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#1 Wilfrid1

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 06:18 PM

Word filtered through the grapevine about the dinosaur-sized Australian lobster tails currently offered by Craft as a special, at a price fluctuating between $185 and $235. It featured as one course of a good dinner last night, and proved to be big enough for six hungry experts (although only five were present). Although I enjoyed the meal as a whole, some of the dishes - as usual - didn't quite come off.

Good fish appetizers: hamachi; Spanish mackerel served sashime-style, with a pickled ramp on top of each chunk.

Not good: Some kind of sea trout which was impersonating orange cardboard; a sardine (?) with a palate-stunning vinegar-attack dressing.

There were also some sweetbreads, but I wasn't really fast enough. :huh:

Charcuterie: my enthusiasm was sapped by the disappearance of the ballotines from the menu, but at least I got to eat the octopus terrine at last - an excellent version of a dish I first ate in Santo Domingo. Foie gras terrine - okay; country pate - good, but not punchy enough for me.

The lobster might well be the best I've ever eaten. Rich, buttery, and congratulations to the kitchen on the exceptional tenderness. There was some drawn butter to spoon over it, and we whimsically accompanied it with roast brussel sprouts.

Short ribs, good as usual. I pigged on these, and only tasted a little quail, but it seemed fine. The fresh morels special was sold out, but we ate some Japanese mushrooms which I thought unremarkable, and some very good Hen of the Wood.

Cheeses were a mixed bunch too. On presentation, it was immediately obvious that the Lingot was dried out and that the Keen's cheddar was a sad, waxy remnant from the bottom of a truckle. I found a hard Spanish cheese beginning with "Z" to be very good; the Serpa was good too; and I liked both the blues - the Harven and the Valdeon.

Dessert? Yes, but I seem to recall some confusion about the sauces. I think I was pretty much done by this stage, anyway. A lot of good wine consumed, notably the Meursault with the lobster and an enticing 1995 Brunello.
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#2 cabrales

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 06:25 PM

How much meat was there on the lobster tails, and wouldn't such a large lobster be less tender? How was the tail cooked (e.g., in the shell, for removal by the diner)? How huge would the whole lobster have to have been for the tail to cost so much? What wine did you drink while taking in the lobster tail?

#3 Lippy

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 06:36 PM

I curious to know how the lobster is prepared. From the photos I've seen elsewhere, it looks broiled or grilled, but I suspect that it is really steamed or boiled, then finished under a flame. I'm dying to have this, lobster being one of my absolutely favorite foods, but I'm balking at the price.

Cabby, a large part of the reason for the expense is that the lobster is flown in fresh, alledgedly, from Perth, Australia.

#4 omnivorette

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 06:44 PM

The lobster meat was the most tender, succulent, and tasty I have ever had. I thought we had long ago put to rest the idea that larger lobster meant less tender - it's simply not true.

The tail was presented to us in its entirety, and then removed and subsequently brought back to the table without the shell, save for the fan-like very end.

There was an enormous amount of lobster meat. I think 2 lbs was the number mentioned.

As Wilfrid said in his post, we drank a Meursault with the lobster.

I, for one, did not "take in" the lobster. I devoured it.

Sorry about the sweetbreads, Wilf - they were good. My favorite of that course. I agree about the pate, but the accompanying large-grain mustard was delicious.

Lippy, I"m sure it was finished under a flame, becuase the fan-tail thing was sort of thin and crispy, a little brown in places, with a little charred taste - definitely had been under a fire.

I thought the brioche pain perdu was quite nice. Liked the chocolate sauce, could live without the caramel sauce.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#5 cabrales

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 06:46 PM

Lippy -- Flown in fresh? Wow. :lol:

If you need a member of a dining group for the lobster tail, count me in (subject to the group's using a "common serving" set of utensils to cut up the lobster meat and place it on everyone's plates, for hygiene reasons). :blink:

#6 Wilfrid1

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 06:47 PM

Whatever the theories about size and tenderness, this specific tail was amazingly tender. The whole animal must be quite some size, although someone opined that it wouldn't have much meat in the claws. Was it a "spiny lobster"? Where is Balic when we need him?
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#7 beachfan

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 06:50 PM

I thought both the trout and sardines were delicious. And the Henshenjuko mushrooms or whatever they were. But the Hen of the Woods were outstanding. And let's not forget the brussel sprouts.

The grilled black bass was ok but needed saucing.

PS, these lobsters don't have claws.

PPS I didn't think the pricing was too bad on the lobster. It's hard to get a good piece of tail in NYC much cheaper ;)

#8 Lippy

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 06:51 PM

I thought we had long ago put to rest the idea that larger lobster meant less tender - it's simply not true.

The tail was presented to us in its entirety.

I've never thought that larger meant less tender.

Was the tail presented before it was cooked or after it was cooked, but before it was cut into serving pieces?

#9 omnivorette

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 06:51 PM

Was presented cooked in the shell - we never saw it uncooked.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#10 cabrales

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 06:57 PM

Was it a "spiny lobster"?

Is this different from "langoustes" found in certain water areas around France? (Haven't we had this discussion before?)

#11 Wilfrid1

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 07:00 PM

Probably, but I have no memory. :(
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#12 Melonious Thunk

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 07:08 PM

The lobster is roasted with herbs (thyme) and comes sliced into about 20-25 pieces, each about three inches around and 1/2 inch thick. 4-5 slices make a good sized portion. It is a spectacular dish. Unique in my experience. Lobster raised to the power of ten.
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#13 Wilfrid1

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 07:14 PM

Yes, it was that good.

Here's the feller. Also known as crayfish and langouste, not to mention rock lobster, which is also a song. In the absence of claws, resorts to whipping its prey, or boring it to death with readings from the Silmarillion. More or less.
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#14 Lippy

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 07:18 PM

The lobster is roasted

Ah, that would do it. Are you surmising or did you ask?

#15 marcus

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 07:39 PM

Word filtered through the grapevine about the dinosaur-sized Australian lobster tails currently offered by Craft as a special

Speaking of the grapevine, word also filtered that every dish was oversalted. Was this your experience as well?