Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Apr 25, 2014 02:04 PM

Belle Isle Gouge Job

This so called worldwide lobster shortage "temporarily" impacting their prices has been going on for over a year now. They could at least print a new flyer if they don't want to change the prices on their erasable wall menu. They should have stayed in the old location of this is what they need to do to make the new larger space work. Perhaps they count on the fact that more of their business than before treks from Boston and other locations, and will pay the up charge after taking the time to get there. I stopped on the way back from the airport and paid their price. I won't be back though. Also, the roll had too much mayo, more than in the past.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. bl, i know nothing of this world wide lobster shortage. I just remember getting lobster last year, before summer, when MB prices were wicked low, and there was much concern about maine lobster industy suffering badly because of those low prices.. So I am confused. What's the deal?

    1. wow, that is up almost 15% just over last year. I went almost exactly a year ago to the day and posted this here after my visit (was your bun buttered by the way?):

      I took advantage of yesterday's perfect spring day to make my first ever trip to Belle Isle Seafood for their lobster roll. I never made it to their old location so I have nothing to compare the new location to.

      The lobster roll (comes with fries) and drink came to about $23 which is on the higher end for a counter service shack style place. There was a ton of meat in the roll, however which made the value acceptable. Mostly tail and claw meat with a tiny bit of knuckle. The lobster was very fresh. The one complaint I did have was that the bun did not come close to doing the lobster meat justice. I know the bun isn't the main event or anything close but a lobster roll like this needs a better bun. The bun was tiny (comically tiny), falling apart and could not be picked up until I had nearly finished the meat. While the bun did have grill marks, it did not appear to be buttered at all. Overall, this is a very good lobster roll but probably best eaten with just a fork and skipping the bun. A somewhat sturdy buttered bun would have taken the roll from very good to excellent. But I suppose it is a fine line between my complaint and complaints that there is too much bread and not enough lobster. The fries were unremarkable and had no salt whatsoever.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gordough

        Same bun, not buttered, and you are correct it really doesn't stand up to the overall package.

        1. re: Gordough

          So you paid $23, but the sign says $26? And posters say the sign has been up for a year, but I was there in October (and often before that) and the price was $23.

          Color me confused.

        2. A "gouge job"? I'm pretty certain that restaurants are free to charge whatever they want, for whatever reason they want. And the nice thing is that, as customers, we're free to choose to pay it or not. Not quite sure how that could possibly be a "gouge job."

          2 Replies
          1. re: Blumie

            Maybe "gouge" is not the best word but isn't it shady at best and an outright lie at worst to tell your paying customers that prices are increasing because of a "world wide lobster shortage" when no such shortage exists and lobsters are being sold for as cheap as they have been (i.e. the near record low prices last summer)? I understand that there is a remarkable markup when it comes to lobster and what you buy at the market for $8 could be $40 at a restaurant. But why the need to justify the high price with a lie? Just charge what you want with no side commentary/flyer needed and then your comment that "restaurants are free to charge whatever they want, for whatever reason they want" would carry more weight. It is the justification lie that I, as a consumer, I find troubling.

            1. re: Blumie

              I dunno. The last time I was in there last year, the same shortage song and dance was going on. I took them at their word at that time and didn't think about it again until today. However, judging by the well worn sheet of paper taped in exactly 1 place in the entire restaurant, this is either an ongoing or frequent tactic. The increase wasn't pointed out until AFTER I had ordered, even though the cashier listened to me waffle between the regular and tail meat roll prior to ordering. On top of the surcharge base prices seemed to have risen significantly since last year, and the product was worse (more filler type meat). Checking their website, there is no mention of any surcharge and the regular menu prices are listed. I've not seen price surcharges or mention of anything like this at any other Boston or New England area restaurant or lobster shack. Call it whatever you like if the word gouge upsets your clever sensibilities, but it seems like they may be purposefully taking advantage of customers. Yes, I could have left, but I had been envisioning a lobster roll on my entire cross country flight and taken a detour to get there on my way home from the airport. The extra $ won't kill me this time, but now they've fooled me twice. As I said, I won't be back and wanted to give others a heads up as well.

            2. Lobster prices this past summer were the lowest in many years. Perhaps awesome for lobster consumers but difficult for a very tough industry. Prices are back up, may be seasonal, fishing for lobsters in the winter *sucks* supplies go down, prices go up.

              Whatever the "what we think of as a lobster" supply is, it's not worldwide. It's pretty much the Gulf of Maine with some stragglers wandering around down to Long Island Sound.

              1. Lobster prices are always up in the winter/spring because lobsters head out to deep water during those months making it more difficult and expensive to trap.