Sandwiches from New and Improved Lobster Place, Back in Chelsea Market
The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market was closed for the first three months this year to undergo major renovations. But after reopening in April, the store's lobster-to-order bar is joined by a new sushi bar with a daily omakase tasting. The Lobster Place also acquired a liquor license, so it now sells beer and sake.
Shack in the Back is the aptly-named counter in the back of the new and improved space. There, chef Dave Seigal has worked much of the store's inventory into a concise, affordable menu. A few items are not available yet, but the ones we tried on a recent visit have us excited to go back.
As before, there are sandwiches,such as top-loaded lobster rolls (market price) with sweet, tender meat and a restrained helping of mayo. We also dug the Crab Club ($12.95), with Kenji going so far as to say, "Next time I want to buy crab meat I'm just going to go to The Lobster Place, buy the Crab Club, and throw out the bread." There's a ton of fresh, sweet lump crab meat on the sandwich for the price, and no filler. It comes with salty bacon, creamy avocado, crisp iceberg, and a slice of tomato.
Capers, cornichons, parsley, and chives make ordinary mayo a sound condiment for sweet, crisp shrimp in the Tarragon Shrimp Roll ($9.95). It's also served top-loaded and toasted with butter on the sides, the roll dense and sweet against the crisp pickle laid across the top. An order of slaw ($3.50) is light and fresh, with cabbage (purple and green) and carrots retaining their crunch under a light herb-mayo dressing.
A soft, light potato and onion roll holds the Smoked Salmon Sandwich ($9.95), with fillings of smoked salmon, capers, and scallion cream cheese. There's a good amount of smoke in the tender salmon, but our favorite part about this are the crisp potato chips stuffed into the sandwich. Their crunch fills a textural void and gives it an extra salty kick. Not as impressive as the other sandwiches we tried, but not bad either.
The slightly spicy, tender Maine Red Hot ($3.95) is nothing to write home about, but a safe option for the seafood averse. It comes with dijon mustard for kick, but not much else. An order of Old Bay Fries ($4.50) is a welcome addition: the spuds are well-crisped, hot, salty, and heavily dusted with Old Bay.