Labor Day is here (sob!). Enjoy the last weekend of the summer by feasting on lobster, that most summery of crustaceans. The restaurants featured below make our seven favorite lobster dishes in the city. A three-day weekend means you just might be able to try them all. By Jessica Allen.
Operating under the (correct) assumption that tortillas make everything better, Toloache Thompson offers a langosta (lobster) taco. First, the lobster is butter poached and sauteed. After that, it gets covered in a morita salsa made from chile de árbol. On top of this goes avocado and chipotle mayo. It’s a little bit spicy and a lotta good. Complete the experience with a glass of tequila or mezcal—the restaurant has a great selection of both.
Luke Holden knows lobster. He grew up in Maine, and started a lobster company while still in high school. Today, he imports seafood fresh every day from Maine to his various eponymous restaurants along the eastern seaboard, including several in Manhattan. We like the one in the East Village, because it’s close to Tompkins Square Park. But the lobster rolls at any and all are the city’s best, easy.
Any day that starts with lobster is bound to be a good day, or so goes the philosophy behind the lobster benedict at Tessa. This restaurant lets you build your own benedict at brunch. You start with eggs (duh), then pile on poached lobster and your choice of hollandaise, including one made from egg whites and olive oil. You can go the traditional route for the base by choosing an English muffin, or try herbed potatoes or lemon arancini.
Lobster Mac and Cheese
Holy moly, talk about decadent. NYY Steak Manhattan takes a relatively simple dish (mac and cheese) and turns it into something utterly unlike what you used to eat as a kid. Chunks of lobster get mixed with orecchiette pasta, and all that gets tossed with a cheese sauce. It comes as a side, an excellent accompaniment to one of the restaurant’s fine steaks. But it’s so rich and so luxurious and so good, it can definitely stand alone as a meal.
You’ve got to be pretty confident about knowing your way around Louisiana-style preparations to name your restaurant Claw Daddy’s. This Cajun and creole joint on the Lower East Side has plenty of reason to preen, especially its seafood boil. You’ve got shrimp, crawfish, crab, and lobster all jumbled together in a melange of seafood stock, with your choice of seasoning. Each pot comes with potatoes, chiles, and fresh corn too. Big enough to share, if you want to.
Steamed Lobster (Plain)
The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market isn’t fancy. Indeed, the lobster counter is located in the very back of a bustling fish market (which also sells really good soups, super-fresh sushi, and other products of the sea). But it’s worth fighting the crowds to order a lobster, freshly steamed. Family-owned since 1974, the Lobster Place also does a brisk wholesale business, supplying some of the city’s finest restaurants.
Steamed Lobster & Wild Clams
Once upon a time, this restaurant was known as Elaine’s, and catered to writers, editors, and other creative literary types. The Writing Room honors this past via its name, as well as its decor, which includes huge photos of typewriter keys and books. The steamed lobster and wild clams, on the other hand, don’t have anything to do with the writing life. No matter. A few bites into the dish, and you’ll be composing poetry of your own.