ROAD TRIP USA 2010: ROLL OUT THE LOBSTER IN NYC
Road Trip USA 2010 has begun. In the next month I will head off on a trip which will take in New York, Chicago, St Louis, Louisville, Pigeon's Forge, Little Rock, Montgomery, Memphis, Nashiville and New Orleans. But, where else was there to start my exploration of the US other than the Big Apple?
For the last few days I have been in NYC. I am here primarily for work and have not had much, if any, time to go in search of great things to eat.
Today, however, I had a day off and decided to treat myself to lunch and cross off my list one America's true classic dishes, the lobster roll.
Lobster has an interesting history in the US. Like Oysters in the UK, it was often considered a poor man's food. It was fed to people in alms houses, children in orphanages and there are even records of prisoners rioting in protest at having to eat lobster three times a week. How times have changed and the lobster is now considered one of America's true luxury ingredients carrying with it a price that can make the eyes water.
The lobster roll is an East Coast thing and particularly associated, I am told with the state of Maine. I have tried a few in my time, but never very good ones. So, when I had a bit of time this afternoon, I ducked into Pearl Oyster Bar on Cornelia Street for what is considered one of the best lobster rolls in the city.
POB makes a very traditional lobster roll, which comprises of little more that a toasted split hot dog bun filled with big chunks of lobster claw and tail meat wrapped in plenty of mayonnaise and sprinkled with chopped chives. That, apart from a squeeze of lemon juice and a crack of pepper, appears to be about it. It is served with a couple of salad leaves and a mound of crisp, piping hot shoestring fries which remained largely untouched given the richness of the lobster roll.
The elevated culinary status of lobster means that this sandwich is no longer a cheap option and my bill with tip and a drink came to $35. But, it was worth it for a gloriously indulgent lunchtime treat.
If the rest of the road trip lives up to this beginning, I have some good eating ahead. Watch this space.