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Ed's Lobster Bar in SoHo

We hoped to catch this new venture - from a former chef at Pearl's - on a quiet night, but boy were we mistaken. By 8pm, the place was absolutely PACKED with Daily Candy readers (make of that what you will), as it'd been featured in there last Friday.

We put our name on the list and waited 40 minutes. They finally seated us in back - the place is rather narrow and occupied by a long bar, and there are a few haphazard tables jammed into a back room. After many attempts at getting menus, wine menu, water, etc from the completely disorganized staff we finally place our order and find they are out of ALMOST EVERYTHING, and it wasn't even 8:45!

Can you say L-A-M-E?

I understand that restaurants can get caught a bit off-guard when they open, but it would have been nice if they told us they didn't have any food left BEFORE we waited for that long. What a waste of an hour of life.

We picked up a pizza at Lombardi's instead and ate it on the way home (which was kind of great, actually).

As a local, I can't ever see wanting to go back to Ed's. It's just too shrill, scene-y, chaotic, and just plain ugh.

But perhaps someone else on the board can actually weigh in on the food.

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  1. We had the same experience and they had been open for several days. And it's not like this guy hasn't made this food before; he's been making THE EXACT SAME dishes at Pearl Oyster Bar for several years. There were 8 hard, rubbery clams on the plate! EIGHT! I know clams are expensive but if you can't give a decent portion then don't sell them! He had Pearl's combination cocktail (1/2 chilled lobster, clams, oysters and shrimp in the same amount) only on a platter for TWICE the price.
    The lobster pot pie was a travesty and the lobster roll was a joke! The fish we had was so overcooked that we sent it back and the French fries are just plain awful--I mean dreadful. Desserts ranged from the bizarre (WHAT was that stupid ice cream sandwich?) to pale imitations of Pearl's sundae. On top of this, the staff are supposedly all trained sommaliers? Another joke. But the shock is that the place was designed and decorated to look exactly like Pearl Oyster Bar! Rebecca Charles can't be a partner there, can she?
    Does anyone know?
    Pearl has some idiosyncracies but the food is always, always perfect! How else could he get away with such a direct knock off though? Post if you have any 411.
    Regardless of who owns this joint, with all of the lobster/clam/fish shacks that Pearl has spawned in this city there is NO reason to eat here.

    1. "I understand that restaurants can get caught a bit off-guard when they open"

      caught off-guard? restaurants are so expensive to open (and almost always delayed) they are usually barely functional in the first days. and geez, when Daily Candy hits? yikes! you practically guarantee yourself a terrible experience if you go to any new place, esp. from someone opening their first restaurnat on the first day it opens when Daile Candy hordes desced - i'm sorry, but that's just a recipe for a disaster, IMO

      of course, they could have handled it better and invited you to come back another day to make up for the pointless wait.

      personally, i'm not willing to wait 40 min anywhere - there are way too many good restaurants in the city. besides expectations rise in direct proportion to the wait, don;t they?

      1 Reply
      1. As a chef and culinary consultant, I try NEVER to go to a restaurant before it's at least 3 months old, and if I do go sooner, and have a less than stellar experience, to return after the kinks have a chance to get ironed out.

        Early reviews for a new restaurant are a two-edged sword. I know of no place that has opened seamlessly. There are always glitches in everything.

        I realize New Yorkers are an impatient lot, but I hope you will give Ed's another chance at a later date. They must be doing something right to get such great reviews!

        1 Reply
        1. re: ChefJune

          Please. The guy's been making the exact same food for at least 6 years, depending on the press release.
          And what great reviews? No real food journalists have reviewed it. A couple of bloggers who don't even know enough about the food business to know a direct copy when they see one? That don't recognize a hot dog bun when they eat one? [gridskipper.com]
          By the way, in answer to my own question earlier, I called Pearl and they have no affiliation with this joint.
          AND I trust the Chow readers before I do a bunch of bloggers trying to be the first ones to "review" anything new or trying to cop a free meal.

