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Nov 21, 2008 07:37 AM

Lobster Trap or Starfish?

Can't decide where to go for lobster. Am pondering either Lobster Trap or Starfish. Starfish has one lobster (the full lobster) and Lobster Trap has lobster a few different ways.

Or should I ditch and have the 2 for 1 lobster special at Wah Sing?

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  1. Lobster Trap and Starfish are at two totally different ends of the spectrum -- not necessarily in terms of price, but in terms of ambience (or lack of it). We love the Lobster Trap and it would definitely be our first choice for lobster, steamed or broiled, and, of course, their delicious lobster bisque. It's a no-frills kind of restaurant, but the lobster is fresh, tasty and we've never been disappointed. I have had a two pound steamed lobster at lunch at Starfish and it was delicious. But, when we go to the Lobster Trap we usually each have a two pound lobster dinner which includes either clam chowder, lobster bisque, garlic rolls, and either a salad or a potato, oh, and, of course, a soft drink. Without liquor, that dinner is about $160, including taxes and tip for two of us. But, that's a complete 2 pound lobster dinner for two. I don't know if anything comes with the lobster at Starfish, certainly not starters, garlic bread or a soft drink.

    So, although I've got nothing negative to say about Starfish, I would go to the Lobster Trap without giving it a second thought.


    4 Replies
    1. re: farmgirl1836

      Go with The Lobster Trap if and that's a big don't care about the decor(tired and not even kitschy anymore), don't look at the yucky carpet on the floor, the salad is less than appealing, think brown around the iceberg edges, the desserts are pedestrian BUT on the plus side Lobsters come in every size and the servers are generally quite pleasant. AND it is a lot less pricey than Starfish!

      1. re: pearlD

        If it's just lobster -- and only lobster that you want -- then I agree that it's the place to go. But do avoid all of the other fish and seafood, as well as the meat dishes. And choose the lobster bisque over the clam chowder; it's very good, while the chowder (New England style) is mediocre.

          1. re: millygirl

            That's about what I would have said also, but they must be doing something right. They've been around at least 35 years, and how many restaurants have lasted that long?

            I was there maybe 25 years back last, and I didn't see any reason too go nack, I wonder how it is now.

            If I want lobster, I just cook it at home as it's simple to toss them in a pot.

    2. There are a number of other posts about the decline in lobster prices this year. Have the 'market' prices at either Starfish or Lobster Trap been adjusted to reflect this? If not, think about the take-out lobster with black bean sauce from T and T. $6.99

      13 Replies
      1. re: Snarf

        Maine lobster hit a low of $2.99/lb. in Maine earlier this week. Can you imagine?

        1. re: BodyByCheese

          T&T sells Main lobster, and it doesn't seem to be as good as the lobster from Atlantic Canada

          1. re: foodyDudey

            I make lobsters every New Year's Eve. I either steam or boil them. Either way, I add sea salt and a big piece of kombu seaweed (rinse first to get rid of dust). The combination of salt and seaweed really gives off a nice aroma and slight flavour of the sea to the water and the lobster. My lobsters have turned out great every year except for one, when I overcooked them. They were huge and I was worried about undercooking. I should have gone with my gut and removed them 5 minutes earlier than I did. Other than that, they've been sensational and super easy to make. I serve with a lobster cracker and a pair of shellfish scissors, to cut through tough shells. No cleaver necessary.

            1. re: foodyDudey

              The Maine lobster season starts earlier than the Maritimes. Nova Scotia lobster will become available at the end of November, and the prices are expected to go down even more, with fewer buyers at the docks.

              1. re: foodyDudey

                they keep labeling the tanks at T&T as "local" and have on several occasions told me that local = atlantic... am i being lied to?!? i wouldn't really be all that surprised if they were lying to me but i don't really see the point of labeling lobster as "local" when i know it's still being shipped from an ocean side locale.

                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                  Lobsters with claws generally come from the north Atlantic, never from warmer oceans. I think T&T is interpreting 'local' rather loosely. I doubt if they would call it 'local' in their western stores.

                  The north Atlantic lobster catch is highly regulated by the Canadian and U.S. governments. We have always been protective of our Nova Scotia and New Brunswick lobsters, and proud of their taste, whereas Americans swear by the Maine lobster. In reality the catch could be from either source, depending on fishing regulations.

                  1. re: jayt90

                    there are lobsters without claws?

                    i believe the man behind the T&T seafood counter specifically told me newfoundland. if that were the case and with the assumption that nova scotian and newfie harvests would be coordinated... it seems much more likely that i was having a maine lobster. i'm not trying to be nitpicky here but i'm just curious as to how two of us received varying information.

