Lobster, the steak of the sea.
My friends and I met up in downtown Chicago last week for Happy Hour at Devon Seafood, an upscale place on Chicago Avenue.
We found out that Devon offers 1-pound lobsters at cost during its Happy Hours on Tuesdays through Tuesdays. Being the poor college students that we are, we certainly could not skip out on $14 lobsters and $6.50 top-shelf martini specials.
Happy hour tables are quite small, so with five people, our table was packed when all of our drinks and lobsters arrived. But boy did our lobsters look delicious.
There was just one little problem: how do you eat lobster properly and gracefully in a classy setting?
For a minute or two we all just sat there looking at each other. For some reason, my friends all decided I knew the proper way and that I should show them. Well, I didn’t. Every time I’ve had lobster, the shells had been cracked and the meat removed and presented to me. At that moment I realized that whether it was in a restaurant, at a dinner party or on a cruise, I had never had to figure out how to de-shell a whole lobster by myself.
Well, as it turns out, we figured it out all right, but here’s an FYI for the future:
1. Put on your lobster bib. (Devon doesn’t provide you with bibs, which was a slight problem. I suppose they preferred sacrificing their clientele’s shirts to looking like Joe’s Crab Shack.)
2. Start by twisting off the claws.
3. Pull off the knuckle of each claw to get the meat in there.
4. Use the lobster cracker to crack the shells of the claw. While it may seem more useful to use the force of the cracker against the claw vertically, it’s actually more efficient to lay the claw across the middle of the cracker and crack it that way.
5. Retrieve the meat with your lobster pick.
6. Uncurl the tail and twist off the tail.
7. Peel the sides of the tail away to get to the meat. (You can switch these steps around. I prefer leaving the tail for last.)
8. This will unveil the insides of the lobster. To be safe, get ride of the musky green gooey stuff. It’s the digestive system and it’s called “tomalley.” Technically it’s edible if you want to eat it, but with pollution nowadays, I’d skip it.
9. If there is also red stuff, it’s the lobster roe (called coral). It’s a delicacy but I don’t like roe so I just throw it out or give it to someone else.
10. It takes a little work, but there is also meat under the soft shells of the body.
11. Pull the legs off the body and suck the meat out.
12. Don’t forget to dip everything in lemon juice-infused sweet butter!
I’m still not sure if there actually is a classy option for this process. Just hold on to the lobster cracker with a firm grip and don’t cause any flying shells, butter splatter or downed utensils.
And if you’re wondering about the drinks, Devon certainly doesn’t skimp on the alcohol. My Blackberry Lemonade was quite strong on the Grey Goose and very delicious.
If you prefer visual instructions, check out this video from Men’s Health (and excuse their focusing issues):