This was originally posted to the Eats Blog.
Maybe Iâve just had aÂ run of bad lobster days. But I am finally fed up enough to get a good rant on about the really horrific ways so many Dallas kitchens mangle lobster.
I know, I know. Lobster is expensive. Most people arenât eating lobster, and when they are itâs a special occasion. But thatâs just the point: If you or I are going to shell out the clams for lobster, I at least want something thatâs memorable for all the right reasons.
TheÂ most memorable lobster in my lifeÂ was served to me by theÂ Drouhin wine family in Burgundy. I was their guest, and the server brought small, cute jars filled withÂ warm lobster, a little clarified butter, a little seasoning, a few bread crumbs.Â The rich lobster flavor, the yielding texture of the substantial chunks (claw and tail), the buttery bath still flood my mind with pleasure â" and this was in 2007.Â Lobster and Chablis is a classicÂ combination, and each lifted the other to a kind ofgustatory nirvana.
No one going out for lobsterÂ (or buying it from a fishmonger)Â should expect anything less.Â It should BE a once-in-a-lifetime experience that exalts the delicacy of the crustacean.
Why, then, do some chefs chronicallyÂ overcook it to rubber? One place in town has been doing this for years with whole lobster. As I recently tried to rip through the rubbery flesh with my teeth, I couldnât imagine what they were thinking or whoâs in that kitchen. What a waste.
At other restaurants, Iâve run into aÂ whole fussy list of ingredientsÂ in a dish where the lobster comes off as an afterthought. Any kind of pesto in a lobster salad is going to overpower the flavor; this is so basic, I canât imagine getting it wrong. Yet, chefs persist in turning outÂ these dreadfully, tarted-up creationsÂ that positively defile lobsterâs goodness.
For heavenâs sake, I wish local chefs (and I hope the guilty parties feel the flush of recognition) wouldtake a cue from Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, who simplyÂ butter-poaches lobster. Thatâs it. When the significant other and I were on Vancouver Island earlier this year, we merely boiled fresh-caught Dungeness crab, another ethereally wonderful crustacean with flesh as delicate as flower petals. That was all it needed. We kept some drawn butter nearby, and occasionally we swiped a piece of the crab through it. But there was simply nothing that could have made it better.
With inherently awesome ingredients of delicate nature, please, less is more. Anyone else been disappointed as I have by lobster recently?