Hell’s Kitchen has a ton of Thai restaurants and diners, but New England lobster shacks? That we don’t got – well that we didn’t got.
Claw is a tiny storefront on Ninth Avenue. It specializes in fresh Maine lobster, serving it as various iterations, including its most famous one, the lobster roll. This has one more location, in Chelsea, and this site has a white and peach interior, looking for all the world like a very skinny ice cream parlor.
Claw only uses fresh Maine lobster that is never frozen, and the taste comes through in its bisque. Creamy and smooth, but not thick or sludgy, this manages to be rich without being overpowering or too heavy. The lobster chunks are numerous, velvety, and meaty in the buttery bisque. Sweet and comforting, this is closer to clam chowder than a traditional lobster bisque Though this could benefit from a hit of sherry to elevate the taste from more than simply butter, the taste is still excellent.
They don’t skimp on the lobster here. A generously toasted hot dog bun, crisp with butter, holds sweet steamed lobster meat, bound only with a bit of creamy mayonnaise and tossed with a good amount of salt, to bring out the lobster’s natural salinity. The cool meat collides with the warm bun for a unique sensation of flavors, temperatures, and textures. A good example of a classic Maine style lobster roll.
The fries are another great point. Fried to order from fresh potatoes, they are crispy and served with tart cornichons and an eggy homemade mayonnaise – I could have eaten that mayo by the spoonful.
So would I come here again? A qualified “yes” – if someone else was paying. Lunch here is expensive – that lobster roll alone was almost $17. It was tasty, but not what I would call a great value. If they changed their prices by a few dollars, I would stop here easily every week.
Till then, I think I might continue to drive to Connecticut for my lobster fix!