                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                      I'm no expert, but the idea that two provinces would legally be allowed to combine their efforts seems wrong. With Canadian trade restrictions being what they are, it's likely easier to get Maine lobster in Ontario.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        Rock lobsters are claw less
                        The following map shows the narrow (or local!) range of the American lobster.
                        According to the seasonal map, we are getting Maine and Bay of Fundy lobsters now, to be followed by Nova Scotia lobsters next week.

                        1. re: jayt90

                          thanks for the links!

                          i haven't encountered clawless but it might be a great meal, i don't even like the claw meat! though that would mean losing out on the great knuckle bit.

                          looks like i was eating new brunswick lobster by that schedule... curious to see how the nova scotia ones compare.

                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                            The government fisheries site mentions a huge lobster pound that will hold the beasts for up to a year. I'm sure T&T has access to this, to get the best price.

                            In other CH discussions about lobster, the Maine or American species (ours too) is always thought to be better tasting than the rock lobster. The only rock lobster I've had have been frozen tails, and they are definitely inferior.

                            1. re: jayt90

                              The Japanese spiny lobster is also clawless.

                              1. re: tjr

                                The Jamaican Lobsters are also 'clawless' but they call them Crayfish and tourists/restaurants in JA call them Lobster. They are actually quite good but ususally not eaten (at least in Restaurants) the way we eat them here ie:broiled/steamed. The restaurants more often serve them 'curried' or 'thermidor'..the curried style is excellent can't speak for 'thermidor' because I don't eat them that way. Locals also more often eat them in a curry style or as lobster salad made with fresh pineapple (That's really good!!)

            2. I've been meaning to try Starfish and Wah Sing, so as of yet I can't comment on either.

              I will however tell you that Lobster Trap is quite delicious. I have eaten there several times over the years (usually on a whim) and haven't yet been dissapointed. I've always left feeling quite satisfied, and the bisque is definatley one of the best I've had anywhere.

              If you're going for a nice dinner out, there may be nicer places, based on the dated decor, as others have pointed out.

              If you're going for the food specifically, it's hard to see how someone could be dissapointed.

              1. Lobster Trap

                Pros: Correctly cooked lobster -- steamed not boiled (so not as much water on the plate), correctly cracked and broken claws, correct utensils, drawn butter without garlic. Full choice of size. Good clam chowder and lobster bisque (I prefer the clam chowder -- the addition of caraway seed and carrots is nice). Nice pleasant service.

                Cons: Horrifically dated decor. Not just dated, run down and tired. So run down it looks dirty. Everything but the lobster, the soup and the garlic buns is poor at best. The sides and salad are beyond salvation (the blue cheese dressing on the salad is OK).

                For how poor the ambiance is, the price is hard to swallow.

                For a long time now, I have been trying to find a suitable replacement for Lobster Trap.

                I have not tried Starfish. I had friends warn of very cold and unfriendly service and not quite correctly presented lobster. Plus, looking through the window, I can imagine it wouldn't be the sort of place to feel right at home sucking the meat of the little lobster legs (it does create a slight slurping sound).

                I plan to try Zee Grill on Mt. Pleasant. I have not done so yet.

                I would go to Rodney's. It was a step up from Lobster trap in a number of ways when I was there last about 2 years ago. But, my mother wouldn't be able to handle the stairs and she's the reason I'd be having lobster.

                So, I cook them at home. Bill's Lobster (on Gerrard) is still charging more than T&T. But, the last time I was at T&T (Cherry St.) there were 3 floaters in the tank and it put me off buying them.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Atahualpa

                  I was at T&T (Cherry St.) on Sunday. The lobsters in the tank were so small I seriously wonder whether they're of legal age and size to sell. I don't need my lobsters to weigh 4 lbs, but these were smaller than some very average-sized lobster tails that are sold in freezer sections of grocery stores. I thought there was a minimum size requirement for lobsters to be pulled from the water for sale. Am I wrong?

                  1. re: 1sweetpea

                    I'm pretty sure 1lb is the minimum weight for lobsters (at least in Maine). The cheapies at T&T are usually between 1.0-1.5lbs, and yes, they are adults and legal to harvest.

                    1. re: tjr

                      Canadian caught lobster can be as little as 3/4 of a pound. The actual regs. and the differences between Canadian and American regs. are discussed in a NYT article here:

                2. Tough choice! Lobster trap is a family/senior fast paced place...and they don't take reservations...but it's good traditional seafood...excellent lobster bisque!! (I don't like some of the waitresses there and they can be rude, forgetful and pushy!

                  Starfish is pricier and more gourmet....the oysters are amazing and so is the Owner - Patrick!
                  The wait staff is funny and charming.....