Murphy’s Lobster & Grill

I must preface this post with an admission: I resisted going to Murphy’s Lobster & Grill for many months. In fact, when visiting with some friends, MDP declared he’d like to try it, for their oysters and other seafood fare, and my friend said he would go with him. Well, the friends moved away and MDP was left with no one to accompany him to Murphy’s. I finally gave in.

murphy's lobster and grill snow crab platter

snow crab platter

And I’m glad I did! Situated on a quiet corner on Skillman Avenue (about 10 steps away from where I once lived) in Sunnyside, Murphy’s used to just be a bar, but, in recent years, they renovated the space adjacent to the beloved bar and turned it into a lobster house. And what a lobster house it is: the walls are covered with nautical-inspired decorations, such as giant fish and torn and tattered photos from yore. The ambiance is warm and quiet, and the lighting is just right.

The menu is filled with seafood delectables, including baked clams, calamari and items from the raw bar for appetizers. We opted for the steamed mussels, which are cooked in a delicious white wine sauce. They were served with two pieces of garlic bread drenched in butter. I saved my bread for when we got to the bottom of the bucket–it was perfect for soaking up the fantastic broth. The mussels were on the large side, with giant meaty bits within. They were quite good.

murphy's lobster and grill lobster macaroni and cheese

lobster macaroni and cheese

For entrees, Murphy’s offers a range of seafood dishes, with a lobster platter prominently placed at the top of the menu. They also serve surf and turf, and a steak frites dish that I nearly ordered. Instead, I got the lobster macaroni and cheese that was wonderful. Succulent bits of lobster that were sauteed in garlic dotted the creamy macaroni and cheese. Finely shredded cheddar coated the top of the macaroni, adding a layer of deliciousness to the very rich dish.

Prior to traveling to Murphy’s, we watched a few videos on how to eat crab legs, something neither of us had ever done. So, MDP accordingly ordered the snow crab platter, which came with two crabs’ worth of legs (eight in total), boiled potatoes and corn. Over the course of about 30 minutes, I watched him patiently crack each leg, at every joint, pulling out bite-size pieces of meat and drowning them in the melted butter that came in a tiny cup. I tried a bit of crab meat, and it was quite good, but I honestly prefer lobster. (Shoot me for having a refined palate.) Everything on his plate was fabulous, with the exception of the corn that seemed to be somewhat firm–I owe this to corn no longer being in season.

murphy's lobster and grill chocolate mousse cake

chocolate mousse cake

Per the recommendation of the jolly waiter, we ordered the chocolate mousse cake for dessert. It was delightful. The mousse was smooth and creamy, and the chocolate cookie crust was firm and flavorful.

Murphy’s is one of the few seafood restaurants in the neighborhood, and it deserves the kind of acclaim some of the Queens Boulevard places have received. I hope it continues to attract a good crowd.

Murphy’s Lobster & Grill (and Bar)

48-20 Skillman Avenue (at 48th Street)

Sunnyside, NY

Take the 7 train to 46th-Bliss Street. Walk north two avenues to Skillman and turn right; walk two blocks.

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Side Street Cafe (Bar Harbor, ME)

 

side street cafe lobster macaroni and cheese

lobster macaroni and cheese

My Dining Partner and I decided to take a trip up to Bar Harbor, ME for a few days. We needed a getaway spot that wasn’t too far and wasn’t too expensive. We chose Bar Harbor because of its proximity to Acadia National Park, which is known to be beautiful in fall.

Now, the most important thing about our trip to Bar Harbor was, of course, the lobster we would have. So, where would we go for such lobster? Guidebooks weren’t exactly useful and Yelp, well, you know the issues I have with that website, but a combination of these guides, along with the help of the world wide web, pointed us in the direction of Side Street Cafe.
side street cafe lobster roll

lobster roll

Located on a quiet street in downtown Bar Harbor, Side Street Cafe is an unassuming fixture among bakeries and Mexican restaurants (who would trust Mexican in Maine?). When we arrived at Side Street Cafe, the wait for a table for two was about an hour, so we walked around Bar Harbor, checking out local stores and freezing our tails off. At last, we were seated, and our waitress was beyond delightful.

For an appetizer, I ordered the lobster macaroni and cheese, which is easily the best thing I ate all weekend. It was creamy with shards of parmesan cheese on top and big chunks of lobster throughout. It was, in a word, divine.
My Dining Partner opted for the New England clam chowder, which was also delicious. Creamy and clammy, this clam chowder was mild and did not disappoint.
For my entree, I ordered the lobster roll–one overstuffed roll filled with chunks of lobster dressed in mayonnaise and old bay seasoning. I loved it!
side street cafe blueberry pie

blueberry pie

A trip to Maine wouldn’t be complete without a slice of blueberry pie. We ordered it warm with a scoop of delicious vanilla ice cream with whipped cream on top. The blueberries in the pie were whole and amply distributed throughout the pie shell.

