Last month, we were in Castine, Maine, savoring a lobster roll sandwich not far from where the crustaceans are caught. Not much atmosphere: picnic tables, self-service, wet naps, and static-filled music from a portable radio. But the sandwich was good.
We knew it would be a whole different story at Waterfront Seafood Grill’s Lobsterpalooza: comfortable seating, great service, cloth napkins, and a talented piano player. That’s good and all, but how would the food fare?
Living in Vermont, we’d get lobster for $3-4 per pound, then simply steam them and dip the de-shelled meat in butter. So it’s not surprising that we liked the more basic lobster dishes best at WSG. The “lower cost” lobster roll ($15) was fairly traditional, save for the taste of tarragon, but delicious and fun, with a perfectly toasted, buttered bun that’s often the weak point of most rolls. At the other extreme, the roasted lobster tails ($69) were well-executed, the meat still succulent and sweet. This was served with sautéed spinach, shitake mushrooms, bacon, and a lemon beurre blanc that worked well in combination.
While we typically say that everything’s better with bacon, that wasn’t necessarily the case for lobster. The lobster BLT salad ($18) was an interesting thought, but a little tricky to eat (with its unwieldly “big crouton”), and the smoked bacon and roasted tomatoes overpowered the lobster. Same for the pairing with grilled red snapper ($38), in which the bacon and porcini stew overwhelmed both seafood items.
We don’t want to yada yada yada the middle dish: lobster bisque ($15). It was a nice intermezzo in the meal; some might find it too oceany, but we were glad to have the lobster shine through.
With Chef Peter Levine (recently of Troiani, and winner of the top dish at Guest Chef on the Waterfront this summer) featuring ten lobster preparations on the menu, Lobsterpalooza (lasting through the end of November) gives you a chance to choose what you think you’d like the most. It’s lobster…so live it up, especially in such an entrancing environment. We loved our shrimp and Sardou brunch at Waterfront Seafood Grill earlier this year, and enjoyed this chance to experience the place in the evening light, making for a wonderful night.
Cross-posted at Seattlest, where “we” = me.