Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
May 4, 2002 08:26 AM


  • p

Would like to boil my own lobsters today, any suggestions for the best place (best price) in the greater boston area (I'm in Needham) to purchase them today???

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. James Hook is open all weekend, and they have the best lobster, for price, for selection, and freshness. They are downtown, on the waterfront a block and a half south of the Boston Harbor Hotel.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Roejimmy

      Yo must REALLY like James Hook..:) same here..just got back from there.

      1. re: 9lives

        A few side questions:

        1. How can you tell a lobster is fresh?
        2. How do you pick a good lobster? (eg. I know how to pick good crab...pinch the inner hind leg for meatiness...and you have got a good one).

        Newbie to lobster picking,

          1. re: Leonard

            Better lobsters have spent less time in a tank. Other than that, I think size and sex matters. Lobsters that are really large (over 2-3#) may not be as sweet as smaller ones. If you like the tomalley and roe (I do), ask for a female lobster (cause you ain't gonna get any in a male). It helps to learn how to sex a lobster because only about half the people who sell them can do it. If you flip the lobster on its back and look just where the tail joins the body, there are a pair of small "feelers". On the female, these feelers look (and are) flexible and on a male lobster, they are hard (probably in shell). These feelers are about a half inch long. Once you know where to look, you shouldn't have trouble identifying them as male or female. Bon appetit!

            1. re: ScratchBaker

              I thought females w/ roes are illegal to sell?

              1. re: Ben C.

                Females with roe on the outside are illegal.

                1. re: Ben C.

                  From the outside, I don't think there's any way to tell if a lobster has eggs or not. To me, steaming a female lobster and opening it up is always a surprise to see what's inside. Sometimes there's roe; sometimes not. Maybe you're thinking of another food, though I can't recall anything along those lines.

                  I do know that lobster catches are limited by size. They have to throw back anything below a certain length (7"?) but I don't recall what is measured (head to tail or just body length). Has to do with the age of the lobster and trying not to deplete the species.

                  What's really sad is to see people buy lobsters and only eat the tail and claws and discard the (wonderful) body meat. Now that seems like a wasteful harvest.

                2. re: ScratchBaker
                  Pat Goldberg

                  I think the presumed relationship between size and sweetness is a myth. A couple of weeks ago, we shared a 4.5 lb lobster that was as sweet as any I have every had. I have also had some pretty pedestrian smaller lobsters.

                  I personally don't think there is any way to reliably predict sweetness. Buy your lobsters from a place with good turnover, and make sure they are lively. I too prefer females because of the roe, but that is not essential.

                  Pat G.

                3. re: Leonard

                  Good/healthy lobsters are known as "flyers". When you pick them up by their head, the claws should raise up/arch back and formed a big-v, liek they are extending wings to fly. Those are very healthy and alive lobsters. The shell should be hard. They should taste good. Also make sure the water is cool enough, because warmer water means they will move more, and more movement = more energy spent = less tastey. Cold and dark conditon put them into sleep mode, btw =) (you can store them in the frig for couple hours that way)

            2. Check the prices at Lamberts (rt.1, westwood) While they're not always the best prices, often they are.