The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 15 October 2007

Lobster roll @ Mary's Fish Camp, NYC

Prior to our stay in New York, I'd never heard about lobster rolls. It's quite a popular seafood item in America, which apparently originated from the US state of Maine. It was mainly curiousity about lobster rolls that led me to do a search about the best place in NYC to have lobster rolls. It seems that there is a strong consensus amongst New Yorkers that two places in Manhattan make excellent lobster rolls, and one of them is Mary's Fish Camp. We paid a visit to Mary's Fish Camp for lunch on our last Saturday in NYC for an indulgence in seafood, and it was well worth the visit.

MFC is certainly popular as the tables were full when we arrived - not surprising since the dining area was quite small with the capacity to fit perhaps 20 people at once. It looked like the kitchen space was actually as big as the dining area, We waited perhaps 5 or 10 minutes before a table was available for us. Buzzing place, with plenty to offer on their regular menu as well as their daily specials. The waitstaff were friendly, but were always zipping around with orders to take and food to serve.

Rob knew what he wanted even before we sat down: Lobster Roll ($28), which was what we came for. The lobster roll consisted of a generous serving of lobster meat doused with herbed mayonnaise, stuffed into a small hotdog bun and served with a large heap of potato fries. The cheap feel and look of fast food aside, the lobster roll was scrumptious. You could taste the chunks of juicy lobster flesh in every bite, although I felt that it could have done better without so much mayonnaise - the subtle taste of seafood should be enjoyed as nakedly as possible. The other weakness of the dish was perhaps the serve of potato fries. I think that something more acidic, like salad with vinaigrette dressing, would have helped cut the rich taste of the mayonnaise dressing instead of adding to the fatty taste like the fries did.

I decided on a grilled Whole Black Sea Bass ($24) from the daily specials board. The grilled whole bass was quite a lovely sight to behold, and I enjoyed every part of the fish, head and all. I must have been quite a sight as I tucked into the fish using my fingers. The fish was stuffed with herbs and served on top of grilled onions, zucchini and yellow squash which accompanied the fish quite well. The fish was fresh, and superbly simply prepared with subtle ingredients.

To finish the meal, we went with 1/2 dozen raw oysters ($12). The oysters were fresh and yummy, but not as plump or juicy as the ones I've had in Perth, Sydney and Japan.

The lobster roll was pretty pricey, but it was a generous serving of lobster meat. Overall, it was a good experience.

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