Lovin’ the Lobster Special at The Palm

Front window of the original Palm at 827 Second Avenue.

Summer is lobster season — and The Palm does it up for two

The Palm and I go back a long way. A lifetime ago as a magazine editor in New York, I worked around the corner from the original Palm. Established in 1926, it was an old restaurant even when I was young. It was a restaurant straight out of Damon Runyon, where efficient, old-school waiters served a clientele that included  a lot of chain-smoking, whisky-drinking reporters and illustrators — and eventually well-heeled New Yorkers who like the ambiance, the food, the service and the aura from their fellow diners.

An unidentified cartoonist or illustrator working on a wall of The Palm in mid-town Manhattan.

A mystique about The Plam developed, and the restaurant gained renown for great steaks, giant lobsters and caricatures of prominent New Yorkers drawn on the walls by some of the city’s best-known and most-talented political cartoonists and illustrators. On special occasions, my co-workers and I would go there for lunch, ordering affordable burgers from a menu that was beyond our means at dinnertime.

The Palm serves its big lobsters split, making sharing fair and easy. (This ia s professional's photograph; my food pix, alas, aren't that seductive).

Fast-forward several decades and two time zones, and here I am in Colorado — and so is one of many outposts of The Palm that now have spread across the country and around the globe. The original Palm had a patina that no new restaurant can approach, even with dark wainscotting, reproduction antique lighting fixtures, wooden chairs, starched white table linens and caricatures of famous people in whatver locality on the walls. Each of the new Palms seem to have commissioned an artist to paint the caricatures on newly painted walls, a valient effort at recreating the original. But then again, most diners today don’t have my memory of the original. The steaks and lobsters are still enormous, the cocktails potent (my margarita certainly was) , the waiters still efficient and the experience a throwback to an earlier time.

Lobster happens to me one of my very favorite foods, so my friend Laura and I jumped at an invitation to The Palm for their Summer Lobster Dinner for 2 promotion. The special starts with a choice of appetizers or salads (we selected different salads) and then comes the Nova Scotia lobster — a four-pounder split down the middle so that we each got half a body, half a tail, a large claw and four small claws. A lobster of this size has some age, so the kitchen cracks the thick shells to make it easier to remove the succulent claw meat. Lemon and melted butter — or “drawn butter,” in lobster lingo — is served on the side. I really like to taste the lobster without the intrusion of butter, so I always eat mine plain. I’m the exception.

The special includes two sharable side dishes — we ordered creamed spinach, a tried-and-true steakhouse face, and asparagus fritti. The special does not include dessert, so we ordered Key lime pie and two forks. For me, dinner was not only an opportunity to dig into food I love but also a trip down memory lane.

Price check: The Lobster Dinner for 2 is $99 for two individual appetizers or salads, a 4-pound lobster and two side dishes to share. It runs through August 31.

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19 thoughts on “Lovin’ the Lobster Special at The Palm”

  1. I love Lobster and I’m from Boston but now live in Colorado. My best Lobster was up in Kennebunkport,Maine – what better place to find fresh Lobster.

  2. I traveled to Maine and was able to go to a little restaurant with the best Lobster!!

  3. My favorite memory was of my grandson when he was about four years old. Fascinated by Lobsters crawling around in the tank of our favorite restaurant kept him busy for a long time while waiting for our table. Ordering Lobster was a shock to him and his eyes nearly popped out of his head. Tears flowed and wails penetrated the room. There was no way we were going to eat his friends that night!

  4. My first memory of lobster was the movie “The Little Mermaid.” We live in the desert so there is not many options for seafood. I thought lobsters were always bright red and cute. I finally saw one in a tank and had no idea what it was.

  5. I will never forget the first night my boyfriend and I cooked dinner togther. As he was still trying to impress me, he bought steak and lobster tails. He’s great on the grill, so he took over the steak. Which left the lobster to me… As a Colorado native, I’d never cooked lobster before. Since he’s from Boston, I figured he’d had more seafood experiece. However, neither of us knew what we were doing! Thankfully we foud a recipe in grilling cookbook. We followed the directions exactly, giggling the whole time. We both took a bite of the lobster, and it was great! We had to laugh at ourselves for worrying so much when it was such a simple meal to cook. Lobster will always remind me how much fun he and I have together!

  6. My best Lobster memory was when I took my oldest daughter to Boston to drop her off for College. I had her at a young age, never expeienced alot including flying to the East Coast for the 1st time. They brought out an entire Lobster, claws, head and all. Never had it like that, but needless to say I ate it all.

  7. My best lobster memory is when four friends and I went to visit a guy friend who lived in Maine. We all had rubber lobster nose masks which we wore all over for the weekend, including to the restaurant where we had the best lobster dinner ever!

  8. Several favorite ‘lobster’ memories come to my mind such as having the delicious crustean to celebrate special occasions … but perhaps the most indulgent was spending the summer at the shore. Several times a week our family had lobster to eat. Enjoying the sweet, succulent lobster meat whether in a lobster roll or served just by itself with corn on the cob, drawn butter dripping from our fingers to our lips, and giggles all around!

  9. I am not an experienced lobster-er but aspire to be! As a youngster, I loved Anne of Green Gables so I sent away to Prince Edward Island’s Tourism department for information and learned of a community lobster boil held every summer. I spent many hours planning a trip (which never occurred) that centered around that lobster boil.

  10. I have glorious memories of enjoying Lobster & Crab while in Eugene Oregon at a conference with colleagues and good friends we visited many excellent restaurants during out 5 day stay. Those are great memories!!!!

  11. My girlfriend and I learned how to make lobster bisque on a Carnival cruise during a demo. All the flavor is in the head. Lol

  12. My favorite lobster memory was my first lobster eating experience at a restaurant on the New Jersey shore. I ate the tail and the claws and was satisfied with a great tasting meal. My friends stated that I was missing the best part in the body of the lobster. I cracked open the shell and found all the insides were still there. I tried it, but had a tough time getting past my thoughts of eating what was the digestive system with the food the lobster had eaten. My friends had a great laugh.

  13. The best lobster ever is included in a real new England clam bake prepared on the. Beach in beautiful Wellfleet on old cape cod

  14. The best lobster is included in an old fashion clam bake on the shores of beautiful Wellfleet on old cape cod.

  15. My favorite lobster memory is having a big lobster with my husband that came straight off the boat when were cruising the Virgin Islands.

  16. Born and raised in Maine, spent summers on Popham Beach catching “lobstahs” around the rocks during low tide. Now I bring my young children to Chebeague Island, currently only accessible by ferry, where each morning the lobstermen (and women!) deliver lobster right off the boat from that morning’s catch–any number, any reasonable size–and typically $5 to $7 bucks each. Fresh lobstah every night for dinner. Really? Does it get any better than that??!

  17. My favorite lobster memory is having Maine lobster for the first time on my honeymoon and neither myself or my husband had any idea how to crack it open. We made such a mess figuring it out on our own. We still laugh to this day at that adventure and how silly we must have looked.

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