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5 Best Places to Eat Lobster in NYC Right Now

You may not believe it, but lobster season is just starting. Yes, it has been a summer filled with tasty lobster rolls and lobster bakes, but the truth is that the best time to indulge in this crustacean is late summer and early fall when the waters are warmer and the haul proves larger. Of course, this also brings up the debate of soft shell vs. hard shell lobster, and really, there is no right answer on that one. But, if you are on the soft shell side, now is the time to get these babies, while they are molting. With that, here are five places doing right by the crustacean.

 

Cull & Pistol (Photo: Linnea Covington)

Cull & Pistol (Photo: Linnea Covington)

Cull & Pistol
Located in the belly of Chelsea Market, this casual seafood restaurant manages to walk the line between excellent, elevated food while keeping the vibe laidback and thankfully eschewing cheesy nautical decor. The name, however, tips a hat to their sea creature of choice, the lobster. “Cull” is the name for a lobster with one claw, and “pistol” for a clawless one. Run by the same people behind the Lobster Place next door, it’s not surprising that you can get a superior lobster roll here, done either Maine style, which comes chilled with mayo and scallions, or the Connecticut way where the seafood is warmed with lobster butter and served with kewpie mayo and lemon. You can also skip that and just order your lobster whole, split and grilled with a just a bit of lemon and melted butter to dip it in. 75 9th Ave., 646-568-1223, cullandpistol.com

Oceana
For a refined take on lobster, chef Ben Pollinger’s restaurant in Midtown is a good bet. Here you can order a whole Maine lobster stuffed with or without crab meat, in three sizes — one and a quarter, three or five pounds. If that feels too daunting, try the chef’s excellent execution of the crustacean in his General Tso’s lobster, a spicy and sweet dish served with forbidden rice, or go for the imported Nova Scotia Fourchu lobster, which comes roasted with tomato confit, braised fennel olive and a lobster basil jus. All these dishes are available for dinner or lunch, but if you come in for the latter you can also indulge in a rich lobster sandwich with bacon and pain au lait.  120 W. 49th St., 212-759-5941, oceanarestaurant.com

Ed’s Lobster Bar
It’s only natural that a place named Ed’s Lobster Bar would serve the very thing that sings in the title, and in the case of this simple, white-and-red accented East Village eatery, that’s exactly what you’ll find. But what lobster-centric thing to order? To start with, the lobster roll here is excellent —  a truly fresh sandwich served with Ed’s homemade pickle and crusty fries. For those looking for something a little different, try the lobster pot pie or a lobster burger, a tender patty made from this crustacean that will give that tired old salmon burger a run for its money. Of course, you could also just go old school and stick with a whole one-and-a-half pound lobster, which they broil and coat with bread crumbs and garlic. No matter which way you go, the end result is a true lobsterpalooza in your mouth. 222 Lafayette St., 212-343-3236, lobsterbarnyc.com

Water Club
Now that this prestigious eatery by the East River is open again (no thanks to a forced closure by Hurricane Sandy), diners can rejoice that their tableside lobster service is back in full swing. Take in the Brooklyn skyline while an eager waiter deconstructs an entire steamed Maine lobster for you, elegantly serving it without dropping a smidgen of precious juices on the white linen covering the table. Each crustacean comes with a plate of mashed potatoes O’Keeffe and sweet drawn butter for you to dip your meat in. And, if you want to add even more lobster fun to the meal, before you get your entree, treat yourself to a rich bowl of creamy lobster bisque. 500 E. 30th St., 212-683-3333, thewaterclub.com

Red Hook Lobster Pound
We can’t really get away with a story about lobster without highlighting one of the pioneers of the lobster roll craze — the famous Red Hook Lobster Pound in Brooklyn. This once-tiny venture was opened by Ralph Gorham and Susan Povich in 2008, and before Maine lobster rolls became common, this pair was dishing out tasty sandwiches to a lobster-hungry crowd that came, demanded and bought them out almost every day. Now the company has spread locations and you can find them at various markets, festivals and shops around the city. But even though they have spread the lobster love, the first-rate product remains and is worth a taste. Various locations, redhooklobster.com

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