EDITOR'S NOTE: Sadly this restaurant closed its doors in March 2009.
Lobster King Seafood Restaurant
32 N Cleveland Street
When my brother informed me that Lobster King was awesome (and possibly not monkey-friendly), I immediately wanted to go (with the monkeys--Satchel, 4, and Jiro, 2). He told me to go on a Sunday and to go early. After a failed attempt with JP, Warren, the monkeys, and I set out again a few weeks ago. We got there right at 11am and found plenty of happy families (both American and Asian) and empty tables.
There were two or three servers walking around with yummy dishes on carts and big trays. I had to laugh a little at our decision to eat dim sum, since we had gone out the night before for tapas. How much little food on little plates can two people eat? “Maybe we should go attack the sushi boats at Sekisui for dinner,” I joked.
We ordered drinks (Thai iced tea for me, green tea for Warren, and OJ for the monkeys) and then proceeded to cover our table with little plates. The monkeys were particularly fond of the little fried shrimp rolls. They happily ate them while sipping orange juice from their tea cups. We also grabbed some rice balls rolled in sesame seeds and filled with something sweet. Apples, maybe? Warren ordered a banana leaf filled with glutonous rice, tiny shrimp, and pork. Next we had a shrimp crepe, Chinese broccoli, spring rolls, some sweet pork triangles, and an eggplant & shrimp dish. (I’ve looked at the dim sum menu in English, but am still unable to pinpoint the dishes we ordered.)
The monkeys were not as adventurous as I had hoped, but Satchel did try several things. Jiro remained focused on drinking as much orange juice as possible from his tea cup between visits to the (very nice) restrooms. Warren and I definitely ordered way more food than we could actually eat and had to squash the steadily growing monkey uprising with stickers.
We did our best to eat what we could. I really liked whatever it was that was wrapped in the banana leaf and Warren seemed to really like everything. As I waited for him to finish, I took a peek at the check on our table and tried to decipher the pricing system.
On a blank strip of paper was written: “M, L, XL, Sp, Tea, Drink” and next to each were “Chinese hash marks” (circles) denoting the number that had been consumed. Each M (medium dish) was $2.50, L (large) $3.00, XL (extra large) $3.50, Sp (special) $6.95, Tea (tea) $.60, Drink (drink) $2.00. I tried to figure out what might have been the special item that cost $6.95 but I had no idea. Likewise, I had no idea how they determined the parameters on the medium, large, extra-large designation since most of the dishes seemed to be of equal size.
My head started to hurt and it was clearly too early for really figuring out such matters. The monkeys were done with the stickers and ready to get some candy from the big bowl near the register, Warren was finally stuffed, and a number of hungry would-be patrons were glaring at us from the line forming near the door. As we were making our way out, I noticed a whole cart full of yummy looking things that I didn’t get to try. I made a mental note not to jump the gun next time and only order one or two things at a time.
We returned to Lobster King last Saturday and were joined by my brother and his dad. My brother did the ordering (in Chinese!) and we had all new things. The wonder shrimp dumplings and wonder shumai (pork dumplings) were super fresh and especially delicious. My brother’s dad totally entertained the monkeys while we ate and once again I was impressed by all of the families who were in the restaurant eating. I can easily see us becoming regulars. Maybe someday we’ll even try the chicken feet!