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Aug 31, 2011 02:36 AM

Lots of lobster in Boston?


I'm looking for a restaurant where I can eat a lot of really fresh steamed lobster in Boston. Most important would be food quality, with respect to presentation I almost don't care: This meal is about eating lobster, and steaming lobster does not really require a three star chef. In fact some fish market location cool be really cool, as long as the freshness is impeccable.

Bonus question: Is there a taste difference between smaller and bigger lobsters?


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  1. Assuming that "lots" also carries the corollary of "for few dollars," $4.99/lb sitting on the curb in the Market Basket parking lot! ;-)

    Maybe Alive n Kickin' in Cambridge, if that counts as "Boston."

    Anyone know if Courthouse will cook lobsters for the same $2/lb surcharge as fish?

    More info in recent threads, like this one:

    Courthouse Fish Market
    484 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

    Alive And Kicking Lobsters
    269 Putnam Avenue, Cambridge, MA

    1 Reply
    1. re: emannths

      Well, of course if I get good quality for a few dollars I'm game :) but other than that price is not terribly important, so $4.99/lb is as good as $5.99/lb or $9.99, just not $19.99 ;-)

    2. Shaws at the pru. Take em back to your hotel or have a picnic on the Charles! I'm sure there must be a microwave in the food service area that can melt a stick of butter if you find that important.

      In my experience a chicken lobster has a more tender tail. A larger lobster has more satisfying claws. Hard shell and soft shell is a whole other debate. Bottom line is you want to go to a place that has good turnaround. You want that lobster lively when it is plucked from the tank, with only a short visit to the tank before heading off to the pot.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Bellachefa

        I disagree; I've eaten 5 pounders and the tail is just as tender. In fact I think it is one of the biggest lobster myths that the big ones are not as good. The key is that if the place doesn't do volume, and that monster has been in the tank for a month it might get flabby, but big bugs are every bit as good as little ones, AND on really big ones, the tiny little legs have huge amounts of the most amazing tender meat. Big bugs = good bugs I swear.

        (Can't tell you how many times I've posted this...)

        Also other places for Copious lobster at great prices:

        I know Great Taste Bakery in Chinatown and Jo Jo Taipei in Allston typically do twin lobster for <$20 and execution at both place is great.

        JoJo Tai Pei Restaurant
        103 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

        Great Taste Bakery & Restaurant
        63 Beach St, Boston, MA

        1. re: StriperGuy

          I totally agree. Big one are as good as little ones, only more of it. Just don't over cook them.
          Enjoy The Big Ones,

          1. re: CocoDan

            And I too agree that a big buggah can be as delicious as a little buggah, but it is all in the execution of cooking the large lobsters. It really is no different then a young calf or a young chicken compared to an older lamb or hen. Many people do not cook them proper.
            And really, cut the crap with this big is better argument. They are different, just as hard and soft shell are different. All have their possitive attributes, so no reason to bring it on at me.

            As far as Legals, the one time I had a companion order lobster, they brushed the shell with butter so it would look pretty? Big money there and a waste of $ in my opinion.

            1. re: Bellachefa

              Uh no.

              It's not like cows or chickens at all.

              Small young chickens are tender, old fowl are TOUGH. Same is true for veal as opposed to say dairy cows that have been milking for a year or more. Your comparison is not relevant.

              The big ones ARE better because there is more meat per pound and it is more accessible. If you have ever eaten the leg meat on a really big one you will know what I am talking about.

              Pound for pound you get way more meat, and it is equally tender, with a big bug. Period. And soft shells are flabby with less meat per pound of shell. In addition the meat tends to be on the flabby side. If you like softies knock yourself out. I don't particularly care for them

              And the old saw about big lobsters being tougher is just plain not true. Talk to a lobsterman if don't believe me. I know I have.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                StriperGuy knows of what he speaks. 100% agree. Pound for pound - I will take a bigger lobster every time because you can access and use ALL of the meat -- in a small lobster, you end up tossing some of the meat because it is just too difficult to get it out or when you do get to it it is the tiniest bit of meat that you are sorry you wasted the time. In a big bug, it is simple to get it out and worth the effort. It is also tender and tasty. I would stick with the hard-shell lobsters every time. Soft lobsters though are frequently a deal, just are not the firm and super pristine consistency of the hard-shell lobsters. I would not forgo eating them all together but if I had a choice - I would go for the hard shell every time.

              2. re: Bellachefa

                Just for the record, I apologize for my adamant tone, but honestly I think I lot of people are a bit afraid of big lobsters. I can't tell you how many times over the years I've heard people on chowhound express this. Oooh, big lobsters are bad.

                IMHO they are actually better. More edible, gettable meat per pound of lobster, period. Particularly in the smaller spindly legs, which are largely inaccessible in a smaller lobster. In a real big one, each of those legs is like a tail in it's own. Very sweet, delicate, almost crab-like meat.

                The tail may be a little coarser, particularly if you overcook it. If you cut across the grain and don't over cook, even the tail, in my book, is just as good (better) than a small one.

                My primary motivation in ranting is the shear number of times (dozens literally) I've seen people on chowhound post about "big lobsters being tough and bad."

                IMHO that opposite is true. In fact, IMHO bigger lobsters are in fact better.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    When I was a child, back in the 60s, my parents had several old friends who were divers and occasionally caught lobsters. I remember dinner feasts with 7- to 10-pound lobsters, and yes, they were really good! And as you say, one of the biggest treats was those big guys having legs that were actually large enough for it to be worthwhile getting the meat out.

