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7 yr old daughter looking to try lobster in TO

Vern Ryerse Jul 27, 2009 04:01 PM

Looking for some low fuss, low muss lobster for my keen 7 yr old foodie.

Dont want to demolish the budget, but would like something nice and straightforward.

As always, thanks!

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  1. y
    youdonut RE: Vern Ryerse Jul 27, 2009 04:04 PM

    Red Lobster..

    1 Reply
    1. re: youdonut
      Crispy skin RE: youdonut Jul 27, 2009 04:18 PM

      Agreed. My kids love this place and it is not expensive. They can color and pick their own lobster too.

    2. m
      merlot143 RE: Vern Ryerse Jul 27, 2009 04:37 PM

      No, no, no. Red Lobster will turn your daughter off seafood. If you want a future Chowhounder, bring her to a Chinese restaurant like Wah Sing on Baldwin or Sang Ho on Dundas. Ask them to steam the lobster with ginger and garlic. The meat will be fresh and tasty.

      1 Reply
      1. re: merlot143
        Crispy skin RE: merlot143 Jul 27, 2009 05:43 PM

        I have found that unless you are Chinese, then some of the tastes and textures and smells from a Chinese restaurant can be overwhelming. To the point that my kids have gagged and felt sick eating dim sum. Redlobster is a kid friendly enviornment and can do a great steamed lobster with butter sauce, which to be honest is basically impossible to mess up or overpower a young pallate. The meat is always fresh and tasty when you select your own.

      2. Rabbit RE: Vern Ryerse Jul 27, 2009 04:43 PM

        St. Lawrence Market... I think that for the first time you want to do it hands-on, New England style (with all respect to merlot143's Chinese take). Let her get her hands dirty and see the whole process. Steaming lobster is dead easy... or you can get a pre-steamed lobbie at the SLM to bring home for tasting.

        Otherwise, I'd probably go the Red Lobster route too.

        And yeah(!!) for your adventurous progeny!!

        1. souschef RE: Vern Ryerse Jul 27, 2009 04:55 PM

          Have you considered just boiling or steaming a lobster at home? There are lots of Internet sites that tell you how to do it, including timing. This is the cheapest way, and if you screw up you can always try it again.

          I agree with staying away from Red Lobster.

          2 Replies
          1. re: souschef
            Toronto Fastfoodie RE: souschef Jul 27, 2009 05:08 PM

            I agree...sort of. It is the cheapest, freshest solution. Call City Fish on Dufferin. Great lobsters at great prices. And they will steam them for you and how to prepare them at home. Otherwise, Lobster Trap on Avenue Rd. Good quality and a good selections of sizes.


            1. re: Toronto Fastfoodie
              Tatai RE: Toronto Fastfoodie Jul 28, 2009 05:53 PM

              Re Lobster Trap, we've been going there occasionally for years and always had decent meals. The last time we went (about 6 weeks ago), however, the food -- especially the lobster -- was horrible. It will be a while before we return.

              The lobster bisque was very good, as usual, but the lobster -- both the steamed and the broiled versions -- were tough and very, very chewy. Very disappointing when you're in the mood for delicate lobster meat.

          2. p
            phoenikia RE: Vern Ryerse Jul 27, 2009 07:38 PM

            Take her to Starfish- they'll split the mostly 2lbish lobsters they serve between 2 people, if you ask- so your daughter wouldn't have to eat an entire lobster. Still comes in the shell, but they've cracked all the important spots, so it isn't too much work.

            Very fresh, perfectly cooked, and I think it came with frites.- worked out to about $56 for a 2 lb lobster- worth every penny. If I wanted to introduce a 7 year-old to lobster, that's where I would go.

            McCormick & Schmick's Seafood - Birmingham
            719 Shades Creek Parkway, Birmingham, AL 35209

            8 Replies
            1. re: phoenikia
              Crispy skin RE: phoenikia Jul 27, 2009 07:44 PM

              This person wants to take her 7 year old out for her first lobster and does not want to demolish a budget. 56 dollars is a bit much....no? Plus it is much fun to demolish your first lobster whole.

              1. re: Crispy skin
                phoenikia RE: Crispy skin Jul 27, 2009 07:46 PM

                I don't think so- I don't consider $56 to be demolishing a budget, but maybe that's just me. I consider the food at Starfish to be nice and straightforward, and reasonably priced given the quality.

