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Where to buy fresh lobster tail in Queens

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Hi, first I want to say that I'm not used to cooking much but I want to make really special and romantic surprise homemade dinner for my girlfriend tonight, it's her birthday today. I wanted to make lobster but I'm not sure how I feel about putting a live lobster in a pot of boiling water and neither one of is is very experienced with eating lobster so I know we would have a hard time getting to the lobster meat. So I figured that making lobster tails would be a lot easier to handle [although I am still considering just making a lobster].

Is there any place in Queens where I can get some good fresh lobster tails today? I read of a seafood market in Astoria and I know there a bunch in Flushing Chinatown (but since I'm not every familiar with how to tell the difference between the best seafood I'm not sure if I want to go there).

Or maybe I should just go ahead and make the whole lobster. If I do make a whole lobster do I need one or two? I was also thinking of making shrimp with the meal since it seems to also be easy to make.

Another question, what would go well with the meal? I can easily make steamed little potatoes and I know she likes that but I'm not sure if it goes well with the seafood I plan to make.

Thanks in advance for any help.

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  1. I don't think you can get fresh lobster tail anywhere, They come from Rock Lobsters which are found in South African waters. They are not the tails from North Atlantic lobsters. If you want fresh, get the real thing.

    1. You can't buy fresh lobster tails. callado4 is right. How could you keep them fresh in a store after cutting the tails off?

      If you get a large lobster you can share it. They are as sweet as small ones (if they come fromMaine) and there is more meat to the shell. I'm talking about 2 1/2 to 3 pound lobster.

      1. Thanks bobjbkln and lenorel57. So any suggestions as to where to get a good lobster in Queens?

        1. As bobj says, you really can't get fresh lobster tails. Lobster tails come from the spiny lobster which are generally from warm waters like the Caribbean. They have no claws and meat is concentrated in the tails so those are often sold frozen. Any non-frozen tails you find will have been previously frozen. The homarus americanus is the typical lobster you will find live in markets. You can find these frozen and pre-cooked at times but they're not good in that state. I've never seen fresh tails for sale. If you're squeamish about doing lobster-o-cide (as my wife calls it), you might ask the fish monger to kill the lobsters for you. This is done by taking a knife and splitting the head in half to kill it. At that point, you could take it home and split the lobster and use if for a grilled dish or some kind of soup or mixed seafood dish. I would not recommend boiling it if the head has been split as I think you will lose a lot of the flavor in the water. The split lobster is much easier to eat though.

          If you want steamed lobster, then you're going to have to buy it alive. Need one per person if you get the standard 1 1/4 lb lobster. If you are buying a 2+ lb-er, you may be able to get away with one. Get a large pot of salted water to a roiling boil, drop them in and close the top and leave the room if the noise bothers you. Throw in those red potates and some ears of corn (though it will be hard to get any good corn now in december) too. When you can pull one of the legs out, the lobster is done.

          Now the eating part. Some like lobster with drawn butter. I prefer nothing but a squeeze of lemon. Here's how I eat one. Pull the legs off one by one and suck out the bit of meat. You can break the legs at each joint. Then pull off the claws and break apart at each joint and pull nuggets of meat out. I prefer to use kicthen shears to nut crackers for this as its easier and much less messy. Cut open the claws and extract the claw meat. Firmly grasp front half of lobster in one hand and then grab tail in other hand and pry apart at the middle. If you're into it, now use a spoon to scoop out tomalley (the green stuff) and roe (the red stuff) from the head and eat it. Finally grasp the tail tightly in hand and take a fork a shove it into the underside of the shell at the very base of the tail just above the flaps at the end of the tail. There's a soft spot there. Push the fork and the tail section will pop out in one piece. Enjoy!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Bkeats

            Thanks for the informative post Bkeats. So then I can just put the potatoes and corn together with the lobster when steaming? I usually steam the potatoes by baking them in the oven wrapped in aluminum foil.

            1. re: callado4

              In a typical new england lobster dinner, the potatos can be boiled or steamed, not usually baked. If you want to boil them separately from the lobster, you should use enough salt so that when you take the potatos out, there's almost a thin coating of salt left when the water evaporates. You can use the butter for these. The classic meal would have chowder, clams on the 1/2 shell, lobster, potatos and corn folllowed with a big slice of watermelon.

            2. re: Bkeats

              You know so much about lobster. Do you know a restaurant which serves wonderful lobster??? I never eat lobster except when I'm in Maine. I'm talking about plain, steamed lobster.

              1. re: lenorel57

                Sadly, the meal I've described is not quite the same in NYC. I've had lobster many times dining out in the city, but the preparation is different and usually much more fanciful. Had it at Bernardin a little while ago. Very nice, but not the same as a new england meal. You don't need to go as far as Maine to have a great lobster dinner. I spend a lot of time in the Shoreline area of CT. My favorite place to go there is Lenny's Indian Neck Inn in Branford. Its about a 2 hour drive. On the way, you can stop at the Lobster Shack for a great lobster roll made with butter.

            3. Fish shops often will cook the lobster for you for a couple dollars more.
              Here is a list of Queens seafood shops - the comments on the first shop in Astoria say that they will cook your purchase for you.
              http://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=seafo...

              And Fairway in Douglaston sells both live lobsters and lobster tails.

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              Fairway Market
              242-02 61st Ave, Queens, NY 11362

              Astoria Seafood
              37-10 33rd St, Queens, NY 11101

              1. As everyone said, there are no fresh lobster tails. But there are plenty of places to buy lobster in Queens. Any of the Asian markets will carry lobster, not just in Flushing but in Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside, etc. Their prices are always better than other markets. You don't have to know much. They have to be alive, period. Go to an Asian market that is very busy, and has a really packed tank. That means the place must have a good turnover, and you are less likely to get one that's been sitting in the tank a few weeks. I'd say how many to get depends on appetite. 1.25-2 lbs, get an individual lobster. To split between 2 people, don't get one less than 3 lbs. people with big appetites can get a 2.25-2.5 lb lobster for themselves. I always ask for a female- the tails are bigger, and they may have roe, which is delicious.

                1. If you never cooked a lobster, maybe consider getting some cooked takeout lobster. London Lennies on Woodhaven Blvd has a great selection of lobsters every day and they do a great job on takeout orders. Otherwise they do sell them live. My father is a chef and I watched him deal with lobsters all the time. It seems like too much work. Most of the time he split them in half while still alive. It's not for the faint of heart.

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                  London Lennie's
                  63-88 Woodhaven Blvd, Queens, NY 11374