The Lobster House – Cape May, NJ
906 Schellengers Landing Rd 08204
Website – Lobster House
609-884-8296 (no reservations!)
Meal: Dinner, for 2, Weekend / 430p
Price: $77, excluding tip
If you’re driving into marina-heavy Cape May, it’s nearly impossible to miss the Lobster House. Seriously, the sign? It’s like having a goodyear blimp anchored 40 feet over the ground. With a bevy of other seafood restaurants within walking distance, however, they clearly have some justification for their 9th wonder of the world.
Moving into the driveway, my first impression was defined by how large the place was. The Lobster House itself is part of a 4-piece complex (Lobsterplex?) which also includes the Schooner American, the Raw Bar, and a take out market that was packed to the gills. Each has a unique menu and unique features (such as sitting in a New-England style bar sucking down oysters or dining aboard the tall ship) to fit whatever you’re in the mood for. The Lobster House is the ‘traditional’ indoor dining choice, with great window seating looking into the schooner and surrounding bay views.
After a nice ride with the Cape May Whale Watcher, we wanted an early dinner. Unbeknownst to us, the Lobster House doesn’t begin seating until 4:30p, and by around 4:20p there was a substantial line out the door. Thankfully, we were near the front. The bar and lounge area was really nice. Very classy, but not over the top at all. A little surprising was the waitress outfits, which dressed the staff in the spirit of Popeye; I would have expected a bit more formal dress given the atmosphere and pricing. My companion disagreed, however, citing the outfits as ‘crisp and nautical’ and fitting for a seaside eatery. Staff in the Raw Bar and the Schooner appeared more comfortable in their slacks, skirts, and branded shirts.
We started night with a cheap glass of wine (prices were reasonable) and two appetizers. While we waited, we were presented an enormous loaf of bread topped with onion and a fair amount of salt. Autumn and I love bread, and this definitely did not disappoint. For appetizers, Autumn ordered the shrimp cocktail and I was in the mood for Lobster House Combo, consisting of BBQ clams, clams casino, and oysters rockefeller. The shrimp cocktail was presented in classic fashion, with coktail sauce and a lemon wedge. They were large and succulent, and we’d definitely recommend them. The shellfish plate I ordered – to which, admittely, I don’t frequently order – was extremely good. My favorite was the BBQ clams, which had a lot of flavor without smothering the clam. In contrast, the oysters rockefeller had so much spinach and sauce I almost forgot there was an oyster in there somewhere. Both appetizers, overall, were excellent.
Our entrees came with a salad and choice of two vegetables. Autumn ordered the fried crab cakes with new potatoes and apple sauce. I tried the stuffed flounder (with shrimp, crab, and scallops) with the same potatoes and green beens. The salads offered were seviceable but not memorable (although what side salads are?). Both entrees hovered around $20 and were delivered within a reasonable time. In my opinion, the crab cakes stole the show. Two large, loaded all-meat crab cakes were the best she’s ever had … “better than Bobby Chez – more meat!”… and after a forkfull of leftovers it was hard to disagree. My flounder in contrast was a bit of a miss for me. The cream sauce blanketing it did little to add any flavor. Fortunately, the stuffing saved the dish. The small shrimp, crab, and 3 scallops were a real treat to keep the overall experience positive. On to the sides, we both loved the potatoes, Autumn really enjoyed her applesauce (nice, big chunks of apples), and I enjoyed the fresh green beans although I would have preferred them steamed instead of sauteed (which is perhaps my fault for not asking). We didn’t have enough room for dessert, although we managed to find some later on the boardwalk. =)
Overall, the Lobster House was a great dinner, living up to its grand sign.
– Good food
– Fair prices for seafood
– Lots of atmosphere choices
– Difficulty parking
– No reservations
Autumn’s Score: 4.3 Chews
Guru’s Score: 4.1 Chews
Our Score: 4.2 Chews
Subjective rating: A great catch.
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