Take stock in having a mouthwatering seafood experience at Nick’s Lobster House both a restaurant and market. Having been in the family since 1955, they say “Our goal is to provide our guests with excellent service in a fun, casual atmosphere to enjoy the freshest lobsters, seafood and ingredients around.” Their aim is to “continuously improve Nicks Lobster House for another 60 years.” Perhaps that is why they recently hired Donald Baftjari as the new General Manager with a strong history of restaurant command.
I find that aside from that awful Red Lobster chain you cannot find many local restaurants that are devoted to seafood without being ethnic. Personally, if I cannot view a tank of lobsters of this ilk I don’t count on the freshness. Here you can expect hard shell lobsters vs the soft shell “summers” that are in the supermarkets. Hard shells have more meat.
Since it appeared that the waitstaff had a good knowledge of the menu with detailed preparation, I asked lots of questions, some of which they did have to request from Chef Miguel Luna. In particular were the three soups. Here is what I was told about the seafood stock. It is housemade with garlic, onion, celery, carrot, clam juice and a whole lobster. Manhattan Clam Chowder adds potato, celery, carrot, onion, fresh tomato and bell pepper. New England Clam Chowder uses the stock with potato, clam juice, flour, milk, butter, garlic and onions. Opt for the Lobster Bisque and you’ll get milk, heavy cream, tomato puree, sherry wine, wheat flour, shallots, butter, and of course, lobster. I got a sample of all three, equally good with a different savory taste.
Onto the raw bar for Blue Point oysters and little neck clams. Rather than a shrimp cocktail I requested the steamed shrimp on this platter. They get the shrimp delivered fresh, not frozen.
Let’s get to the ambiance. Very casual. As with popular restaurants they may tend to have a line of customers waiting to be seated. Upon entry, you will find four 4-top and two 2-top tables in their lounge area. A bar is being tended for your refreshment enjoyment (wine and beer only) and you can choose to even sit at the bar and dine. The market area is in this room and will give you a chance to check out some of the goods. “At our Fish Market customers can purchase Shrimp, homemade Crab Cake, Salmon, Sword Fish and Fillet of Sole,” Donald later told me. “Also available fresh daily are Little Neck Clams, Oysters, Mussels, Steamers and Lobster of different sizes from 1 1/4 lb up to 6 lb.”
Two great “to go items”….lobster roll and lobster meat sandwich. The Lobster roll is served cold with hot French fries. The lobster meat sandwich has it topped with seafood stuffing and baked (also comes with fries).
Nick’s has a few rooms to both whet and satisfy your appetite. One side of the dining area faces the waterway. That’s where the view comes in with a few occasional seagulls viewing you or perhaps Manager Kenneth Pearth as he walks from table to table. He’s such a nice guy.
Back to the food. Since I’m in a lobster house, I certainly desire to have one simply steamed. Not wanting to pass up on the crab, I requested both Alaskan King and Snow. You can rarely get that fresh as they are delivered frozen and cooked. Have you ever notices that only the legs are available with just a touch of body? This is due to both the size and there not being meat in the body.
Nick’s may be billed as a Lobster House but don’t think that you cannot get some fresh fish filets. Take the Broiled Seafood Platter, for instance. Good size chunk of salmon, sea scallops and stuffed filet of sole. “The seafood stuffing is prepared daily,” Donald told me, “and consists of bay scallops, shrimp, crab meat, japanese breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, butter, white wine.” It has become so popular that you can buy it “to go” or just get a side of it with your meal.
I just had to sample a dessert, which I don’t believe is made on the premises. Hey, it’s casual dining…they have enough to prepare as it is. I chose the Tiramisu and was totally surprised to find it being better than some Italian restaurants that I have dined at. Can’t believe I ate the whole thing. Okay, I was not alone. My friends Mildred and Ethel Louise shared the dinner with me.
“Nick’s Lobster House started as a fish market and gradually it grew into a restaurant,” Donald uttered. “It is our job to hire, train, motivate and lead other people to give our customers an exceptional service, a fresh product from our local vendors and create a warm, friendly environment where everyone feels like being at home. Your customer doesn't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
The restaurant is open every day with an all-day menu. Tuesday is a 2 for 1 Lobster Special. Wednesday is “50% off of the raw bar”. Reservations are accepted (and suggested). 718-253-7117. You can either call or make your reservation on their website of www.nickslobsterhouse.com .