        2. Imagine eating microwaved mussels in a bowl of water and parsley on the 6 train during rush hour and then paying 60 bucks for the experience. Sounds like fun? Then head over to Ed's. You'll wait an average of 90 minutes only to be stared down by 20 people in line waiting to take your seat and be gastronomically mistreated. Pretentious, packed, uncomfortable-- lobster salad on a hot dog bun, how chic and innovative! If your friends drag you to this hole in your wallett- order a bottle of muscadet and some fries and hold a grudge against them for at least a day or two.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lelittleredhouse

            Went to Ed's a week after it's grand opening and the food was subpar. The New England clam chowder was a joke. It was essentially 3/4 potatoes with 1 clam shell with minimal taste of the chowder. The whole chowder was very grainy and starchy from the superflous amounts of potatoes. The Lobster roll was way too small for $19 dollars. Very heavy on the mayo and celery and lacking on the lobster.. on a hot dog bun! The fried calamari was rubbery. Overall the experience was ehhh, definitely would not be going back anytime soon.

          2. Ed's Lobster Bar, Soho, New York

            I had read bad reviews on this place and still decided to check it out for myself. I should've trusted the reviews and saved my money --- don't make the same mistake I did. They did a great job creating a great space out of this tiny narrow restaurant. Great ambiance. Great Caesar's salad. And that's where it ends. Overwhelmingly, it was the service or "arrogant" poor service that pushed it over to the DO NOT RETURN column. Just when will these noteworthy chefs realize that all their hard-earned currency goes up in one pathethic puff of smoke when you allow poor service to go unchecked in a place with your own name on it?! The soup came out cold and remained cold at our table. When politely asked to return the untouched soup to the kitchen for a fresh hot bowl, we were given lip service by our waitress. And then my friend who had the seafood entree found it entirely unfulfilling and regretfully still felt hungry after paying for a $20 entree that was no more filling than an appetizer. Additionally, she left a little fearful as the seafood in her dish did not taste particularly fresh --- which needless to say is quite scary when it comes to seafood. I think the food is not as bad as some of the reviews but when combined with the grotesquesly poor service --- Red Lobster begins to look like a 5-star dining experience. Sad to have to write this review as it's indeed a very nice addition to the neighborhood but unless they shape up the service and the pricing, it won't fare any better than last season's hotpants.

            1. I will also add my experience to this list. My main complaint with this place is the service (or lack thereof). I went there last week with a friend of mine around 7pm and was told that there was a 30 minute wait. So we made ourselves comfortable and 20 minutes later, a party of 2 walked in and was seated immediately. When we pointed this out to the host, he basically said "oops, you should have been next" and walked away. No apology, no complimentary drink, no nothing!

              So when we finally sat down, we ordered the raw bar platter and two lobster rolls. The lobster rolls came out in about 15 minutes but we sent them back because we wanted our appetizer first. We told the server this, she gestured down to the end of the bar and said that the guy was in the weeds and that it would be about 10 more minutes....30 minutes later, we still didn't have our appetizer! When we told her that we'd been waiting a long time, she merely shrugged. The platter finally was delivered after about 40 minutes total wait time and there were bits of shell in the oysters. Belch.

              We didn't have any complaints about the lobster rolls and fries were fine but IMO not worth dealing with the hassle when you can go to Mary's or Pearl's for better service. Too bad.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kaffy

                I forgot to mention in my previous post about the horrible service. The guy who was working the door with glass did a horrible job. Yes, i am putting the short stubby guy with glass on blast. He said it was a 30 minute wait. Okay that's reasonable but soon after the 45 minute mark, he was letting people in who placed their names after I did. After 1+ hour wait for a seat, it wasn't worth it. Save your money and go else where. We'll see how long Ed's will last after the dailycandy crowd dissipates.

              2. So either I have really pedestrian taste, or things are better at lunch!

                Was in the neighborhood Saturday, so tried it instead of heading downtown for a bahn mi - and have been raving about it since. I didnt want the lobster roll to end. A lot less mayo than Pearl - I thought it was significantly better, if a bit smaller.

                I sat at the bar, and the server was excellent. A couple of very budget-minded tourists came in and she was incredibly patient with them. They had the salted cod on ciabatta that looked pretty good from where I was sitting.