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NYC Lobster Rolls


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Trying to remember - is it celery salt they use, or Old Bay?

 

No, it's neither. It certainly isn't straight celery salt, because there are clearly visible dried green herbs in there. The Pink Pig October 2009 review posited oregano salt. Others have suggested oregano and thyme. Something in that ballpark.

 

Tell them you don't want it and you don't get it.

 

Everyone is agreed that they are not shipping live lobsters to the restaurant but packs of meat. Given that, I wouldn't care so much whether it was frozen as how it was frozen. Most seafood and fish we eat is frozen if it's not actually slaughtered broken down in the restaurant.

 

I wonder, and this is of course purely armchair question-spinning, whether any of the joints we're discussing are using whole live lobsters for their lobster rolls? (I also sometimes wonder about Santa Claus.)

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That's just crazy talk.

 

To begin with, some of the places certainly use fresh Maine lobster (and I know this for a fact) while others use frozen meat (and I know that for a fact too). It's also reasonable to think the ones using frozen meat aren't exactly looking for the highest quality or waiting for those elusive giant Australian lobster tails to be delivered.

 

I remember you expressed similar doubt some years ago when I mentioned that some place seems to use pre-formed frozen burger patties, but that was before the burger revolution - naturally now you wouldn't say it makes no difference or that pretty much everyone uses frozen burger meat. Quite the contrary - you're calling places out for taking the easy way and just using LaFrieda's. I'm sure as the competition for discount lobster rolls intensifies, this will become a detail you should care about as the vendors start highlighting their sources and calling each other out for not being particularly truthful.

 

 

 

Anyway, I agree that If you don't care what you're eating then the cheapest option is the best, but just stating that most seafood is frozen doesn't make frozen lobster (or precooked lobster, eew) as good as fresh, nor does it imply that places choosing to use frozen lobster are looking for the highest quality. Even live lobster comes in many grades (and prices) depending on just how alive it is, with some vendors using air shipping to get you lobsters that are only a day or two out of water, but you've just decided that this is all pointless and everything is the same, so be it. rolleyes.gif

 

 

p.s. I still don't think lobster rolls are a very good idea. When they were some sort of a lower-upper-middle-class status symbol (mom, look at me, I'm eating a small mayo sandwich on a buttered sweet commercial roll for $30! I'm sort of filthy rich!) that was one thing, but now that they're becoming burgers... I prefer a well prepared lobster as a lobster and a burger as a burger. In fact I have the fish sandwich at Pearl's much more often than the lobster roll - been there, done that, it's a fine example of the genre but not a genre I appreciate that much.

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But let's make a deal - you can continue eating at This Little Piggie Had Roast Beef, and I'll continue to think it's disgusting.

 

Maybe I'll try Luke's at some point, but I still need someone to convince me it's not frozen lobster.

Deal...but I can't "continue eating" This Little Piggie since I haven't even started eating there. That's why I proffer no opinion on it. Yet you seem to opine re: Luke's without having ever taken a bite.

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That's just crazy talk.

 

To begin with, some of the places certainly use fresh Maine lobster (and I know this for a fact) while others use frozen meat (and I know that for a fact too). ...but you've just decided that this is all pointless and everything is the same, so be it. rolleyes.gif

 

That's a fun post, but it's a caricature of what I said. It seems pointless to repeat the two sentence on which you are riffing, but:

 

Everyone is agreed that they are not shipping live lobsters to the restaurant but packs of meat. Given that, I wouldn't care so much whether it was frozen as how it was frozen. Most seafood and fish we eat is frozen if it's not actually slaughtered broken down in the restaurant.

 

I wonder, and this is of course purely armchair question-spinning, whether any of the joints we're discussing are using whole live lobsters for their lobster rolls? (I also sometimes wonder about Santa Claus.)

 

There is nothing in there about none of this mattering and not caring what we eat and cheapest is best. I do think that being unfrozen is not the sole or even most important criterion of quality. I would be astonished if you really disagree with that. You write that some places are using fresh Maine lobster, but I didn't dispute that. I expressed skepticism about whether live lobsters are being "broken down" for lobster rolls. If some places do that, fine: most don't.

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But let's make a deal - you can continue eating at This Little Piggie Had Roast Beef, and I'll continue to think it's disgusting.

 

You think their pastrami is disgusting? I ate Katz's pastrami this week, and I would really struggle to argue that it's significantly better. (The beef sandwiches are sort of deliberately disgusting.)

