When we found out we were going to Prince Edward Island for my sister’s wedding all thoughts turned to the obvious. Lobster. Yes, lobster and how to enjoy and take advantage (in every way we could), of something, that on the Pacific Coast is very much a luxury. Of course the ubiquitous lobster roll is available at almost every restaurant you may stop in (including Subway and McDonald’s - yes you guessed it - McLobster). Less known perhaps are the lobster potato chips - strangely delicious - although perhaps not that lobstery? Not sure if lobstery is really a word but heck, it should be! Aside from these, we had three lobster dinner experiences in our travels through Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Bluenose II Restaurant, Halifax
Bluenose II is a chain of family restaurants that reminds me of my childhood. Salad with thousand island dressing anyone? Homey and comfortable, this is a very casual dining establishment and for the most part seemed to be filled with Haligonians. (Isn't that a great word? - so much more grand that Vancouverites or Londoners.)
The lobster supper ran at $23.95 (market price) for a 1.5 lb lobster and includes salad, with choice of dressing – if you grew up in the 80s you’ll remember the choices - and choice of potato. An ample meal to say the least and on the surface would appear to be quite the deal.
Of course they supply you with bibs and the usual lobster paraphernalia, but beware. A man at the next table asked where we from. “Vancouver,” we proudly replied. “I knew it!” he exclaimed. When I asked him, “How?”, he proclaimed frankly, “Easy - you put the bibs on.” Harsh! OK, so first faux pas, apparently. How were we to know?
As far as the lobster was concerned, I’m sad to say, I think it may have died in vain. I found it to be more overcooked than I would like. And no, I’m not just bitter about slights against my lobster fashion sense. Despite the texture, the flavour, was very good. The accompaniments, especially the greek roasted potatoes, were very tasty - full of hearty flavour. The staff was friendly and helpful in a very genuine way.
Dockside Lobster at Richard's Seafood
We didn’t go looking for this one but after a bike ride through the Prince Edward Island National Park, near Stanhope, we found ourselves at Richard’s Seafood which consists of a dockside eatery where you can eat in, as well as a fishing shack where you can buy fish, oysters, clams and lobster to take out.
We started out with some oysters.
How could we refuse Malpeques at $1 each and $3 to shuck? The fellow helping us packed the oysters carefully in ice in a compostable take-away container and was quick with offers of tabasco.
With those going down quite nicely, we found it equally hard to pass on the $9.99 per lb lobster. An extra $0.75 if you want it cooked . We got two cooked between four of us and plunked ourselves down right outside on a picnic table to eat it up.
In my opinion, this is the best way to eat lobster and of all our experiences, this was the best atmosphere. To be able to buy right from the fisherman and partake of the bounty right then and there was really something. And you can skip all that anxiety of getting messy in a restaurant.
New Glasgow Lobster Suppers
One of the main planned events of the my sister's wedding weekend festivities was a traditional PEI Lobster Supper on the day after the wedding.
After a glorious day on Cavendish Beach we made the short drive to New Glasgow. There must have been 200 cars in the parking lot of the New Glasgow Lobster Suppers Restaurant. My first thought - "that’s a lot of lobster!" True enough. Our waitress shared that they cook between 500-600 lobsters an evening. The restaurant's online video boasts that their tanks can accommodate 20,ooo lbs of lobster at any one time.
The process is fairly simple, harkening back to the church supper tradition of these meals. You buy a ticket at the door for the desired poundage. A 1lb lobster is $34.95 but for the larger appetites (and wallets) a 4lb’er goes for $65.95. (Prices are market dependent of course).
After taking our seats, the server brought unlimited mussels and chowder as well as an appetizer salad. Iceberg lettuce and pale tomato. Pass. The mussels were completely unadorned – just steamed and tasting of the sea. I mean that in a good way.
I chose the 1lb lobster, which was perhaps in hindsight, a bit small, but it was perfectly cooked. I definitely wanted more.
The ticket price includes dessert. Old-fashioned favourites like chocolate ice cream, lemon meringue and blueberry pie are the stars of the show.
New Glasgow Suppers are a true experience - one of those 'has to be done' things. It was perfect for a big group like ours and it provides a pretty safe atmosphere to try it out if there are any lobster virgins among you.
But my favourite experience was the dockside lobster at Richard's - That atmosphere would be hard to beat in a 5 star restaurant. I'll know for next time to head first to the docks, seek out the locals and skip the bib.
New Glasgow Lobster Suppers
#604 Route 258
New Glasgow, Prince Edward Island
9 Covehead Wharf,
Stanhope, Prince Edward Island
Bluenose II Restaurant
1825 Hollis Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia