11.17.2015

WDT Review: The Lobster House has Your Seafood Fix on Lock

A restaurant focused on seafood seems … unlikely to succeed in a landlocked locale like Norwood. I have this general rule about eating seafood solely near the shore. But on a recent visit to The Lobster House, about 100 cars clogged the parking lot of this north country institution that’s been cranking out hearty dinners since my parents were newlyweds. That's a good sign.

Inside, despite the large dining room and hordes of guests, the space was restful, hushed and homey, with artwork depicting wintry scenery lining the pale green walls.

Our party of five settled right into a circular table in the center of the action with a round of very reasonably priced cocktails and a basket of The Lobster House’s much-lauded cheesy biscuits, lightly crispy on the outside and tender and steamy on the inside — the tastier, more finely crafted cousin to the biscuits you may have had at a certain national seafood chain restaurant.

Stuffed mushrooms ($7.99) were positively jammed with a breadcrumb and crabmeat mixture and drenched in enough gooey, melted mozzarella cheese and garlic butter to make my more health-conscious readers blush. They were baked in that highly seasoned butter, to lift the earthy, woodsy mushrooms and sweet crab into a very decadent territory. 

Coconut shrimp ($6.99) were large, plump and perfectly cooked, the shrimp sheltered inside deeply golden, sweet coconut shreds and served with a slightly sugary, slightly sour, fruity dipping sauce. Our waitress led us to believe these were battered in-house, which I can’t guarantee, but they certainly had more flavor than your typical frozen coconut shrimp — and dunked in the sauce, they were crowd-pleasers at our table. 

Clam chowder ($3.99 a cup) was deeply flavored and rich, the cream and fat brightened by celery and fresh parsley. One diner found it to be too salty and inferior to the lobster bisque ($3.50 a cup), which was quieter in flavor. I found that broth silky, creamy and accented by the zing of Old Bay spices, but with not much lobster running through it. I prefer bisque finished with sweet sherry, and this version was lacking that flavor, so the chowder won the day, for me. This is why I bring other mouths with me - everyone likes different things!

Homemade dressing on a Caesar salad was a bit on the piquant side for me, with a squeeze too much of lemon juice and not enough egg and Parmesan in the mix. But the romaine was crisp, the croutons crunchy, and the diner who ordered it as his starter was pleased. Apparently, he can handle the sharpness of lemon juice better than I can. 

Shrimp scampi ($15.99) could have been as buttery and garlicky as the mushrooms, but instead I found this entrée surprisingly light, full of fresh, sweet shrimp flavor. The garlic butter sauce was plentiful but not heavy, and the sautéed veggies served with the shellfish were crisp-tender and well seasoned. A squeeze of lemon here was well placed and brightened up the flavors even more.

The same shrimp came with the Triple Play ($25.99), along with a tender, petite lobster tail and chateau tenderloin, a steak cut from the tenderloin filet of beef. It was cooked medium-rare and was perfectly juicy and very well seasoned — an uncommonly good steak for a combo platter and a very upscale trio of proteins for just $26. The Lobster House seems to be a place where hearty portions are doled out for fair prices, which may explain the packed parking lot. 


I was less enamored of the baked rigatoni ($13.99), which was an equally generous portion, but composed of those stuffed, frozen pasta shells crimped uniformly at the edges. You know the ones, they come in a bag from the dreaded food distributor. Plus, the cheese blanketing the top of this baked dish was not browned or bubbly — just a swath of white. I think we can all degree that when faced with topping a dish with cheese,browned and bubbly is the right going to do, yes?

The pasta was cooked correctly and avoided being gummy, but I found both the tomato sauce and melted mozzarella to be bland. However, the diner who ordered this entrée loved it, describing the marinara as extremely tomato-y. Different strokes, you know? Again, this is why I bring friends to dinner!

The maritime platter ($17.99) was bursting with seafood: fried clams and shrimp, plus scampi and broiled white fish. I found the clams tasty, with a burst of shellfish brine and a crunchy cornmeal coating, but the fried shrimp tasted like breading only — the shrimp flavor was completely lost in there. Again, the diner who ordered it loved everything, noting the flaky, fresh fish and the shrimp among her favorites. Maybe we were just an agreeable bunch that night.

The stuffed lobster ($26.99) was a beautiful, whole-creature presentation splayed across my plate in majestic style. Before anything else, this thing was a feast for the eyes, and I don’t even mind putting that cliché down for you all to read. 

The crabmeat stuffing was redolent of celery, bell pepper and rich, sweet crabmeat, but there was almost too much of it — my palate wore out quickly from the sheer amount of this opulent dressing. The lobster itself was no slouch, weighing in at 1½ pounds and with lots of tail and claw meat, but it was just a tad overcooked and therefore really tough. It’s always a pretty good deal to eat lobster, but this could have been done a bit better. 

A baked potato served on the side was fluffy and cooked perfectly, dressed up with butter and sour cream, a delicious, tangy and earthy break from the heavy crab stuffing. Yeah, I get that a butter- and sour cream-laden spud should not qualify as a break from anything. 

Desserts were all straight from the food distributor, and we were full anyway, so we skipped this course in favor of heading south a half hour earlier. 

The crowd here was as varied as the menu: Everyone from date-night college students and very casual families to larger groups dressed up for a special occasion were tucking into the big plates from the big menu. 

One of the things I really liked about The Lobster House was the higher-end food served without the fuss of fine dining. No white tablecloths here — just grab a fork and dive in. 

I give The Lobster House an eight on the Big Hungry scale. While not every dish was executed absolutely perfectly, the value and portions make up that point, and our waitress, Ashley, brought it home with her attentive and good-natured service. 

I absolutely understand why this is a destination in St. Lawrence County. Any member of your party will find a dish on this menu. Indeed, we didn’t even manage to order one of the eight chicken dishes offered, and we barely made a dent in the pasta and beef entrees! Our dinner for five, with four adult beverages and two appetizers, totaled $154.89, a fraction of what it would have cost in just about any city in the country. 

So head to Norwood and bring your appetite! The Lobster House may not be near the sea, but it has your seafood fix on lock. Landlock, you know?

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2 comments:

  1. Haven't been there in a few years, but we alway shad a fine meal there. Great review, and the pic of the lobstah is priceless!

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  2. I really like you post,Thanks for your sharing.

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