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This whole NYC lobster roll thing is delusionary. It's a 21st-century form of tulip mania.

 

For the best lobster rolls, you cannot expect the main ingredient to be shipped to you & hold its quality. Can't be done. You must go to the lobsters.

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This whole NYC lobster roll thing is delusionary. It's a 21st-century form of tulip mania.

 

For the best lobster rolls, you cannot expect the main ingredient to be shipped to you & hold its quality. Can't be done. You must go to the lobsters.

I find that then the rolls get soggy.

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This whole NYC lobster roll thing is delusionary. It's a 21st-century form of tulip mania.

 

For the best lobster rolls, you cannot expect the main ingredient to be shipped to you & hold its quality. Can't be done. You must go to the lobsters.

I find that then the rolls get soggy.

The price of absolute freshness.

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There is nothing in there about none of this mattering and not caring what we eat and cheapest is best. I do think that being unfrozen is not the sole or even most important criterion of quality. I would be astonished if you really disagree with that. You write that some places are using fresh Maine lobster, but I didn't dispute that. I expressed skepticism about whether live lobsters are being "broken down" for lobster rolls. If some places do that, fine: most don't.

 

 

I think your attempt to equate "breaking down" whole pigs locally to bringing in live lobsters (or freshly cooked ones, for that matter) is highly misleading and/or uninformed and your comment that for half the price you get something that's nearly as good certainly implies that cheapest, if not best, is pretty close to being best. You can go to your New Yorker archive and find the article from some years ago about the company that ships nova scotia lobsters via UPS, explaining how lobster meat usually comes to be frozen (sorry, I can't recall the name of the company).

 

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We may have temporarily to revoke your reading license.

 

...your attempt to equate "breaking down" whole pigs locally to bringing in live lobsters (or freshly cooked ones, for that matter) is highly misleading and/or uninformed...

 

What? Where did I say any of that? (ETA: You do realize that using the phrase "breaking down" was a joke? - suggesting that it's used as a euphemism for lobster murder. Nothing to do with pigs.)

 

...your comment that for half the price you get something that's nearly as good certainly implies that cheapest, if not best, is pretty close to being best...

 

Let's see what I said about Luke's Lobster, emphasis added to aid comprehension:

 

...it may not be quite as good as the competition, but it's very close and half the price.

 

I was simply qualifying my statement. I don't know when I last ate a lobster roll at Mary's. Long time. Pearl more recently. I've eaten a lobster roll at Ed's once, Ditch Plains a couple of times, and so on. If someone tells me Luke's roll is not as good as Mary's, say, I don't have a basis to contradict them. What I am saying is that it's playing in the same league at least, and it's unquestionably half the price. Maybe it's better than Mary's - some people seem to think so. That's all.

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Walter Foods in Williamsburg has old-style lobster roll prices: $24. Since it was also serving whole lobster in the shell and a half-lobster salad, I assume the lobster roll meat was not coming out of a pack for once.

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I had the Red Hook Lobster pound version over the weekend and really liked it. The lobster itself had a nice texture, they use a decent bun, and the whole thing was really light and refreshing. I am not an expert but it tasted fresh to me.

 

(This was at the Red Hook location not the Brooklyn Flea.)

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Guys. Buy a lobster. Some celery, some Pepperidge farm top cut rolls. Take it all home and boil the lobster for not too long. Cut the celery into small pieces. Chop up the lobster and mix it with celery and hellmans. Salt and Pepper. Warm the buns and butter them if you want. Put the lobster stuff in them and eat right away. This shit isn't mysterious or rocket science. You can do it yourself or pay somebody else to but I don't think it warrants all the debate. Apologize in advance.

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Guys. Buy a lobster. Some celery, some Pepperidge farm top cut rolls. Take it all home and boil the lobster for not too long. Cut the celery into small pieces. Chop up the lobster and mix it with celery and hellmans. Salt and Pepper. Warm the buns and butter them if you want. Put the lobster stuff in them and eat right away. This shit isn't mysterious or rocket science. You can do it yourself or pay somebody else to but I don't think it warrants all the debate. Apologize in advance.

Of course it warrants the debate; that's what food boards are for.

 

And it really warrants it for people who don't want to buy, cook, cut up celery, chop up lobster, use Hellman's, toast rolls... Most food isn't rocket science, yet is debated about endlessly.

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