Thanksgiving bringing visions of a turkey dinner with all of the fixings needs to be replaced by history as it really happened. With the Mayflower floating at sea, the Pilgrims first landed in Provincetown, Massachusetts where the Native Americans introduced them to lobster. Yes, it was the year 1620 as they spent five weeks drafting up one of the most famous documents in American history, the Mayflower Compact…In fact, you know you have approached P’Town when you see the Pilgrim Monument, the tallest all-granite structure in the US….That first Thanksgiving brought New England seafood where lobsters were considered the “turkey.”
Once known as the “cockroach of the sea,” lobsters have become a mouth-watering delicacy especially to Susan Povich and her husband Ralph Gorham. Susan’s family originally lived in Maine where the best lobster seems to be found. While vacationing there Susan got a hankering for lobster. She and Ralph first decided to share their food craving with friends by bringing back 20 pounds of it for a lobster dinner. They came to the conclusion that a business investment would work even better with a move to Red Hook, Brooklyn. Thus the Red Hook Lobster Pound begat selling lobsters maintained in tanks.
With Red Hook going through a period of gentrification Susan and Ralph wanted to keep up with this new artsy area by turning his business into a restaurant. Nothing fancy. Ralph describes it as being a “shanty shack like you would see at the end of a wharf in Maine.” I loved it! Just a few blocks from the NYC ferry landing.
What would then be the best way to serve lobster without having to cook them or even pick it apart? Lobster rolls, another New England craze. “Maine Lobster”, one of the rolls, is tossed with a touch of homemade mayo piled on to a buttery split-top bun and topped with paprika and scallions. Susan has experimented with creating the perfect mayo that would enhance the lobster without overwhelming the flavor.
Does the lobster meat come from the lobsters from their tank? Are you kidding? With the amount of lobster rolls sold here Ralph gets the meat from a company in Maine where they have machines that do the work. It’s the knuckles and claws that have the sweetest and most tender meat. Sometimes it can come from the legs as well. Next time you get a whole lobster, use a rolling pin to push it out. You may be surprised with the quantity. Did I tell you that it comes with slaw, pickle and your choice of fries, potato salad or green salad?
Would you like the “Thanksgiving experience?” Have a lobster dinner, especially on a Wednesday when the price is $25. You get a Swimming-in-the-tank-fresh 1 1/2 LB Maine Lobster, boiled red new potatoes, corn and restaurant made cole slaw. Bib and equipment provided.
There are a few other items that you must indulge in. One of them is soup. If you are with someone, get two cups of two different “chowdahs.” Down East consists of lobster, clams, haddock and mussels in a creamy tomato broth. The other is a creamy old fashioned clam chowder.
I have had fried pickles before. Restaurants usually serve them in slices cross wise or length wise. Ralph tells me that they dice them up, place them in a Brooklyn brine beer batter to fry and serve with a chipotle aioli. There is always a next time for me.
I’m not much for brussels sprouts. I could now understand why it has become one of their best sellers. Fry them in a caramelized lobster broth and make sure that they don’t come out raw or overdone. Wow!
You can’t imagine that the most popular sandwich is a Hook Burger. That’s another one of Susan’s ideas and it won awards. Dry aged prime custom blend. Burger itself is topped with lettuce, tomato, special sauce and American cheese. Add bacon...$1.50. Like all of the sandwiches, it comes with slaw, Brooklyn brine pickle and your choice of Fries, Potato Salad or Green Salad. Sweet potato fries extra $1.00. This burger has been rated one of the top 25 in New York City.
I had to save room for dessert (s). Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies is a local thing. They come in tarts and use real key limes and egg yolks. Although pies can be made with regular limes, these small key limes have a special flavor of their own. It is topped with fresh whipped cream. Since the Banana Mousse Pudding is made on the premises I needed to sample that as well. OMG. Whipped pudding with ‘nilla wafers topped with whipped cream.
Here is the info low down. Open Tuesday-Thursday: 11:30am-10pm Friday-Saturday: 11:30am-11pm / Sunday: 11:30am-10pm. Phone number: 718-858-7650
Red Hook Lobster Pound has some other locations, although none are full restaurants. Their Montauk location is a basic shack with food to go and benches outside. Another location is a main booth that is part of UrbanSpace Vanderbilt at 45th St. in Manhattan. Needless to say there are trucks, one of which you will find in Rockaway along the beach calling it Rockaway Clam Bar. Cater your party by having a truck come to your home! Happy Tanksgiving!