                Plus, if you get the lobster split between 2 people, as I suggested, that works out to $28 each, just a bit more than you'd be paying for a single mediocre lobster at Red Lobster.

                1. re: phoenikia
                  Crispy skin RE: phoenikia Jul 27, 2009 07:59 PM

                  Ya it's just you, ;-) nobody else can afford it.... Anywho redlobster is a better bet and i have lots of kids and we like to get our own lobsters and pick them ourselves...It's more than 28 bucks each but we get to pick them and the biscuits are good and the restaurant atmosphere is ok. It's pretty hard to mediocre steam a lobster????

                  1. re: Crispy skin
                    phoenikia RE: Crispy skin Jul 27, 2009 08:04 PM

                    I don't know about that- I've had some pretty mediocre steamed lobster- at Red Lobster, as well as at non-chains.

                    I've gotten to the point where I'd rather have no lobster than eat seafood at Red Lobster, but I am the first person to admit I am finicky when it comes to seafood in Toronto.

                    Whatever floats your boat.

                    1. re: phoenikia
                      souschef RE: phoenikia Jul 27, 2009 08:34 PM

                      There's nothing wrong about being finicky when it comes to seafood; I am as well. I have had overcooked and undercooked lobster at high-end restaurants that should have known better.

                      My single visit to Red Lobster was uninspiring - everything was overcooked.

                      When eating lobster I like to suck on those skinny little legs to get all the meat out, and I love the liver and eggs. The shell is amazing too; it is all you need to make bisque - you do not need any lobster meat.

                      1. re: phoenikia
                        Atahualpa RE: phoenikia Jul 28, 2009 12:05 PM

                        I agree I would rather spend more money elsewhere than waste my money at Red Lobster.

                        My grandmother lived in Brantford and spent a chunk of her life before that in the Maritimes. So, whenever we visited in Brantford, we would end up at Red Lobster because it was the best you could do for seafood.

                        Well, I have therefore seen Red Lobster consistently over cook, boil (rather than steam), not properly drain, not properly crack, and otherwise ruin dozens of lobsters in my life. I have experienced similar atrocities to lobster at other Red Lobster locations on other occassions.

                        Don't do it.


                        The Lobster Trap on Avenue road looks a little more worn (definitely could do with a reno), but, it can correctly cook a lobster if you don't want to do it yourself.

                        Starfish is also reasonable if the slightly more upscale atmosphere doesn't pose a problem (depends on the kids and the parents).

                        Chinese is a great idea. Certainly cheap and the places suggested would definitely be less formal and open to a large group. And, I don't for a second believe there is anything about Canontese-Chinese food that is going to inherently put children off.

                        I'm as pale-skinned as the next guy or more. I sunburn in under 10 minutes in the summer; and I've been eating sushi since I was in a high chair and Chinese since before kindergarten.

                        Some children need up to 10 exposures to a new food before they readily accept it. In my opinion, the only appropriate response to children turning their noses up at dim sum is to go more frequently.

                        1. re: Atahualpa
                          phoenikia RE: Atahualpa Jul 28, 2009 12:57 PM

                          re: Chinese food / dim sum putting kids off, agree completely with Atahualpa

                          The parents' reaction (positive or negative) to a food has a huge impact on whether the kids are likely to make strange with it. I grew up spending most Sunday nights in a Chinese restaurant- so that was a treat for me, at least partly because it was a treat for my parents. Whereas, from a young age, I was warned to be wary of meatloaf in case less than optimal meat was used, and as a result, I've never had any desire to try meatloaf.

                        2. re: phoenikia
                          Crispy skin RE: phoenikia Jul 28, 2009 05:54 PM

                          I had the rainbow trout chefs special at Red Lobster for lunch today. The sauce was wonderfull and piled with shrimp on top. 13.75 good value.

                2. robgm RE: Vern Ryerse Jul 27, 2009 07:40 PM

                  does she want the whole lobster experience with head, claws etc? or just he flavour ( or lack of it) and want to try the meat (lobster roll or tail or claws?)

