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Jun 20, 2012 01:34 PM

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 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)