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89th And Broke

I'm a young professional living in Astoria (formerly of Williamsburg, the UES and Murray Hill - I move a lot!). I'm always looking for something fun to do or the best place to grab a drink and dinner at an affordable price around the city. Have a suggestion? Email me at Laura AT 89thandbroke DOT com.

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Lobster Rolls in NYC

The blue skies have finally arrived, the heat is unbearable – it’s most definitely summer, so I needed my summer lobster roll fix. As a kid I went to Montauk for family vacations and I was used to having my “Lunch” lobster roll every year. Now nothing can quite compare to Lunch/The Lobster Roll, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find a good substitute in Manhattan, right?

Going on reviews and friends’ suggestions, I decided to try the famed Pearl Oyster Bar earlier this week. My friend and I split a lobster roll with shoestring fries (priced that day at a whopping $27) and the Bouillabaisse – a mix of fish, mussels, scallops, clams, shrimp and lobster in a tomato-saffron broth. Although Pearl Oyster Bar is also known for its fried oysters, I’m not a big fan, so we skipped those.

While quite pricey, the lobster roll was excellent. They were more than generous with the lobster meat and the roll was stuffed with huge chunks of flavorful lobster that overflowed onto the plate. However, I could have done with less mayo – that messed with my stomach a bit later in the night.

Unfortunately the Bouillabaisse was horrible. It was an incredible disappointment and honestly it sort of ruined the whole meal. The fish had no flavor, the mussels were fine, there were only two clams, one scallop, 1/4 of a lobster tail and one shrimp. They just filled the plate with a huge hunk of fish and mussels, but the best seafood options (except the lobster) were barely represented. The sauce was almost bitter and it was really just a broth…I was hoping to get some tomato chunks in there like you do with mussels marinara. Instead the sauce gave the seafood absolutely no flavor, and even when we dipped bread in the broth, we were very disappointed.

Before tax and tip the check came in at $47, which seemed like a lot when half of the meal was awful. I’d definitely go back for the lobster roll, although hopefully on a cheaper market-price day, but I’ll stay far away from the Bouillabaisse. In the meantime I’ll explore other options where hopefully I can get a good lobster roll for a decent price and I can happily experiment with other seafood dishes. Any suggestions?

The Basics
Name: Pearl Oyster Bar
Location: Pearl Oyster Bar
Who to bring: Friends, Family for the lobster roll only
Price: $$$ – sometimes it’s worth it, other times not
Overall:  Would only return for the lobster roll, which earns 4 stars on its own. But overall, 2.5 stars.

Pearl Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

4 comments to Lobster Rolls in NYC

  • Disappointing. I feel like I have yet to find a decent seafood spot in NYC that is somewhat affordable.

  • Agreed. How was the Water Club last night?

  • Nimh

    If you do find a decent lobster roll in the city, please post about it. It’s one of my dad’s favorite foods.

  • I heard that two off shoots of Pearl’s is supposed to be good – Ed’s Lobster House and Mary’s Fish Camp. I also want to try the Blue Plate Special at Mermaid Inn – everyday from 5-7 you can get a lobster roll, Blue Point beer and fries for just $20. Now that’s a deal! While a friend said the lobster roll wasn’t as good as Pearl’s, she said the overall value was great and the fries seasoned with Old Bay are some of her favorite in the city.

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