Lunch for One: Sandwiches at The Lobster Place

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[Photo: Kathy YL Chan]

In the last six months, lunch options at the Chelsea Market seem to have doubled. A new annex housing Bar Suzette, People's Pops, One Lucky Duck,, Lucy's Whey and Jacques Torres has me going out of the way to visit the market—not to mention bowls of chili and sandwiches at Dickson's, sandwiches at the Green Table, and treats from Ronnybrook Milk Bar.

However, my favorite lunch spot is, without a doubt, The Lobster Place. I used to drop by their West Village location for takeout sushi (great quality and fair prices). But it wasn't until my first visit to their much larger Chelsea Market location that I discovered an order counter in the back of the shop. Curious, I walked past the aisle of sushi, past the hot pots of chowder, and up to the counter where I picked up the menu. The counter has an official name, "Shack in the Back." love it! Sandwiches made to order!

There's the Tarragon Shrimp Roll ($7.95, pictured at top). Top-split buns lavishly buttered and grilled to order. Sweet shrimp, chopped and tossed with fresh tarragon, capers, and cornichons for an extra crunch. Just enough mayonnaise, with chives and parsley to tie it all together. Two other rolls are also offered: a Salmon Salad Roll ($8.95) with white wine-poached salmon, and Lobster Roll (market price). Between these three, it's the Tarragon Shrimp Roll I return for time after time.

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There's only one sandwich option, and it's a delicious one: Crab Club ($9.95). Lettuce, crisp fried bacon, and tomatoes layered in with fresh crab salad. It's a little heavy on the mayo, but wins points for a generous helping of avocado. Your choice of white or wheat toast. Both the Crab Club and Shrimp Roll come with potato chips and a side of cole slaw. But if you ask nicely, they're glad to replace cole slaw with potato salad—a better bet, creamy, pepper-speckled, with a vinegary tang.

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If you're in a rush, turn to the refrigerated section with pre-made wraps and salads. Go with the Spicy Tuna Wrap ($8.95). Here, sushi-grade yellowfin tuna, raw, is mixed with their housemade spicy sauce (so good you can purchase the sauce by the container). The tuna is layered along with seaweed salad, scallions and nori and then wrapped in various wrap options (whole wheat, sundried tomato, and basil-pesto). If you're not a raw tuna person, they make steamed yellowfin tuna wraps as well, either with jalapenos, onion and tomatoes, or the madras curried version with golden raisins, cilantro, and red onions.

I'll be back here for lunch, many, many times over. And if they'd add French fries to the lunch lineup, I might be here everyday. Lunch here usually clocks in under $10, and a true deal for the quality of food you get.

The Lobster Place

Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY 10011 (map) 212-255-5672