Long Island's sounds of summer dining take in the alfresco crunch of fried seafood, the sizzle of grilled meat, that juicy bite of peach and the first nibble of sweet corn. But none is more seasonal than the crack of the lobster claw.
The lobster is the unofficial marine mascot of Nassau and Suffolk, especially now. It just keeps on giving and reaches its peak when the sun is high and the beach beckons. So dig in. Here are 15 ways to love your lobster.
1. WARM LOBSTER ROLL
Butter, butter, butter and bliss, plus lemon, define the Connecticut-style lobster roll at the Red Hook Lobster Pound's summer branch in Montauk. It's a quarter pound, on a grilled, split-top hot dog bun. The chilled Maine roll with house-made mayo also is excellent. $18.
2. LOBSTER SALAD ROLL
There are plenty of very good ones around, but the lush rendition by Garrett Wellins at Silver's in Southampton is grand. Made with tail meat, mayonnaise and celery, it's refreshing and delicious. And at $44, it should be. Silver's is open for lunch.
3. MILLENNIUM LOBSTER
This has been a mainstay from the Bohlsen Restaurant Group, now starring at the remade H2O Seafood & Sushi in Smithtown. "Angry flour," with garlic and chili flakes, among other ingredients, dusts the 2-pounder, which is sauteed in butter and set on mashed potatoes. $49.
4. LOBSTER FRA DIAVOLO
Many Italian restaurants send out lobster fra diavolo. One of the best is the balanced, carefully calibrated, sweet-hot production from Spezia in St. James. It's one of the newcomer's often-offered lobster specials. The 2-pound lobster dish is $45.
5. FETTUCCINE LOBSTER CARBONARA
Chef Kent Monkan enriches and expands on the classic Roman pasta. His winner at Heirloom Tavern in Glen Head includes bacon, peas, arugula, Parmesan cream and enough lobster meat to make the whole thing a passport to a delightful, imaginary quarter of Rome. $25.
6. LOBSTER MEATBALLS
Light, moist, flavor-packed, these New World meatballs are an appetizer at J. Michaels Tuscan Steakhouse in Northport. (Its Oyster Bay location is temporarily closed.) Meatballs, a staple in so many households, have become a trend using different ingredients. These are terrific. $19.
7. BUTTER-POACHED LOBSTER
Chef Thomas Keller immortalized butter-poached lobster at the French Laundry in Yountville, California. Philippe Corbet has featured it at Roots Bistro Gourmand in West Islip, recently in a lobster pot-au-feu. New for summer: seared lobster with sweet-and-sour watermelon, English peas, pea tendrils, fava beans, red onion, almond foam, and tomato barbecue sauce. Both $38.
8. LOBSTER AND CORN CHOWDER
This soup really is a two-in-one. Chef Douglas Gulija of The Plaza Café combines in equal measure his great lobster bisque with a corn chowder made from corn cobs and bacon. It's then garnished with butter-poached lobster and popcorn shoots. Sensational. $18 to $22.
9. LOBSTER RISOTTO
Risotti come in limitless productions across northern Italy, from the basic Milanese to those of Piedmont and Venice. Mimmo and Benedetto Gambino's Casa Rustica excels with lobster, especially this creamy, summery risotto, which adds asparagus and roasted tomatoes. $27.
10. STEAMED LOBSTER
Definitely the most ordered preparation, the steamed lobster almost symbolizes summertime dining here. Two perfect ones sampled recently were on the menu at the new Bay Kitchen Bar in East Hampton and the veteran Rothmann's Steakhouse in East Norwich. Market prices.
11. BROILED LOBSTER
For a long time, broiling was reserved for lobster tails. But whole broiled lobster has become a staple, particularly, and not surprisingly, at steakhouses. The broiled lobster rivals the prime beef at Bryant & Cooper, which has been in business in Roslyn since 1986. Market prices.
12. ROASTED LOBSTER
The new kitchen at La Marmite in Williston Park, under executive chef Greg Kearns, offered a seductive spring special of roasted lobster, finished in cream sauce with morels, snap peas and English pea puree. The summer version of the roasted lobster dish includes local sweet corn, chanterelles, potatoes and a brown butter vinaigrette. $44.
13. SPICE-ROASTED LOBSTER
The elegant Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton changes menus monthly. Check the availability of spice-roasted lobster, in cooler months with braised wild mushrooms and baby carrots or braised onions, saffron and fennel. $43. This month, you can find saffron garganelli with lobster, English peas, chilies and mint. The appetizer is $21; the main dish, $29.
14. LOBSTER REUBEN
Mara's Homemade in Syosset and Mara's Too in Wantagh make lobster rolls, lobster BLTs and a singular lobster Reuben sandwich. The Reuben contains lobster salad, a little sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and sauce rémoulade, on grilled rye bread. $20.
15. LOBSTER WITH GINGER AND SCALLIONS
Chinese restaurants lure you with lobster in black bean sauce, lobster Cantonese, lobster with cellophane noodles. Fortune Wheel in Levittown contributes a savory, aromatic, thoroughly satisfying stir-fry of lobster with ginger and scallions. $22.95.