Lobster Claws May 16, 2010
The sun is shining in New York City! Finally we’re able to enjoy a meal sitting outside. Hooray!
However, when the sun disappears behind a cloud, it’s still pretty chilly. For those ten minutes, we’re reaching for our sweaters and thinking, “this was a mistake. It’s not warm enough to eat outside,” but wait, then the sun comes back out again… warmth, joy!
Today I walked past Blue Water Grill’s outdoor dining veranda. This large seafood establishment on Union Square is the perfect place to sit outside during this unpredictable weather. I felt immediate envy for those diners sitting outside on the single lane elevated veranda with the giant glowing heat lamps, keeping them warm even when the sun hides. It’s the optimum spot for people watching since the veranda is enclosed with a protective ornate black wrought iron fence. And since passersby are forced to look up slightly from street level, the diners look like celebrities eating their oysters, pretty salads and summer on a plate.
I started thinking about the last time I went to Blue Water Grill and let out a little chuckle. It was yet another first date, and decided to share it here, because it’s just too good to keep to myself.
A little background for those who don’t know me personally, and I’m just coming right out and saying it – – - I’m an expert lobster eater.
If there was a lobster eating contest… and the contestants needed to eat every morsel of meat from their crustacean, leaving just pile of clean shells…I would win. And in case you’re wondering, yes…I even eat the “green stuff.”
Think about the moment you crack a lobster claw. You’re holding a metal cracker with very messy slippery hands, struggling, and then you manage to get a great big hunk of sweet lobster meat to dunk into hot drawn butter. Or perhaps you’re lucky enough to pull out the entire claw! Oh, the achievement! To me, this is success. And eating it is heaven. I guess you can say I’m the gal that likes to work for her food. In my opinion, it just tastes better that way.
When it comes to lobster…I’m a purist. I want to taste the ocean when I eat it. I like it simply steamed, or not at all.
In the pre-date planning phase with this blind date, I was very pleased that he asked me to name my top three favorite cuisines so he can choose a restaurant for our date. (Side note to the men out there – this is a great thing to do! It helps guide you to make a good choice, instead of saying “I don’t care, where do you want to go?” Women want to be taken out, and we want you to put some thought into it.)
“Japanese, Italian and Seafood,” I told him. He chose Blue Water Grill and I was delighted. It’s a nice first date place because it’s large enough to have a private conversation and you won’t be rushed out quickly. Sitting on the veranda is the way to go, but sadly it was off-season, so we sat on the main floor, which felt stuffy and conservative. I consider this space more appropriate for a business meal or family in town, but downstairs has live jazz, which is wonderful for a non-talking meal. All things considered, keep this place on your list for dates.
Okay, back to the date. I don’t know why this keeps happening to me, but he’s ready to order before either of us opens our menu (see ChickenParm).
He abruptly announces to the waitress, a little too loud I might say, “I’ll have a four pound lobster,”
(me: oh my! I think I like him… a lot)
“but I want all of the meat taken out”
(me: oh no!)
“ and then I want the chef to cover it with breadcrumbs.”
(me: you have got to be kidding me!!!)
Normally I would say I needed more time to look at the menu, but at this point I didn’t want to prolong the evening further. I’d seen enough. From memory, I ordered my Blue Water Grill standby – Ginger-Soy Lacquered Chilean Sea Bass. It’s always a winner. I’ve had this dish at least five times and always enjoy the salty Asian flavor with perfectly-cooked buttery fish.
“So, tell me about the breadcrumbs,” I ask, and he says in a VERY condescending tone “haven’t you ever heard of Oreganatta?” (end of story)
Look, I don’t expect everyone to eat and enjoy food the exact way I do. I like talking about food with others and understanding their choices. If my date told me about a food memory he had in Italy where they doused the lobster with breadcrumbs and he loved it, and he’s been trying to recreate it, then I would truly enjoy that conversation. But he was not interested in food. He wanted the meat out of the shell so it was easy to eat, and he wanted to disguise the flavor of the sea with carbohydrates.
Needless to say, we were not meant for each other. It wasn’t just the food disconnection; we had little in common. I was fascinated that he only ate the tail meat, and didn’t touch anything else on his plate or anything resembling a vegetable. He even left the two giant shell-less meaty claws sitting on his plate. I could feel them staring at me while I finished my own meal, and I could have sworn I heard them whispering to me in a tiny little lobster voice “take us home! take us home!”
So I did. (end of story)Blue Water Grill 31 Union Square West at 16th Street http://www.brguestrestaurants.com