While lobster is fairly abundant in the Northeast and can be cooked year-round, summertime seaside feasts featuring lobster, clams, corn on the cob and other kinds of shellfish are as Long Island as Billy Joel and the legend of the Amityville Horror.
Whether you enjoy fine dining or prefer heading out in flip flops and bikini tops, there are plenty of lobster-rich options in the greaterbayshore.com coverage area.
Below is a sampling, from Bay Shore to East Islip.
Lobster can make for an expensive meal, but since wrestling with lobster can sometimes make for a messy experience, dining in a relaxed atmosphere can be a fun way to enjoy one of summer’s sloppy rites of passage.
White Cap Fish Market is located at 120 Main Street in Islip, White Cap can’t be seen from the road, but a handful of rustic signs will steer you in the right direction.
If you can brave a short drive down a narrow, pothole-filled roadway, you’ll eventually get to a super-laid back, cafeteria-style clam shack that offers a variety of seafood, including a raw bar.
I tried the $25 steamed 1 ¼ lb. lobster special that came with a side of fries. After placing my order inside, I took a seat on the “crab deck” and enjoyed some classic rock on Sirius XM while watching clammers come back in from the bay.
It’s the perfect spot to hang out if you’re in the mood for a lobster dinner right after leaving the beach or coming off the boat.
For a true picnic-style lobster experience, check out Dean’s Seafood in Bay Shore. Located across the canal at 19 Degnon Boulevard, Dean’s is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
$30 will get you a fresh 1 ½ lb. steamed lobster served with a half-dozen littleneck clams, a pound of mussels, and corn on the cob. Owner Dominic Panzica is also happy to customize orders to add shrimp or scallops as well. Plan to take it with you, as there’s no indoor (or outdoor) seating at Dean’s.
CASUAL LOBSTER BAKES
Growing up, I remember my grandmother having a pulse on every $25 dinner special in a 10-mile radius. Admittedly, attending these events with her made me feel like a bit of a fish-out-of-water, as most of them were packed with people generations removed from myself. Lobster specials on Long Island, however, draw lobster lovers of all ages (I should know, I’ve been to most of them).
Fatfish Wine Bar and Bistro, located at 28 Cottage Avenue near the Bay Shore Marina, offers their famous summer “Lobsterfest” every Monday night through the end of August. $32 gets you a 1 ½ lb. lobster steamed or broiled served with a green salad, roasted potatoes, corn, and mussels in your choice of a red or a white sauce.
Locals love Fatfish because of the abundant outdoor seating on the bay. Be advised, however, that parking on Mondays is tricky on a good day, and near-impossible on most others, so bring a few quarters to feed the meters.
Bayside Clam Bar & Grill at 300 Bayview Avenue in East Islip offers a Wednesday night “Lobster Bash” for $21.95. If you don’t need to sit outside to enjoy your lobster bake, check out Jackson Hall American Bar & Grille at 335 Montauk Highway in East Islip. They offer a Wednesday night lobster special from 4-10 p.m. with an option to add half a rack of their famous ribs for just $9.95 more.
In his novel Cinnamon and Gunpowder, author Eli Smith writes, “It is, admittedly, a base foodstuff, but lobster, well prepared, can nevertheless be made to satisfy the distinguished gourmand.”
Therefore, it’s only fitting for us to cover some of the fancier dining endeavors where one might dress up to wear a plastic bib and rip apart a crustacean. For this experience, I followed up on a recommendation to try the Millennium Lobster at Tellers in Islip.
Luckily, no bib was needed, as the lobster is de-shelled and sautéed in Cajun spices before being served with creamy whipped potatoes. Tellers offers two or three pound lobsters at an unpublished market price (mine set me back $56).
A more traditional steamed lobster dish is offered as well, which comes de-shelled on request.
Though it’s not as “see and be scene” a location as Tellers, a whole Maine lobster is also a regular staple on the dinner menu at Captain Bill’s at 122 Ocean Avenue in Bay Shore.
Top: The signs directing us to Lobster at White Cap Fish Market in Islip. (Mary Donnelly)