Over the past year or so, lobster prices have hit some record lows. Yet, by the time they hit your plate at many restaurants, you’re still paying top dollar to have a crack at them. So why not change tack?
Seeking out a good, local no-frills lobster house or “lobster pound” in Maine is one way to go, and depending on where you are, there are plenty to experience. But make sure to go where the locals go, as if you’re on vacation and you don’t ask, chances are, you’ll end up paying more than you should.
Young’s Lobster Pound in Belfast, Maine
Take Young’s Lobster Pound in Belfast,
Maine, for example. This “BYO… tablecloth, preferred alcoholic beverage, appetizers and desserts,” spot is basic, but classic. What you’ll get is what many would call an authentic “lobstah” meal. Lobster, clams, slaw, corn on the cob and a few other items are what’s on the menu. The atmosphere is simple, with picnic tables set up along the wharf—overlooking the water and the charming town. If you order strategically (i.e. ordering twin lobsters and then sharing, avoiding all kinds of add-ons and limiting your butter intake), you can enjoy the treat at a relatively moderate price. And even with the casual atmosphere, it still feels like a treat.
Support Your Local Lobsterman
For the best deal, support your local lobsterman, and buy “right off the boat.” (Or at the end of the wharf, or perhaps from the lobsterman’s home.)
Fresh off the boat and caught locally, Liberty Lobsters offers a chance for soft shell lobsters at $4 a pound, hard shell lobsters at about $6.25 and steamer clams for as little as $3 a pound. You can call in the morning or during the day to place an order, or take your chance and stop by at day’s end to see what’s left in stock.
Low key is an understatement, as the folks at Liberty Lobster sell their wares straight out of the garage. You can keep up with Liberty Lobsters on Facebook to find out when they’re open, closed, out of stock, or even celebrating their child’s birthday.
The seafood is stored in cold cases and refrigerators along with fresh seaweed, and they’ll let you know exactly how they recommend cooking things at home. Or, if you prefer, for an extra $0.75/lb, they’ll cook the lobsters in advance to take home with you.
How to Cook Those Lobsters
Many lobster enthusiasts will say steaming, not boiling, is the secret to the best lobster meal. No matter how you decide to cook them, remember, if you are cooking lobsters at home, don’t forget that once the water has boiled, you’ll need to clip off the rubber bands holding their claws together before cooking or you’ll end up with an undesirable taste in the water.
And whether eating out at the local pound, or at home, an easy and practical “table cloth” can easily be supplied by re-using the day’s newspaper.