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Reasonably priced live lobster in Boston

I have searched the boards but have not found any recommendations for this topic. I'm new to the city and I had sort of assumed that lobster would be cheaper here than in other cites but so far, I am not finding this to be the case. Would someone please recommend to me any location in Boston where I can buy decent quality live (or even recently killed) lobsters at a reasonable price? I can bike just about anywhere but proximity to downtown would be preferable.


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  1. What do you consider "reasonable"? In the downtown area, there's James Hook, and Yankee Lobster (which is a bit outside of downtown, near the Bank of America Pavillion)

    1 Reply
    1. re: mwk

      Around 6$ per pound would be reasonable, I think.

    2. Not sure if you could bike to it, but Market Basket has had some cheap lobsters in the past, sometimes as low as 4.99 a pound. I have been seeing them advertised at 5.99 lb recently on TV, but can't remember what store. J. Hook is nice and all, but they can be very expensive, like $10 a pound, so go figure.

      24 Replies
      1. re: devilham

        Shaw's\Star Market had chix for $5.99 and selects at $7.99. I'm guessing soft shelled.

        1. re: CapeCodGuy

          And Shaw's will even cook them for you.

          1. re: Angel Food

            As of tonight, chix were down to $3.99 a lb at the Packards Corner Star!

            1. re: Jenny Ondioline

              I'll be stopping by tonight. I bike past here on my way back from work. BTW, what are chix?

              1. re: The Chemist

                A lobster that is around 1 1/2 lbs are referred to as chicken lobsters, and tend to run cheaper

                1. re: The Chemist

                  In the decades I've been buying lobsters - both in New England, New York, & Virginia - "Chix" or "Chicken" lobsters are small 1-pounders, or under 1-1/4 pounds. Everything 1-1/4 pounds & heavier are just plain lobsters.

                  1. re: Bacardi1

                    I stand corrected (to be honest, I have seen many a 1 1/2 lb or smaller referred as such), but after some research, bacardi1 does seem to be on the more correct side of the issue, though the fact remains that it is a size classification, and even if I got the specs wrong, I think it st least clarified why they are called chix

                  2. re: The Chemist

                    Don't bother. Both of the $3.99/lb chicks are gone. 1-1/2 lb and up are 7.99/lb. A good deal if hard shelled, but no way to tell.

                    1. re: eatntell

                      Soft shell have more orange color and are smoother, hard shell have more green and the older hard shells have more texture.

              2. re: CapeCodGuy

                To follow up, had a couple for dinner tonight and not only were they very lively, they were actually hard shelled.

                1. re: CapeCodGuy

                  I read an article recently, can't remember where unfortunately, that said that lobsters were molting much earlier this year for whatever reason(s). Climate, perhaps? I was reminded of this when cracking lobsters for dinner from Captain Marden's a couple of weeks back that were the hardest shells I think I have ever come across. Very delicious, albeit a little pricy at $7.99 /lb for chicken lobsters.

                  1. re: Chicken with a Capon

                    Are harder shells better? We don't get he soft shelled ones where I come from but I have heard in the past that people prefer the meat from the soft shelled guys. Is this not the case?

                    1. re: The Chemist

                      "Chix" or chicken lobsters, weigh between 1-1 1/4 pounds and are always the cheapest size, except when culls are available (lobsters that are missing one claw). "Selects" are usually 1 1/2 - 3 lbs. Over 3 lbs. is a jumbo.

                      All lobsters molt, or shed their shell as they mature to grow into a larger shell. During this process which happens when the water get warmer in spring and summer, the shells get soft, thus the name. Which is better, soft or hard, is a matter of great debate. Some say the meat from a "shedder", or soft shelled, is more tender and sweet. Others prefer hard shells, as the meat has a tendency to shrink and get a bit mushy in a soft shell, especially in the claws during molting season. Those that prefer hard shelled (me included) prefer the firmer texture and the fact that there is a better meat to shell ratio because of the lack of shrinkage of the meat.

                      1. re: CapeCodGuy

                        I curse the soft shells, when the claws are half full of water and the claw meat is more like pudding.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          Hmmm, that does not sound appetizing.

                        2. re: CapeCodGuy

                          Great explanation.

                          I prefer hard shelled ones for the reason you mentioned: "a better meat to shell ratio". It really annoys me when I crack open a soft shelled's claw only to find the liquid gushing out and the meat is like from a crayfish. (OK, I exaggerated.) The shell and liquid inside amount to most of the weight, which I paid for.

