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May 27, 2012 10:22 AM

Maine Lobster at 99 Ranch

Good price on live Maine Lobsters at 99 Ranch in Richmond. $7.99 / lb. Same as the current price for live crab. A new item I noticed was live Stone Crab for $3.99/lb. They recently installed new fish tanks and improved their mollusk presentation as well.

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  1. Gave the whole store a new look overall

    1. Do they have any lobster weighing less than 3 pounds?

      8 Replies
      1. re: wolfe

        I didn't look very closely ..... I would imagine so but not sure. You could try calling ?

        1. re: gordon wing

          Probably easier to go look. They usually have such monsters or the tank is made of magnifying glass

          1. re: wolfe

            Lobster is definitely something where bigger is not better. Years ago at a family reunion, my big brother,a real showboater ,made a big deal of having a nine pounder shipped in from our old home port of Massachusetts, and it was one of the toughest things (not just lobster,but anything) I have ever eaten. It would have been much better if he had gotten 6 "chickens" (under a pound and a half).

            1. re: little big al

              That's why I asked and my trip today suggests we are talking 3-4 pounds plus. Claws as big as my hand.

              1. re: wolfe

                3-4 lbs is surprisingly not tough. I had always heard that it would be but we had one prepared at one of the Chinese rests in El Cerrito and it was nice. That said, I wish they would just release the really big ones and let them live out their lives since they're not tasty. A 9 pounder is supposedly ~40yo!

                1. re: rubadubgdub

                  I wonder if the reports of tough lobster are based on cooking method rather than age. The big one we had was cooked Cantonese style which involves hacking up the fellow when he is live. They do develop very thick shells as they get older so you need to be handy w a cleaver. I could imagine that trying to boil the whole lobster might produce different results.

                2. re: wolfe

                  Yeah -- got one two and a half pounds last week. Counter man said it was the smallest he could find. I prefer a bit smaller, but it was still pretty tasty.

                  1. re: teleme

                    2.5 lbs is the perfect size, IMO. Big enough to pick the bodies but still sweet & tender.

        2. Does anyone know if Ranch 99 will steam the lobster for you at the store? Or if there are other supermarkets that do this (like many stores do in New England)

          6 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              How does it come out? (Texture, etc.)

              1. re: lmnopm

                I have no idea. I wouldn't do that to a lobster.

            2. re: Dave MP

              markets that do that (steam for you) always (imo) over-cook it, so while you off-load the murder issues around lobster prep, you are left w/ a rubbery dinner. not a good trade-off (again, imo).

              1. re: sundeck sue

                that has been my experience too at Ranch 99, so after the first time I've never had them steam anything for me.

              2. re: Dave MP

                I'm hoping to make lobster rolls, so that's why I'm interested in already-steamed. But I could potentially do it myself, too.

                Or, are there any seafood place on Mission Street that might be able to steam them?

              3. FYI - the "stone crab" in the OP is almost certainly the red rock crab local to these waters, which has a reputation of being somewhat less sweet than Dungeness. There'd be no point in taking Florida stone crabs whole since only the claw is eaten (and the rest of the crab is thrown back to regenerate a new one).

                2 Replies
                1. re: bigwheel042

                  I bought two nice lobsters today - 2 came to 3.75 lbs - perfect size. Boiled at home - dee-lish.

                  1. re: bigwheel042

                    I bought some red rock crabs from the pier in Princeton (HMB) and they were delicious, sweeter than dungeness and cheaper than dungeness, somewhat less meat per crab but overall fantastic. Highly recommended.

                  2. This weekend only Mollie Stones has whole lobsters (live) for $9.99 / lb. and cooked for $11.99 / lb. They say the average size is 1.25 lbs.

                    I am probably going to try them, and will report back.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Dave MP

                      The cooked lobsters at Mollie Stone's are only available cold, so we ended up buying 4 live lobsters. We boiled them, then took out the meat, and made delicious Connecticut style lobster rolls - just lobster and butter on a toasted, buttery bun.

                      Some things to note:

                      1) The lobsters were from Maine, and had pretty soft shells. We barely even needed the cracker tool, which I also bought at Mollie Stone's.

                      2) Split top New England style buns seem to be unavailable in SF. These are buns that are flat and white on each side, with the split at the top. I checked at both Safeway and Mollie Stone's to no avail. We had to cut off the sides of buns in order to get flat surfaces to toast w/ butter.

                      3) 4 lobsters, each weighing 1.25 lbs, cost $50 and was enough for 6 good sized lobster rolls, which fed 3 people.

                      Not sure how much longer the lobster sale is going may already be over. But maybe Ranch 99 is still a good option. With lobsters at these prices, it's worth doing this little project at home!

                      Dave MP

                      1. re: Dave MP

                        I've purchased the proper buns from Old Port Lobster Shack in RWC. They don't really sell them retail but if they have enough on hand, they'll sell you a pkg. They have them specially made by a local bakery. How much meat do you think you got out of each soft shell?

                        1. re: Dave MP

                          Somebody's baking split-top rolls for Old Port Lobster Shack, Woodhouse, and a few other lobster-roll specialty places. Might be wholesale-only.

                          1. re: Dave MP

                            The Mollie Stone's sale ended on Sunday. I'm glad we took advantage--it was a fun (and very messy!) dinner-party activity to crack open lobster shells together and discuss the David Foster Wallace essay from Gourmet.

                            Lobster was good quality--very sweet.