                  1. k
                    KevH RE: Vern Ryerse Jul 27, 2009 08:05 PM

                    Lobster Trap or Lobster Royale, both offer steamed lobster, halved and cracked. 1lb is reasonablely priced I thought, though with the price of the lobster so cheap, Lobster Trap's price remained the same. (last time I went, they gave us some "rebate" certificates, but I just went today and they didn't give me any).

                    I have not been to Lobster Royale up at Yonge and Steeles, but so far, I feel satisfied everytime I go to Lobster Trap at Avenue near York Mills for their lobster bisque and fresh lobster, the no fancy preparation for the lobster, just fresh, steamed lobsters.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: KevH
                      tfl_toronto RE: KevH Jul 27, 2009 09:04 PM

                      Agreed.Lobster Trap is a great suggestion. If you are ok with something a bit more expensive, I would strongly recommend House of Chan (Eglington and Bathurst). A hidden gem.

                      1. re: tfl_toronto
                        Toronto Fastfoodie RE: tfl_toronto Jul 28, 2009 11:18 AM

                        I too love House of Chan, but it is sooo not budget-friendly. Instead, wait 'till she decides she does like lobster and then treat her to House of Chan for a birthday or graduation or something. If you do decide to take her there, the lobsters start pretty big & they come with a lot of sides (salad, potatoes, and the best fried onions). I would share a 2 - 21/2lb.


                    2. oishiBear RE: Vern Ryerse Jul 27, 2009 09:22 PM

                      Just get them fresh from any supermarket "that sells fresh seafood". Diana seafood or T&T will do. Steam them or boil them at home, it's your preference whether to serve them with butter or not. You don't need fancy restaurants as long as you can get fresh ingredient.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: oishiBear
                        sumdumgoy RE: oishiBear Jul 28, 2009 05:25 AM

                        Luckily lobster is reasonably priced at the moment.

                        I would take the Chinese option over Dead Mobster any day.

                        Introducing Chowpuppies to lobster is a slippery slope leading to bankruptcy!

                        Just wait 'til your kid is in a fancy resto and says "I can't decide between the caviar, the langoustines, the oysters or the foie gras."

                        It's all very funny 'til the Visa bill comes in!

                        1. re: sumdumgoy
                          MiriamOttawa RE: sumdumgoy Jul 28, 2009 09:31 AM

                          sounds like my Dad kind of-he'd take us to "normal" restaurants and let us order anything off the menu.
                          Now that I'm "older",lol I can't afford to eat out that much-but thankfully I'm a good cook and used to work in a seafood restaurant.

                          If you want to do it cheaply, just go to a good fish store and get them to steam the lobster for you,then buy some butter,lemon,garlic? maybe and pick up some fancy side dishes somewhere nice also.
                          You could even have a nice picnic if it is not raining....

                          But don't forget the lobster crackers.
                          I was on a boat ride last year abd the birthday guests were serving crab legs and there was nothing to crack them with and no lemon......

                          Still good,but hard to crack w your hands,and messy.

                        2. re: oishiBear
                          FrankD RE: oishiBear Dec 28, 2009 05:19 PM

                          Really, any decent Asian supermarket, and many non-Asian markets, have live lobster that's inexpensive and, as many have suggested, very easy to cook. I live in Richmond Hill, and No Frills at 16 & Yonge, Longo's at Bathurst & Rutherford, and Price Chopper at Leslie and Major Mac all have live seafood tanks, besides the many Asian groceries. Right now, I believe they're about $8/lb, so 32 medium lobster should cost you about $25.

                          It's too bad corn on the cob isn't in season, but you can still get some clams, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and do a "Northern Ohio clambake" at home if you have a large wok or stockpot, and a couple of steamer baskets. You're supposed to use seaweed, but you can substitute salted spinach (and if you're going to an Asian market, I'd pick up some nori to throw in as well).

                          Then, rent "Annie Hall", and watch the scene where Woody and Diane Keaton cook lobsters together. After that, proceed to the kitchen, and have fun!

                          1. re: FrankD
                            FrankD RE: FrankD Dec 29, 2009 02:13 PM

                            Don't know how I missed that yesterday but that should read "2 medium lobster should cost you about $25". (To me, a medium lobster is about 1 1/2 lbs).

