Zabar’s Clears The Air About Its ‘Lobster’ Salad

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – When is lobster salad not lobster salad?

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman On The Upper West Side

Zabar’s has been selling its lobster salad for over twenty years, but recently a reporter from New Orleans visited the Upper West Side store and decided to give New York a heads up about what’s really in it.

“The main ingredient is crayfish,” admitted 83-year-old owner Saul Zabar, but he insists there’s nothing fishy about the name.

Lobster Salad shelf at Zabar's - New York, NY - Aug 11, 2011 (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

Lobster Salad shelf at Zabar's - New York, NY - Aug 11, 2011 (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

“Some kinds of crayfish are known locally as lobsters or crawdads or mudbugs,” he said.

The 20-year recipe “consists of wild-caught crayfish and occasionally when we could get them we’d also add langoustine, some mayonnaise a little bit of salt, a drop of sugar and we’ve been calling this lobster salad,” Zabar told 1010 WINS.

When word reached lobster country, Zabar got a call from the Maine Lobster Council and apparently, they weren’t too thrilled.

“A little controversy adds spice to our lives,” he said.

“I thought well, maybe it’s time to change the name of the product,” Zabar told WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman.

The label now says Seafare Salad now, but what won’t change is the price – $16.95 a pound, which Saul says was based on the price of the crayfish.

“If it were Maine lobster, it would go for much more,” said Zabar.

Zabar also said that he is doing his best to keep his customers from getting confused by the name change.

“I know people are going to go to that spot and when they pick up the container it’s going to say ‘seafare salad’ so I left the original name on the shelf until people get used to the fact that this is the original lobster salad,” Zabar said.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Alex Silverman
  • R. Yaleburton

    I agree, Brad. This was fraud for 20 years and Mr. Zabar should be making restitution in one way or another instead of spouting off wise*ss comments.

  • Robbi

    Crayfish are close cousins to NYC roaches. Look it up!

  • Frank

    This shouldn’t surprise anyone…..Zabars has been ripping people off for YEARS!!!!!!!

  • KPMc

    “The 20-year recipe “consists of… ”

    This line implies the recipe takes 20 years to complete. It should read 20-year OLD recipe… unless of course that are using some pretty rancid seafood.

  • sawnetbean

    He is so full of it!!!





  • Benny T

    Why is a nice Jewish boy like Saul Zabar selling crayfish which is not kosher?

  • Edward Ward

    crawfish is mini lobster…like duh!

  • vincemasseau

    Gee, give ’em a break! Have you guys even ever had this stuff? I have — dozens of times — it’s great. Sure, I’ve always known that it wasn’t lobster. All any (moron) would have to do is take a look at the meat — of course it’s a crawfish / crayfish / whatever. Who really cares — it’s good stuff. Yeah, it’s pricey and very perishable — but it’s wonderful.

  • Miss D

    Oy vay!

  • Whut in tarnation?!

    Lobstah salad, my ass!

  • noreaster

    figures a new york deli wouldn’t get lobster salad right. shame on you zabar’s. where is the “local” that you get the info “some kinds of crayfish are known locally as lobster”? somebody in kansas?

  • Brad Condit

    I believe that is called “consumer fraud” and one would assume that the NY City and State Dept. of Consumer Affairs would have an issue with inaccurate labeling. What Zabar’s has done is very sleazy! I have been all over the U.S.A. and I have never seen “Crayfish” marked “Lobster”. Is a”Beef” ever marked “Chicken”.

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