Location: 93 E 7th St (btw 1st and Ave. A) & 242 E 81st St (near 2nd ave)
It all started with a little dinner in the West Village I don’t even remember who I was having dinner with but I remember seeing that one item that piqued my interest. The crustacean that was market priced and came on a roll with a side of shoestring fries and coleslaw. Yes, the humble lobster roll at Pearl oyster bar which was impeccable but not humbly priced at $25. After the economy took a downturn in ‘08 I remember seeing a surge of street food in general everywhere in NYC and even saw lobster rolls at the Brooklyn Flea market at the Red Hook lobster stand. Lobster rolls as street food for $12-$15?? CRAZY! This might’ve been a norm in the New England area but I think for NYC this was a new trend taking off. As 5 start restaurants were shuttering their doors everywhere in the city these midrange priced food spots were taking off.
So with that preface… here is one of the better lobster roll spots in the city: Luke’s Lobster.
The owner who was laid off during the recession started this spot with connections to the Lobster market in the Northeast and hence was able to bring down lobster at cheaper than normal prices to bring your Luke’s lobster rolls. Currently two spots, one in the East village and one in UES very much a quick bite standish kind of place. Although you could do a $40 meal for two mega-feast. For $15/roll, They give you big chunks of lobster with a bit of mayo and spices for a little extra flavor. The roll is buttery soft and doesn’t get in the way of the lobster and very much there as a supporting cast.
It’s really perfect for a quick lunch and I always associate lobster roll with the summer so great for weekend summer lunch.
Next stop in my lobster roll journey is this guy (underground lobster pound)…
Location: 2170 Broadway (btw 77th &78th) & 643 Hudson Street (btw Gansevoort & Horatio)
Price: $6-mid $30s
It’s not every day that I’m willing to trek up to the upper west side during a weekday for something, but when it come to anything food related I WILL go anywhere. As of now, there are probably three reasons I’ll go to the UWS:
- Rita’s water ice (the only location in NYC)
- Kefi (Amazing greek restaurant)
- A bit of a stretch, but Levain Bakery for their damn good cookies.
Whenever I meet new friends that live in the UWS I tried to dine with them in their neighborhood and try to convince them that there are only 3 places I’ll eat in the UWS (Albeit, only one of them is a restaurant). But, usually I get tricked and I succumb to the “new” place they have in mind. I was content this time because I had been trying to go to the other Fatty Crab location in the Meatpacking district location for a while now, but every time the wait ends up being borderline too long and we end up at some random restaurant in Chelsea. I was pleasantly surprised at the no wait at this Broadway location and we were seated right away in the dark & hip/cool interiors of the Fatty Crab. This Malaysian restaurant offers seasonal specials and has a fairly diverse menu.
Before I got to the restaurant, I knew exactly what I wanted to order from there…Chili Crab…Chili Crab…Chili Crab. As I looked through the menu, THERE WAS NO CHILI CRAB! On the other hand, they had chili lobster, so what the heck. We order 2 chili lobster and pork buns.
OMG. They chili lobster comes out nested on a gravy like brown curry sauce which is DIVINE. I almost forgot that I had a bright red lobster in front of me waiting to be eaten by me since I was so busy eating/dipping the brown sauce with my tasty texas toast bread. Once I started digging into the lobster I realize that the meat of this crustacean paired beautifully with the heavenly sauce. As I devoured my lobster I had to ordered another serving of the texas toast to finish off every bit of the sauce left on my plate.
The pork buns we ordered were mighty tasty too, and liked it better then the way its prepared at some other establishments. It’s just that the main course had much more intense flavor then our appetizer.
Something to keep in mind is that it gets mighty messy eating this dish. Should keep that in mind if you’re going on a first date or something and you’re trying to impress them by ordering the most expensive dish. My friend was eating this dish and she got sauce all over her fingers and a bit on her white dress. Another thing to keep in mind is that the bathroom is VERY dark. My friend tried to go in to wash her stain off but, could not see anything and basically stumbled out not being able to see anything. Just something you should know just in case.
So, with that all in mind…I had good experience and I’m still thinking about that sauce. Oh sweet sauce.
Location: 85 Broadway Brooklyn, NY 11211
The problem with enjoying food too much and talking about the great places to eat all the time is that it can come back to bite you sometimes. I’ve had a few situations where people were bitter that what I recommended was not that great or that I suggest a restaurant that I cherish and they come back to tell me that it was sub-par. So, I’ve come to love nights when a friend suggests a spot to eat that’s on my “places to eat” list and I have no pressure but, to show up and enjoy my personal meal. In the case of Diner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that was exactly the case. My roommate, the last person I would think to suggest such a place invited me out to dinner with couple of other friends to this classic restaurant Under the Williamsburg bridge.
To preface, I’ve been keeping track of the best meals I’ve had each year I’ve been in NYC and it goes as follows:
2008- Momofuku Ko
2009- Blue Hill at Stone Barns
I have to say as of now for 2010, my best meal is at Diner. Don’t worry this is not some crappy diner you find in NJ or Queens but, the name only comes from the fact that they’ve converted an old Diner car into a restaurant which alone made the dining experience unique. Other interesting things about the restaurant is that they have a rotating menu depending on what the in season ingredients are and the staff will come over to scribble the menu items and specials directly on the table. The website has a full list of the specials for those guilty of needing to know exactly what they want to order before they go to the restaurant.
Our meal started off with some microbrews and cocktails and we didn’t feel any pressure to order quickly even though the restaurant was starting to fill up. Our appetizer of spinach salad tasted fresh and some unique flavors to the dressing. For the main courses we ordered a grilled salmon, the house burger, and my favorite the curry mussels. Everything was great and flavorful but, SERIOUSLY my curry mussels were out of this world. I never really associated curry with seafood but, the fact that they made this seafood concoction with these ingredients made my taste buds rejoice with joy that it was there that day eating that dish.
I didn’t leave a single drop in that bowl and I could’ve eaten so much more but, I was in a good place. We ended with a magnificent strawberry rhubarb cobbler w/ vanilla whipped cream a great topping to one of the best dishes/meals I’ve had in a while.
It sounds almost too simple to be the best meal of 2010 but, I think the music playing in the background helped and of course the good conversation at the table makes any meal a little bit better. Let me see if my hungry stomach leads me to a better meal than this for this year.