                          I guess that's why lobster sales typically occur in spring and summer when the soft shelled are abundant. I get what I pay for :-)

                          As an aside, I read that it takes about 7 years for a lobster to grow to be a chick. Yet they never seem to be over harvested. In recent years there have been record harvests, resulting in some outstanding sales in NH, Maine, etc.


                          1. re: CapeCodGuy

                            For me, the best part of a lobster (or crab) is the greenish tomalley and red/orange roe. There are cautions about consuming them, but I only live once.


                            While tomalley is in every lobster, not so the roe. Is there a way to identify lobsters that have roes?

                            1. re: eatntell

                              Sort of. Only females have ro, so you have to be able to determing the lobsters sex. At the base of the tail, where it connects to the abdomen, you will see a small set of what looks like more legs, but much smaller. If the legs are thick and hard, you have a male, if they are light and feathery, female. While not all females will have ro, absolutely no males have it, so I would say that's the best way of figuring that out

                              1. re: devilham

                                Thanks. But it will be difficult to id them in a tank, or ask someone to show me one at a time. I wonder how a restaurant would react if I request a female.

                                BTW, is it roe, or ro?

                                1. re: devilham

                                  The coral (or roe) is the unfertilized eggs of a female lobster, so virtually all females have coral.

                                  Egg bearing or berried lobsters are protected and it is illegal in Canada and the US to land or to sell them. They are released after their right tail flipper is notched to identify them as protected breeders. Photos courtesy of google.

                                  Recipes for baked stuffed lobster and lobster stock often call for the coral. If you like the coral or tail meat (females have a wider tail than males), just ask for females whereever you buy your lobster. And if you want mostly roe and tomalley, ask for female culls!

                                  Other people dislike the coral or prefer the bigger claws of males and ask for males.

                                  1. re: azra

                                    Thanks for the tips. Female culls sounds like a great idea.

                                    The roe I found were all inside, not the black berries on the outside as shown in the pictures.

                                2. re: eatntell

                                  I am a very adventurous eater but tomalley is something that I have never gotten used to.

                                  1. re: eatntell

                                    I can't get to yor link on this puter..so sorry if I'm repeating. I do have a lobster permit and they recommend against eating the tomalley; especially if you're very young, old or have compromised immune systems. I'm none of the above and much enjoy eating the tomaley. Roe or the coral is fine to eat but if there is roe all outside the shell, it's illegal to take the lobster.

                                  2. re: CapeCodGuy

                                    I completely agree with you re: the soft shedder lobsters. Have gotten them a couple of times & they were awful. Watery, mushy meat - & not a lot of it.

                                    Luckily, I do now have a great seafood guy at our local Wegmans market, & he never lets me end up with a soft-shell. :)

                        3. I assume that you are not near a Restaurant Depot or a Market Basket, so I would try one of the Asian Supermarkets in Boston, I believe that they usually sell lobsters cheaper than the local fish markets.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: bakerboyz

                            How are the lobsters at Restaurant Depot? Cheaper than Yankee Lobster or PJs? Is there a minimum quantity or bulk/case price?

                            1. re: azra

                              No minimum quantity at RD and I have not checked the price recently but it is almost always less expensive than supermarkets except when supermarkets are having sales.

                          2. $6.99 a lb for this 13.5 lb bad boy. My cousin and I split the cost as a present for fathers day for my dad and uncle. 10 lbs of steamers too. Don't let anyone tell you the big ones are tough. Total B.S. This was delicious. Seawitch, Rt 1, Peaboby.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: hhookk

                              Guessing that's not bikable from downtown =D

                              1. re: The Chemist

                                I don't think you would want to bike across the street with that beast in tow!

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  I wonder how old that Lobster must have been?

                              2. re: hhookk

                                Yah, the whole big ones are tough thing is silly.

                                1. re: hhookk

                                  That is not a legal lobster from New England waters. The carapace must be way over 5 inches.
                                  Maybe from Canada? Shame that it was taken.

                                  1. re: hhookk

                                    I agree. While I've never had a 13.5 pounder, I have purchased 4-pounders in the past, & they've always been tender & delicious (I boil them). Regardless of size - & like practically everything else - you simply have to be sure you don't overcook them.

                                    1. re: Bacardi1

                                      Most restos that feature giant lobsters - The Palm chain and the defunct Rosewood Grill in Las Vegas come to mind - source them from Nova Scotia. My brother in Vermont teases me with photos of his 7 pounders with some frequency. I'm getting my share of the last of the season's hard shells here in Texas, but with an ouch factor @$12/lb. Nice boiled 2 pounder last night, the other for lobster salad tonight.

