The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 22, 2010


A Lobster Tale

Rarely do I write about crustaceans, but an interesting or should I say amazing incident truly dictated this rumination. Thursday, September 16, was our 38th wedding anniversary, and we decided to go to the AKA Bistro in Lincoln. We had been there before and found it somewhat loud, but the food was good, and within a reasonable driving distance. Nowadays, distance and time seems a more important part of our life as Alex cannot drive and needs a cane to walk.

Since it was our anniversary I chose the lobster fricassee at $29, more than I usually pay for a main course. My entree plate was oval and placed in front of me with vegetables at the small end on one side and my lobster at the small end on the other. Usually, when I have ordered lobster it goes the length of the plate but in this case it barely reached across the small end. It came cut in half, with the knuckles missing and meat from the claws placed on top, one on each side. Shortly after we began to eat, the waiter came by to inquire how everything was. I said it tasted fine, but was surprised at its small size and wondered what it weighed. He said he would find out. He came back to announce that it was a pound and a quarter. Any native New Englander knows what that size lobster looks like. I reiterated that it was not a pound and a quarter and he shrugged and asked if I wanted to see the manager. I said, perhaps later on my way out.

At this point, I decided to eat exactly half of my lobster. I figured I could take the other half home and weigh it now that my curiosity was truly piqued.

On the way out, we encountered the manager who asked how we liked our meal. I said that it tasted good, but I wondered what size the lobster was. He also assured me it was a pound and a quarter. I said it seemed rather small, maybe a pound. I said “I know my lobsters.” At this he went over to the chef station, picked up a lobster and towering over me proceeded to thrust it within a foot of my nose, saying “This was your lobster!” I said “No. that is the lobster in your hand, the one I was served was smaller.” He insisted that he was the expert. How dare I question him? Did I know who he was? Of course at this point, the evening went from being a celebration to being an event. Or perhaps an incident.

I did mention to the hostess that at one point in my career I was in marketing for a seafood company. I have been associated with the restaurant business since I worked in New Hampshire in 1955, where we served lobster every Saturday night. I still felt certain the lobster in question was underweight.

We tried to leave, but the manager wouldn’t stop ranting loudly, “No one in my entire life has ever questioned me!” He pursued us to the door trying to give my husband his business card. Alex kept refusing, saying “There is no point in giving me a card since we are not coming back.” By now the manager was shouting, “Get out get out and don’t come back” and so we left, shaking all over. We are now in our 70s and not used to being pursued by a large young man in a rage. And so to home we went, with my half lobster in a box.

Now the whole thing had become a challenge. I marched in and got out our accurate kitchen scale. I weighed the small box with my lobster (box size 5” by 4” by 2.5” high, this being the largest dimension as it tapered bottom to top). I was now obsessed. Total weight: five and a half ounces. I removed the lobster wrapped in cellophane and placed it directly on the scale. It weighed four and a quarter ounces. I measured it (naturally flattened out), tip to tail, it was eight and one half inches overall.

One might think I would forget this whole thing, but the next day while shopping at Whole Foods. I passed the seafood section and decided I would ask how small a lobster could be sold. They did not know. I explained why I wanted to know, and a kind lady there took me to see the frozen lobsters, all with weights clearly marked on the package. The width of my out-spread fingers, thumb-tip to pinkie is exactly 9 inches. The smallest Whole Food lobster was 11 inches long.

She suggested I put a review on the internet, which I intend to do. But I also want to suggest that you take a kitchen scale with you if you order the lobster at AKA Bistro. ∆

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