Never content with just hitting up one locale on a Sunday eating excursion, most of the Serious Eats meet-up crew was already planning their next move mid-huarache. While Ed and much of the group set off towards chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick, I was pulled in a different direction; tracking down a supposed $9 lobster roll at the Fairway Red Hook location.
Lucy Baker mentioned it casually in her Cook the Book post last week but I needed visual (and gustatory) confirmation. So even with an empanada and horchata-filled belly, I headed over to the Red Hook Fairway for this very important research. You know... "for professional purposes."
Don't be side-tracked by the lobster salad sold at the deli counter ($8.95 for a 1/4 pound). For the sandwich, you need to head to Fairway Cafe at the back right-hand corner of the store. Unlike the cafe in the Upper West Side Fairway, the Red Hook location is on the ground level with an outdoor deck overlooking the East River.
As promised, the $9 lobster roll is on the menu and comes with potato chips, cole slaw, and a pickle. With a standard size hot dog bun as the roll, the Fairway version passes two important lobster roll tests.
#1. They butter the inside of the bun, and toast it on the flat top. #2. Whole pieces of claw are visible. I can't confirm the appearance of tail meat, but what do you expect for $9? There is chopped celery in the mix, but the mayo-to-lobster ratio was perfectly acceptable (although the same thing can't be said for the cole slaw.) No trace of lemon juice either, if that's your thing.
Seafood is not something you want to skimp on, and the last thing you want is a price that leaves you wondering what on earth they did to this thing to make it so cheap. But occasionally you'll find an item that tows the quality-price line with perfection. For those of us who love lobster rolls, but can't afford to pay "market price" each time we get the craving, this is the perfect solution.
I guess what I'm saying is, if you are a lobster-loving-cheapo (like me) you are going to love this one. The only hard part will be avoiding the equally-appealing-to-cheapos Ikea Cafe and Red Hook ball fields.
480-500 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn NY 11231 (map)