Long ago regarded as a poor man’s food, lobster is now one of the most treasured creatures of the sea. And while National Lobster Day isn’t until June, there’s never a bad time to celebrate the scrumptious crustacean.
So here are the top spots in New York to dine on the beloved “sea bug”—from a British-born eatery in Gramercy to a claw-some mecca in Red Hook.
The SoHo restaurant’s classic lobster roll—presented in a brioche bun with vegetable slaw and salt-and-vinegar chips on the side—is widely regarded as one of the best in the city. But for a truly indulgent dining experience, go for the whole stuffed lobster, served with grilled lemon and garlic-chili butter, or the surf and turf (filet mignon with a grilled half lobster on a bed of greens).
If you’re there for brunch, try the chilled lobster salad (with wild arugula, mango, red onion, and champagne vinaigrette) or the lobster eggs Benedict.
Burger & Lobster
The London transplant offers several takes on the toothsome critter: For burger buffs, there’s the Beast—lobster meat piled atop a six-ounce beef burger blanketed with Swiss cheese and truffle mayo.
But if you prefer your lobster tucked in a roll, opt for the Japanese-inspired Seven Samurai (sweet meat dressed in ginger mayo and topped with cucumbers, scallions, napa cabbage, sesame seeds, and togarashi) or the Fiesta (a spicy version clad in chipotle mayo, corn, white cabbage, red bell peppers, and pico de gallo).
And if you’re feeling super-shellfish, get one of the Big Boys (oversize lobsters starting at three pounds) or the $50 Big Boss Combo, featuring a six-ounce burger with foie gras paired with a whole one-pound lobster.
The Lobster Place
Order freshly steamed whole lobsters at the back counter of this bustling seafood shop at Chelsea Market. Ranging from one to three-and-a-half pounds, the precracked crustaceans are quickly doled out on cardboard plates, each accompanied by a tub of melted butter and lemon wedges. For a delightfully messy hands-on experience, devour one on the spot while standing at one of the long tables. (If you’re squeamish, be sure to ask for a pair of gloves and a bib.)
The shop’s sister restaurant next door, Cull & Pistol, also offers a chilled whole lobster as part of its $165 Penant seafood platter. And the dainty lobster sliders are perfect for kids who typically cringe at the sight of the funky-looking sea creatures.
Try the Brooklyn noshery’s lobster club roll—with celery, avocado, bacon, and fresh herb mayo on a griddled bun. Or stop by on a weekend for its prix-fixe brunch, which includes lobster huevos rancheros and lobster Benedict served with a mimosa or lobster claw Bloody Mary.
The most popular item offered at the famed food chain—which has nine locations in New York—is the classic lobster roll, made with wild-caught lobster dressed with melted lemon butter, mayo, and secret seasoning.
But the winter-only lobster grilled cheese—chunks of sweet meat smothered in Gruyère and sandwiched between two slices of buttered bread—is an absolute must.
Ed’s Lobster Bar
Here, the prized arthropod stars in an array of dishes beyond the ubiquitous roll, from a rich poutine and a smooth bisque to a juicy burger with pickles and slaw. At dinner, start with a bowl of corn and lobster chowder, followed by a broiled whole lobster (caked with bread crumbs and garlic) or the lobster ravioli (drenched in a mushroom cream sauce).
Lighter options include the lunch-only lobster BLT, lobster Cobb, and lobster salad. (Note that the SoHo spot is a literal bar, with a long row of stools facing a brick wall—so it’s an ideal locale for lone lobster lovers looking to get their fix.)
Red Hook Lobster Pound
You can’t go wrong with any of the Brooklyn eatery’s “world famous lobster rolls,” each of which showcases a quarter pound of Maine claw and knuckle meat nestled in a New England split-top bun, served with slaw and a pickle—plus your choice of potato salad, fries, or greens. (But the BLT rendition—garnished with applewood smoked bacon, chipotle mayo, paprika, and scallions—is especially flavorful.)
Salad lovers will swoon over the Cobbster (lobster with bacon, blue cheese, egg, tomatoes, crispy onions, and avocado with blue cheese dressing), while pasta fiends will relish the lobster mac and cheese. But if you prefer the old-fashioned lobster dinner (spotlighting a one-and-a-half-pounder with boiled potatoes, corn, and slaw), be sure to go on a Wednesday, when it’s $25 (instead of market price) all day long.