but you can taste it.

Connecticut

johny ads 300x225 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood DivesJohnny Ads Drive In
910 Boston Post Rd.
Old Saybrook, CT
860-388-4032

Step back into to the 1950’s at Johnny Ads, where fried seafood and hot buttery lobster rolls never go out of style. Mainers even say they make a “damn good lobster roll.” Don’t miss with the great Hummel Brothers hot dogs served on buttered “square” rolls with crinkle fries. The Rhode Island clam chowder is top notch.

banner3 250x250 animated New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood DivesCan’t get to your favorite seafood shack this summer? Give LobsterAnywhere a try. You do not  need  GPS for directions, bug spray, or gas money for a road trip. This lobster company has been shipping Maine lobster and fresh seafood gifts since 1999. Order lobster and select your delivery date at online check out.

Feel free to send us a picture of your favorite Lobster Shack that you would recommend to a friend.

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The Best Spot for Maine Lobster in New York City

These days, minor indulgences that don’t break the bank are important.  It doesn’t get any better than a dinner of fresh lobster – but finding the best lobster in New York City can be tricky.  The Big Apple is chock full of outstanding restaurants and fish markets, but where can a seafood lover find the best lobster at the most reasonable price?  We investigated, and what we learned is that not all lobster joints are created equal.  Here’s a summary of what we learned.

City Lobster and Steak Co. in Midtown West (121 W. 49th) is reasonably priced, considering its upscale Rockefeller Center location.  At around $40 per plate, they serve a great salad and tasty calamari.  The lobster, however, was less than tender.  If you prefer a quieter ambiance, avoid City at mealtime; tourists regularly pack the place.

Nick’s Lobster Fish Market (2777 Flatbush Ave.) is a Brooklyn restaurant and fish market.  In the past, Nick’s has enjoyed a loyal following.  Staff has changed, however, and the differences are evident.  The calamari was on the greasy side, and the restaurant’s lobster is filled with a “homemade” stuffing that may not suit your taste.  There’s a great 300+ gallon tank in the back from which to get lobster, but the prices are premium-level.

Urban Lobster (240 E. Houston Ave.) provides lobster delivery to the Lower East Side/Alphabet City areas.  The staff is friendly and the side orders are mostly low-carb – a bonus for the diet-conscious.  However, the quality is, well, delivery quality.  Sometimes the containers are leaky, sometimes the food is bland.  If you’re hoping to enjoy a delicious lobster dinner at home, you might keep looking.

Wild Edibles is an interesting concept.  Their trifecta of locations includes an oyster bar (535 Third Ave.), their seafood market (Lexington Avenue at 43rd), and a wholesale store (2151 Borden Ave., Long Island).  Wild Edibles, like Urban Lobster, offers delivery, but at much higher prices.  The delivered lobster took over an hour, the lobster and sides weren’t prepared as ordered, and the employees were surly.  The dine-in service is similar:  We waited 40 minutes for inattentive service.  If you like paying top dollar to be ignored during your dining experience, this is the place for you.

The East Village boasts Luke’s Lobster (93 E. 7th).  Prices are moderate and reasonable, with entrees ranging between $10 and $20 each.  Luke’s friendly, attentive staff serves a solidly good lobster roll, as well as several other interesting dishes.  However, this establishment is tiny.  Eight to ten seats occupy the dining area.  Unless you’re interested in picking up your food to go (ensuring it won’t be hot by the time you get home), you’ll probably have to wait quite a while to get a seat here.

Ed’s Lobster Bar (222 Lafayette St., Manhattan) serves fresh lobster and lobster rolls that taste fine, but at a price that would make even the most jaded Soho consumer blush.  The word “Bar” in the name is descriptive of the seating arrangement:  stools are lined up at a bar for customers, such that all diners are facing a brick wall.  If you’re dining alone and are interested in spending large amounts, Ed’s maybe be the place for you.  If you have friends, family, a spouse or date, skip Ed’s.  It’s neither conversation- or wallet-friendly.

The best deal we found was LobsterAnywhere.com, which offers live Maine lobster delivered fresh to your door – or anywhere in the USA –  the next morning!  Located in Maine (where all good lobster comes from), LobsterAnywhere.com gets their seafood directly from the Atlantic Ocean via trusted suppliers and ships it so it arrives at its peak freshness.  In addition to whole lobster, this company offers lobster tails (in four different sizes), lobster meat and lobster rolls.  Other shellfish, shrimp, chowder and starters are available for the full seafood experience.  The prices are completely reasonable, and the result is a high-quality meal delivered to your door, fresh, the next morning.  Try it!

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