                        3. pinstripeprincess RE: Vern Ryerse Jul 28, 2009 11:35 AM

                          this is an interesting option and you should call ahead to find out if she can be out on their patio, but ultra supper club has $20 lobster mondays. good deal, reasonable quality lobster (they don't overcook it by any means but it's not the most sweet meat i've had), lots of butter to dip in, and a fun scene to boot. i think your 7yr old would get a huge kick out of it if they'll let her out there.

                          1. OnDaGo RE: Vern Ryerse Jul 28, 2009 12:23 PM

                            I would say Starfish, so she can also watch them shuck oysters.. plus if she does not like it they have great fries and other dishes she will love...

                            1. Squeakycheese RE: Vern Ryerse Jul 28, 2009 05:01 PM

                              Not sure, but I would guess Rodney's Oyster House would be a good option?

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Squeakycheese
                                1sweetpea RE: Squeakycheese Dec 28, 2009 12:04 PM

                                I was at House of Chan on Christmas Day and a 2-lb lobster cost $34.50. Considering all the side dishes that come with it, this is a pretty decent deal for restaurant lobster. With a child in tow, I'd consider ordering a 3-lb lobster and sharing it with him or her. There will be plenty to eat for 2.

                                1. re: 1sweetpea
                                  1sweetpea RE: 1sweetpea Dec 29, 2009 08:44 AM

                                  I take back what I said about House of Chan. After being charged $34.50 per 2-lb lobster on Christmas Day, I called my parents and suggested they go on their anniversary (2 days later). They went, and were charged $34.50 per pound, which, considering the price of lobsters right now, is outrageous!!! I don't want to mislead anyone on Chowhound. I feel terribly for sending my parents there. They could have bought pre-steamed lobsters at McEwan, which I consider a very expensive store, for $13.49 per pound.

                                  1. re: 1sweetpea
                                    phoenikia RE: 1sweetpea Dec 29, 2009 09:05 AM

                                    It sounded too cheap to be true for House of Chan. House of Chan is one of TO's more expensive steakhouses ;-)

                                    I'm not surprised that the lobsters cost $34.50 per pound at House of Chan. Lobster at Starfish and Rodney's is just under $30 per pound, which also is the going rate for lobster at APDC in Mtl, with most lobsters averaging 1.5-2lbs. The lobsters are flown in from the East Coast frequently, if not daily, so they cost much more than the aquarium lobsters from McEwan or T & T. They taste much better, too.

                                    1. re: phoenikia
                                      1sweetpea RE: phoenikia Dec 29, 2009 03:05 PM

                                      I know that we've paid $80 in the past for a 2-lb lobster at the House of Chan, but when I saw $34.50 on the bill, I just figured that it reflected the much lower price of lobsters per pound at the various grocery stores around town. I suppose we should count ourselves lucky that we got a free lobster (the charge of 2 @ $34.50 was not 2 lobsters, but 2 pounds), but I still feel badly for misleading my parents. I thought we were getting quite a deal that night. I must have been loopy from the $79 bottle of overpriced wine we quaffed while enjoying our uber-cheap lobsters.

                              2. m
                                maxxyp RE: Vern Ryerse Dec 29, 2009 12:06 AM

                                I remember 20 some years ago , my daughter in a high chair at the Lobster Trap, of course I ordered the kids fish and chips , for her. Someone offered a taste of their lobster , life has never been the same.

                                1. JamieK RE: Vern Ryerse Dec 29, 2009 04:21 AM

                                  Hey Vern - where'd you end up going with your daughter? And did she like the lobster?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: JamieK
                                    Vern Ryerse RE: JamieK Dec 29, 2009 04:33 PM

                                    we actually went to the keg on church back in the summer. they were running a special on lobster. so we now have a huge lobster fan in the fam, and my back account is suffering b/c of it!

                                    as always, much appreciate the great ch advice. happy 2010 all!

                                  2. Thatcher RE: Vern Ryerse Dec 29, 2009 05:58 AM

                                    Cook one at home and show here how it's done!

                                    If it's for a 7 year old, 1 lobster, some boiling water and melted (garlic) butter are all you need...

                                    Not only are you not blowing your brains out on resto prices for a 7 year old, you're providing a valuable lesson where food comes from - living things that die for you - and therefore, have some respect for what's on your plate...

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