Summer may be over, but it’s not too late to get in on peak lobster season. While we won’t turn down lobster any time of year, new shell season is the best time to eat it — that time of year where lobsters who have outgrown their shell trade up to the next size. When they shed the old shell, they have a bit of room in the new one, which is taken up by salt water that marinates the meat and helps make it both saltier and a bit sweeter. The meat is also more tender, allowing seasoning in dishes to penetrate it more. The season varies each year but includes September and October, and sometimes stretches into November. To take advantage, we’ve rounded up some of the best, most creative lobster dishes from across the country. Bib up and dig into lobster season.
Lobster Roe Noodles, Island Creek Oyster Bar, Boston, Massachusetts
You’ll want to eat your weight in oysters at this hotspot near Fenway Park, but save room for the Lobster Roe Noodles, a pasta made with lobster roe and topped with a rich red wine and veal stock-based sauce with braised short rib, grilled lobster, oyster mushrooms, and Pecorino cheese. Make a reservation at Island Creek Oyster Bar.
Maine Lobster Diavolo, Quality Italian, New York, New York
This lobster isn’t only spicy — the tomato pepper sauce is made with piquillo peppers, roasted and pickled — it’s flamed tableside with chili-infused vodka. Hot! Make a reservation at Quality Italian.
Estilo Puerto Nuevo Lobster, Playa Amor, Long Beach, California
At this casual waterfront restaurant, chef Thomas Ortega has created a menu of Mexican-style seafood dishes, including this Estilo Puerto Nuevo Lobster, which is griddled in clarified butter and served with rice and beans and fresh flour tortillas. Make a reservation at Playa Amor.
Lobster Roll Croissant, Union Fare, New York, New York
This is a lobster roll with a New York twist — lobster salad made with mayo, sriracha, and Old Bay seasoning is served atop a toasted everything bagel croissant. Make a reservation at Union Fare.
Lobster Roll, Hinoki & The Bird, Los Angeles, California
At this fusion restaurant inspired by the Silk Road, the lobster roll gets an international twist. The lobster is dressed in a green curry aioli accented with Thai basil, and the roll gets its dramatic black hue from charcoal powder. Make a reservation at Hinoki & The Bird.
Lobster Curry, Crave Fishbar, New York City, New York
This red Thai curry is full of charred red onion, Japanese eggplant, Thai apple eggplant, bamboo shoots — and the meat of a whole lobster. Make a reservation at Crave Fishbar.
Lobster Hash, Siena Tavern, Chicago, Illinois
The brunch classic gets an upgrade at this Italian eatery from Fabio Viviani of Top Chef fame. A hash of caramelized vegetables, house-cured pancetta and chunks of lobster is topped with two poached eggs and a truffle hollandaise sauce. Make a reservation at Siena Tavern.
Lobster Pot Pie, Wit & Wisdom, Baltimore, Maryland
This signature dish from chef Michael Mina can be found at several of his restaurants across the country, but the setting right on Baltimore’s harbor makes it feel especially nautical. The dish comes to the table baked inside a copper pot with a flaky crust on top. It’s then plated in front of the guest, and the scent of brandied lobster cream and truffles wafts into the restaurant. Make a reservation at Wit & Wisdom.
Lobster Bisque Fries, Extra Fancy, Brooklyn, New York
Think of this gut-busting side as a seafood twist on poutine. Fries are smothered with lobster gravy and then topped with shrimp and chives. You can order then for brunch and dinner, but we think they are best late night to soak up the restaurant’s creative cocktails. Make a reservation at Extra Fancy.
Lobster Dynamite, Komodo, Miami, Florida
One of the most popular items at this three-story scene-y Brickell restaurant is the Lobster Dynamite, a take on sushi restaurants’ tuna crispy rice, but it’s made with crispy quinoa and lobster. It is topped with a kewpie mayo made with sweet chili oil, sriracha, and sesame oil. Make a reservation at Komodo.
Photo credits: Dillon Burke (Union Fare); Michael Harlan Turkell (Island Creek Oyster Bar); Paul Wagtouicz (Quality Italian).