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Dinner at City Lobster

  • Cuisine: Seafood, steaks
  • Atmosphere: handsome, Americana, booth and table seating, grand
  • Attire: business-casual
  • Ideal for: pre/post theater, business dining, perfect for 1x1 or groups, prix-fixe, bar scene
  • Must try: Crab cakes
  • Price: Crab cakes (entrée), $24.95
  • Reservations: Via phone or opentable.com 
  • Phone: (212) 354-1717
  • Website: http://www.citylobster.com
  • Location: 121 W. 49th St., (btwn 6th & 7th Avenues)
*All photos from my meal can be viewed on Flickr
To me, there's absolutely nothing better than a pleasant surprise.  Most of the time, I am guilty of expecting the worst and hoping for the best.  This could explain why I blissfully trotted off in to the moonlight after my dinner at City Lobster on Wednesday night. 
"Hi, in a booth in front.  You can't miss me," texted Teddi.  As I looked around the lively space, Teddi was no where to be found.  "Teds, I'm here but I don't see you.  Are you upstairs, by chance?" I replied.  "I didn't realize there was an upstairs here," she said.  That's when it hit me: I was at the wrong restaurant.  I had mistakenly gone to City Crab instead of City Lobster.  Who the hell would have thought that there were two restaurants in NYC with the same first word followed by a different crustacean?  "Teddi, I am so sorry!  I'm leaving City Crab (19th and Park Ave.) now and getting in a cab en route to City Lobster (49th and 6th Ave.) as we speak.  I owe you a drink!"
After a 15-minute, $13 cab ride later, I finally arrived at City Lobster.  Sure enough, there was little Teddi holding fort in a big booth all by her lonesome.  "I am so sorry!  I feel like the biggest ding-dong on the planet!" I blurted while plopping in to my side of the booth.  As I got finally got settled and caught a breath, I took a look around the handsome restaurant and was impressed by its brasserie-esque charm and boisterous, yet subdued, atmosphere.  Think: perfect lighting, neither too bright nor too dim; specials and "fresh catches of the day" hand-written on black chalkboards; subway-tiled walls; hard-wood floors, and a vibrant buzz that made me happy to be where I was.
The meal began with a basket of sliced bread and impressively spreadable butter.  With the help of the $25 gift certificate that Teddi had towards the meal (from restaurant.com), each of us felt more inclined to order what our hearts truly desired since price was less of an issue.  Lobster Thermidor, you ask?  Perhaps the "surf and turf?"  Nope, both of us unanimously went with the crab cakes!
After sucking down two of the most perfectly concocted Shirley Temple's (Sprite and grenadine) that I've ever tasted, our entrees arrived.  I was shocked by the shear attractiveness of my plate, followed by the mouth orgasm I received courtesy of my food:
  • Two golden fist-sized crab cakes: Easily 1" thick, the cakes were loosely bound and composed of snow-white lumps of fresh crab meat.  A thin, crispy crust enveloped the delicate flesh.
  • Corn succotash: Buttery, salt and peppery roasted corn kernels were blended with sautéed onion, tomato and sliced green chile.
  • Garnish: Lightly dressed frisee (salad weeds), a lemon wedge and a creamy dipping sauce completed the dish.      
I was literally blown away by the electrifying flavors that erupted from the fresh, high quality mélange of ingredients before me.  Teddi and I nearly licked our plates clean…but that didn't stop us from ordering a slice of Key lime pie for dessert!  Aside from the homemade whipped cream, I found the pie's filling to be too sweet (I love a tart Key lime pie.  Isn't that the point of a citrus dessert?) and the crust too moist (Was it a day-old dessert?  Perhaps.  Condensation can really hurt the crust.). 
All in all, dinner at City Lobster was fantastic.  Could I have been lucky?  Did I go on an "on" night?  Maybe.  But my meal was good enough to warrant a return visit.

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