                                  2. Kam man is quite reasonable

                                    Stop and Shop was 5.99 last time I checked ... (3 or 4 weeks ago)

                                    1. This past weekend I bought 4 lobsters from Johnnies Foodmaster and they were delicious. They were also huge -3-5 pounders. Hard shells, packed full of meat, no empty shells. Thinking about going back for more this week before the $5.99 pp ends.

                                      I cooked them myself but they will also steam them for you.

                                      15 Replies
                                      1. re: MeffaBabe

                                        Just got back from my local Stop and Shop and they had $5.99 all sizes, so even though I had a couple of chix last night, I couldn't resist picking up a couple of 3 pounders for tonight. And they are hard shells.

                                        1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                          I'm like you - I ALWAYS buy extras when there's a good sale. I mean, how can you have too much lobster? Lol! I just cook 'em up with the ones we'll be enjoying that night, & then pick them out the following day to use in Lobster Rolls, Lobster Salad, Lobster Fra Diavolo over pasta, Lobster Bisque, Paella - you name it. The possibilities for nice freshly-cooked lobster meat are endless.

                                          1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                            Which "local Stop and Shop"? There is no lobster sale in the Boston circular.


                                            1. re: eatntell

                                              Sorry, just saw this. It was my closest local store which is in Hyannis. Stopped in today, and they were back to $9.99 for chix, and $11.99 for selects. I have no idea if it was a chain wide deal or a Cape only one, or even a manager's special for that store only. I'm guessing it was in response to the Shaw's sale, which has ended, which is right next door.

                                              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                Lucky you. The S&S around Boston don't even have seafood counters any more, let alone lobster tanks.

                                                1. re: eatntell

                                                  Somerville Super Stop and Shop on 38 has a seafood counter.

                                                  1. re: Small Plates

                                                    Oddly enough, the Mission Hill S&S, which is otherwise small and poorly stocked, also has a proper fresh seafood counter, although it doesn't have much variety. But the Super S&S in Allston doesn't have anything but prepackaged seafood, and most of the other S&S locations I've been to are similarly afflicted.

                                                    1. re: Allstonian

                                                      Our Super S&S in Somerville is no New Deal by a long shot - but we have enjoyed delicious Atlantic Salmon ($6.99/lb), cod loin ($7.99/lb), frozen - but delicious - Alaskan King Crab leg ($13.99/lb), and dry scallops ($13.99/lb) all regularly. I do not eat swordfish (for a variety of reasons) but it always looks good.

                                                      1. re: Small Plates

                                                        the stop and shop AND shaws by russos both have seafood counters so i am surprised some dont. but if you are in that neighborhood i would suggest patronizing the small fish place in nonantum ( STEAMERS, i beilieve) if one must buy fish. slighty more expensive but then, i eat as little fish as possible.

                                                  2. re: eatntell

                                                    Lol...now it's even luckier me, as the Cape finally has it's first Market Basket, so I can kiss lousy Stop & Shop with their crap quality, worse attitude, and high prices goodbye! Stopped into MB today and they have lobsters as an in-store special at $4.99 up to 1 3/4 lbs but he admitted they were all soft shells. I purchased a nice fresh wild cod filet for $7.99 lb. and fresh farm raised Nova Scotia salmon for $6.99. (They had wild fresh sockeye for $9.99) I'm a BIG fan of Market Basket now.

                                                    1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                      I like MB's seafood better than those at S&S and Shaw's. In particular, salmon on sale ($6.99/lb now) at Shaw's are always thin pieces (thickest part less than 1") and sickly looking. They don't smell or taste fresh.

                                                      I look for thick pieces (1.5" and over) for pan seared: golden crusty on the outside and still rare inside. This recipe is so simple and quick even I can get it right, every time.


                                                      1. re: eatntell

                                                        Then you would love the piece I bought at Stop and Shop in Somerville yesterday for $6.99/lb - thick, fresh, and I cannot wait to make it tonight with just a miso glaze... !! <3

                                                        1. re: eatntell

                                                          Foul! Linking to a pay site. Shame!!!

                                                          1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                            I'm aware of "We do not permit message board postings that advertise or publicize anything -- including good causes and non-profit events." in the Posting Etiquette. If linking to a pay site is not allowed, I stand corrected and will go to the penalty box. But the rule could have been better clarified.

                                                            I'm a big Test Kitchen fan, but dislike their pay site. I get their recipes from books and dvds.

                                                            1. re: eatntell

                                                              I have no idea regarding the rules. It's just bad form to provide a link to those who go there, only to find that one has to pay to see the info that the poster is declaring, "This is great!....."

                                                              I'm sure you had no ill intentions.