            1. re: Scharn

              yankee lobster is just fine - alive n kickin is just fine - captain mardens in wellesley is excellent and will steam them for you - you can call ahead to yankee or captain marden's and they'll steam them and have them waiting or you can eat them at the restaurants there - courthouse is also fine - really all those will have reliably fresh lobsters

              1. re: teezeetoo

                can you comment on legal seafood?: they seem to have a lot of locations, last time i was quite annoyed by the constant intrusions of their waitresses but the food seemed OK, didnt have lobster though.

                1. re: Scharn

                  You seemed to be interested in good value.

                  Legal's is the opposite of that.

                  1. re: tysonmcneely

                    wow really, i kinda remember it as a very mc donald's-ish chain type of operation, but that was years ago, so maybe they are fancy now, or maybe they are just an overpriced chain

                    1. re: Scharn

                      A steamed or boiled lobster is going to be overpriced at just about any typical restaurant. The place to have them is at super-casual places or at home.

              2. re: Scharn

                A few weeks ago, I got 3/4 lb of lobster meat to go along with some chowder. The meat was horrible...very bland like it had been sittitannin the case for a long time and sitting in an excessive amount of water in the container. The chowder was gritty. This was my first and last time going there. I've gotten really good meat at Alive and Kickin in Cambridge. Nice people too.

                1. re: catsmeow

                  Just wondering since you didn't say is that Legal's or yankee you got the gritty chowder and bland lobster meat?

                  1. re: lc02139

                    That reply looks like it was about Yankee Lobster - if you click on the re:[postername] in the upper right corner of a reply post it shows you exactly which post the reply was made to.

                    1. re: BobB

                      Yes. It was Yankee Lobster.

                      Yankee Lobster
                      300 Northern Ave, Boston, MA

                      1. re: catsmeow

                        The OP asked specifically about steamed lobster. While I love Alive 'n Kickin, as my post said, I have never had a bad steamed lobster at Yankee Lobster. I've never eaten the chowder or bought lobster meat. Just steamed lobster and steamers.

                        Yankee Lobster
                        300 Northern Ave, Boston, MA

              3. If you take a minute to search there are plenty of recent threads about what you seek (here is one There are also copious discussions to be found on Legals.

                1. Shoot. Just head to the Nordic Lodge in Connecticut for AYCE lobster (and a bunch of other stuff, too).

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: L2k

                    Never heard of that place - what's it like? Looks a little...scary....

                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                      Especially scary since the Phantom boys pump it constantly.

                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                        It is actually in Rhode Island, not that hard to get to...
                        Nordic Lodge

                        Nordic Lodge
                        178 E Pasquiset Trail, Charlestown, RI 02813

                      2. re: L2k

                        Careful, they put you on a 2 hour time limit.

                        1. re: treb

                          I've wondered about Nordic Lodge for years. Has anyone actually been there to report on? I don't know.....$82? I can put away alot of lobster, but I'll bet I can't even eat $82 worth via ordering individual dinners at Legal's or Summer Shack...........!!!

                          Summer Shack
                          310 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                          1. re: Science Chick

                            Amen Science Chick. Given the location and price, how do they stay in business???

                            I can knock back a 2 pounder with enormous satisfaction, but don't see the value at Nordic Lodge since anything more then that is obsene. Plus, buffets give me the shivers! How do they stay in business>>>>>

                            1. re: Bellachefa

                              "How do they stay in business>>>>>"

                              I hate to say this - but I think that a lot of our citizens are gluttons! (can I say this as an almost-former fatty?) The idea of eating until you can't push anymore food into your stomach is repulsive - and all the buffets I've ever tried are just plain awful. I like the idea, because as someone who often dines alone, it gives me a chance to try more of a variety of dishes than I usually would.

                              However, I've always ended up eating way more than I should & sorely disappointed in the quality of the food.

                              Now with lobsters - it's such a rare treat, the idea (once again!) sounds so tempting - that is, until one thinks about the $82 price tag - along with the 2 hr limit! Gosh, I normally love to take my time - and that's with a small amount of food!

                              1. re: threedogs

                                Good point threedogs. I have never been to the Nordic Lodge, but since reading this thread had two friends mention that they had been there (I did not bring it up) and one claimed to have eaten 7 lobsters and the other something like 13 lobsters in one go. They both seemed pretty psyched on the place. I imagine it might also have been cheaper in the past.

                                1. re: threedogs

                                  The time limit really doesn't come into play. They don't take reservations (unless you're a bus, in which case they have bus times before "general opening", or at least that's the way it used to be), so you may have to wait an hour to get in. If the weather is good, the grounds are very nice to hang out. Buffet lines are short, the staff keeps your beverage full and your shell bucket empty, and you'll be more than full and ready to leave in 75-90 minutes.

                                  I've done this place 3 times, never more than once in 2 years. Been with one friend who did 9 lobsters one of those times. Price was $65 (inclusive of tax/tip) last time I was there, which seemed high, but not totally out of line.

                                  Good place to go with a bachelor party and/or in conjunction with one of the casinos.

                                  And of course not as tasty as Belle Isle, but the question asked about "lots", and this place is in the encyclopedia under "lots of lobster"

                              2. re: Science Chick

                                Agree, I went once decades ago as a guest of a friend, not worth a dime to me. Aside of lobster, everything else is steam table meh. I'd rather get a lobster roll at Belle Isle for under $20. and be totally satisfied.