Sarabeth’s

Oh, Sarabeth’s. I’ve wanted to go to you for so long. And I finally did. And I have to say, I have mixed feelings.

sarabeth's lobster roll

lobster roll

When my lady dining partner and I entered Sarabeth’s, we were both struck by the sophisticated atmosphere that the Park Avenue South location exudes: wide open windows, lots of natural day light, an open floor plan with seating in the rear. Because we didn’t have a reservation (for lunch!), we had to sit at the marble countertop bar, which was fine. We parked in a corner spot and chatted for a while, and an accommodating bartender asked us for our drink orders immediately.

I had planned what I was going to order a day in advance: Sarabeth’s lobster roll with coleslaw and housemade potato chips. I like that they say “housemade” instead of “homemade” because, as you may know, I take issue with restaurants claiming their offerings are “homemade” (if they aren’t made in my or your kitchen, they’re simply not homemade). The brioche roll was buttery and the succulent pieces of lobster were perfectly doused in a mayonnaise dressing that delighted the palate. I was pleased with the sandwich. As for the coleslaw, well, it was subpar, in my opinion. But the potato chips definitely made up for the coleslaw–they were well-done and crispy, and had a solid potato flavoring.

sarabeth's turkey burger

turkey burger

My lady dining partner opted for the turkey burger, which was served on a giant bun with guacamole and Sir Kensington ketchup on the side. It also came with limp french fries which were tepid and fair, at best. She found the burger to be juicy and enjoyed its flavor. Much better than Grey Bar’s version, she noted.

For dessert–because at Sarabeth’s, you have to order dessert–we got the cherry crumb pie which was topped with a delicious vanilla ice cream and neatly placed in the center of a large white plate defined by a circle of chocolate-balsamic sauce. While the ice cream was outstanding, the cherry cake left something to be desired. It was sweet and had a nice crust, but it didn’t wow me.

The Park Avenue location is Sarabeth’s latest outpost. I’m happy to see such a restaurant in my work neighborhood, as it offers me a nice place to take a colleague or friend for a special lunch occasion.

sarabeth's cherry crumb pie

cherry crumb pie

All in all, Sarabeth’s is worth visiting, but be sure to bring your credit card or lots of cash–the menu is on the pricey side.

Sarabeth’s

381 Park Avenue South (at 27th Street)

Flatiron/Murray Hill, New York

Take the 6 to 28th Street and walk south one block. 

 

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

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