Side Street Cafe is well worth the wait, if you find one when you go there. You can order just about anything with lobster, so I advise you to do so. You won’t be sorry!
49 Rodick Street
Bar Harbor, ME

Dylan Prime

I’m not one for steakhouses, but Dylan Prime has been on my mind for some time. Luckily, My Dining Partner (MDP) purchased a Living Social deal for $100 of food and drink at Dylan Prime, which gave me an excuse to finally try it.

Situated way down in Tribeca, in one of the busiest middles of nowhere, Dylan Prime is easy to miss. No ostentatious sign greets the visitor. Just an imprint of “Dylan Prime” on the window. That’s how you know you’ve arrived.

We sat cozily in a half-moon shaped booth. The place was near empty at first, causing me to worry slightly about the quality of dining experience I was about to have.

So, what did we get to eat? Well, as much as possible, it seemed.

First, we ordered the heirloom tomato salad with cilantro syrup and watermelon. This was just okay–the tomatoes lacked the punchy flavor of signature heirlooms and the watermelon addition, while refreshing, seemed unnecessary.

I ordered the 11 oz. filet, with truffled lobster macaroni and cheese as an “accessory” as they call their side dishes. The meat was perfectly cooked (medium) and the mac and cheese was to-die-for. I’ve never had such delicious mac and cheese–in my life! Wow. Succulent pieces of lobster found their way into nearly every bite of the savory dish. Delish!

MDP ordered a 12 oz. New York Strip steak, which looked delicious, and fries on the side–very good.

For dessert, we ordered the fudge brownie sundae which comes with bourbon caramel sauce and fried bananas. The brownie itself was dense and fudgey, and all too decadent. I didn’t care for the bananas, but enjoyed the accompanying sauce.

Would I go back to Dylan Prime? In a heart beat. After all, it’s right by where MDP works and it’s guaranteed you’ll get a table given its location in virtual oblivion. And the service was great! But I ‘d probably like to have a coupon of sorts, since Dylan Prime’s prices are on the high side.

Dylan Prime

62 Laight Street

New York, NY

Take the 1 to Canal Street, walk left onto Hudson and right onto Laight.

Lobster Joint, Greenpoint

I recommend going to Lobster Joint during the week when the G train is running promptly on schedule. Unless, of course, you live in Greenpoint, where Lobster Joint is located. For the rest of you, heed my advice.

Small and poorly lit, Lobster Joint has only three picnic-size tables indoors and counter seating, plus a small bar. There’s a backyard, which I didn’t see since it was monsooning, and I imagine this is the place to be during sultry summer nights. Patrons order at the bar and wait for their food on the outskirts of the restaurant.

Its menu boasts a lobster dinner, a lobster roll, and lobster macaroni and cheese, in addition to a Pat La Frieda burger and a raw bar. There’s lobster salad and lobster ale, as well. I tried the lobster ale, which was a dark, full-bodied beer, and enjoyed it.

I ordered the lobster roll, which came with chips, fries, or salad, coleslaw, and a pickle. (I opted for the Cape Cod chips.) The lightly buttered, split-top roll spilled over with large chunks of lobster. One of the claw’s meat preserved its shape and was visibly intact sitting atop the roll. Tossed with mayo, the lobster was sweet and delicious.

My dining partner ordered the lobster macaroni and cheese on my behalf. It was my birthday and he knew I wanted to take a bite of the mac and cheese, so he consented to trying it. He also ordered the clam chowder, which I wouldn’t recommend as it was thinner and soupier than chowder ought to be. As for the macaroni and cheese, well, it was, in a word, spectacular. It was delivered in a small aluminum pan, straight from the oven. Large chunks of lobster were interspersed among the white cheddar shells. The upper crust was browned just enough to seal in the lobster/cheddar flavor.

We didn’t order dessert (again, it was my birthday – there was cake to be had at home), but they offer Cool Haus ice cream sandwiches. I’ve tried them before and they are very tasty.

MDP didn’t enjoy his dining experience, but I thought Lobster Joint was alright. I’m not sure I’d go back there, since I hate the G train and the place is a little bit far from the subway. Also, the seating situation is, at best, uncomfortable. If you’re in the neighborhood, it’s definitely worth a try, but don’t expect to sit at a table unless the backyard is open (and even then, it’s a crap shoot).

Lobster Joint

1073 Manhattan Avenue

Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Take the G train to Greenpoint Avenue, walk several blocks to Eagle Street