Posts Tagged ‘Lobster’

Michel Richard’s Central: Home of the Lobster Burger

Posted 02 Aug 2010 — by S.E.
Category Fine Dining

We arrive at Michel Richard’s Central at 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. in a flutter. The rest of our party arrived an hour earlier, ordered lunch, and they’re waiting for us while trying to delay service. We are en route when one of our friends at the restaurant calls and asks if she should order for us because the kitchen is closing in five minutes. We are running out of time. “Where are you guys?” she asks in desperation as we walk through the front door and out of the sticky heat that blankets the city this time of year. Wilted but in good spirits, we sit down and order with less than a minute to spare relieved to be inside where it’s air conditioned.

Our server arrives, takes our order (adding it to the one already placed by the others) and heads toward the kitchen. I take a few moments to catch my breath and soak in the dining room décor. The restaurant is brushed with natural light from the west facing bank of windows that run the length of the dining room. This natural light compliments the high ceiling and two toned light fixtures that hang along the center of the room. It’s a large restaurant with what appears to be over one hundred seats including several large banquettes with neutral colored leather upholstery. Tables and chairs are a natural maple and the Berber carpet is tan in color giving the restaurant a bright, earth toned natural feel. Sleek, contemporary, playful, (there’s a huge portrait of Richard’s bearded face on display near the wine cellar) and comfortable come to mind as I sit looking around what is now a nearly empty dining room. Although our server is not rushing us, our food arrives faster than expected disrupting my wandering mind.


Classic Beef Burger with Cheese. This burger is special. Richard makes his own hamburger rolls on site, the beef is fresh ground, shaped into a one inch thick patty and perfectly cooked, and the French fries are fresh as well. There is nothing like a simple item, perfectly executed, to make me happy. Classic Beef Burger $17

 Lobster Burger from Heaven. Richard takes a couple of split lobster tails and intertwines them, grills them over high heat, plops them on a disk of lightly oven dried tomato sitting on the bottom of a fresh baked bun, tops them with potato crisps, a little special mayonnaise based ginger sauce, caps them with a fluffy, egg washed bun and serves. This is not an inexpensive dish but it is absolutely fantastic. The lobster is lightly charred from a hot pan but perfectly cooked, moist and toothsome (not easy to do with lobster) and the sandwich is big enough for us to split in half and share. When I cut the burger it remains completely intact. This makes me wonder if the lobster tails were dusted with transglutaminase (meat glue), I am assured they were not! No matter…it tastes wonderful. Lobster Burger $29

The only other guy at the table with me orders a simple New York strip steak. It arrives grilled to perfection with a topping of maitre d’ hotel butter, spinach and arugula salad and a side of those awesome fries. I like the way the fries are served standing up in a cup, it keeps them crisp and the salt evenly distributed. He takes one slice out of the steak and it is exactly medium rare, piping hot, and seasoned. NY Strip $32


Being an oyster fanatic, we order our first dozen and share them. Nothing fancy with the presentation but they are ice cold, correctly handled and delicious. Unfortunately, I am still so enamored with the lobster burger that I forget to write down the types of oysters we are eating. I think they are Hama Hama’s and Dabob Bay’s but can’t quite remember, probably because I was eating them so fast. Dozen Oysters $32


The same is true of dessert. We ordered four desserts to share knowing that Michel Richard earned his stripes as a pastry chef before starting a mini restaurant empire. Before I thought to snap a few shots of these items, it was too late, we had wiped out all but one; the bread pudding. What a shame, it would be nice to share a photo of Richard’s signature “Chocolate Bar” dessert. Bread & Butter Pudding $8


We were in an out of Central in about an hour. The food was fantastic and the setting comfortable and relaxing. Better yet, our server never once made us feel rushed, was gracious the whole time we dined, and walked us to the door with a smile.

Central Michel Richard

1001 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20004


Lobster is New England Street Food

Posted 05 Apr 2010 — by S.E.
Category Travel

Motif #1

Last weekend I made my way down the narrow streets of Bear Skin Neck in Rockport Massachusetts to my favorite north shore lobster shack. Actually, I have three lobster shacks that I favor on the North Shore; Roy Moore Lobster Company just happened to be the one I was closet to. After record breaking rain the prior week, we were blessed on Sunday Morning with record breaking heat and sun. (Still don’t believe in global warming?) The sun and heat triggered a primeval craving for a walk down Bear Skin Neck that usually, like the lilacs around my house, activates later in the spring. As soon as I think of eating in Rockport, I can’t suppress the anticipation of taking a walk through town after eating for a tour of the wonderful art galleries and shops. Once my summer craving for steamed clams and lobsters starts, it has to be sated. Off to Bearskin Neck we went.

Roy Moore's in Rockport, MA

Legend has it that back in 1700 there was a bear in the village that wandered down to the waters edge and was caught by the rising tide and killed. An alternative tale is that the neck was named after the bear skin that colonial resident John Babson left drying on the neck. For the next three hundred years, the legend as well as the name held fast as did the town itself. After making a cameo appearance in the war of 1812, the port took off in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s due to the high quality of granite that was quarried locally and shipped from the quay all around the world. Granite neck would have been a more fitting name.

Roy Moore’s is a real seafood shanty, it isn’t a fabricated place created in the 1990’s to resemble one. It was founded on the south side of Bear Skin Neck in 1918 while the granite industry was still flourishing. I have been eating lobsters and clams there since the late 1960’s. The building consists of a tiny single story fish shack with faded cedar shingle siding and a giant red wooden lobster sign out front. Inside there are several chilled display cases filled with fish and loaded lobster tanks circulating fresh salt water. Toward the back of the space there’s a small kitchen, a closet really, equipped for steaming lobsters and clams, a double bain-marie for holding hot chowder, and a couple of microwave ovens. There is no bathroom and, except for the half-dozen picnic tables on the back deck, there’s no seating either. It’s not luxury food, the Wampanoag Indians used to use whole lobsters as fertilizer. This is rustic New England street food. Lobster served the way it is supposed to be, simply cooked right out of the tank, cracked, with drawn butter and a napkin on the side. The same way they have cooked lobsters on Bearskin neck for hundreds of years.

An Old Shanty it is

Bearskin neck has been an active fishing port since the late 17th century but today it has tilted toward the tourist trade like most other New England ports. The shops along the neck are true old-school shanties transformed into art galleries, retail shops, restaurants and inns. Although the architecture along the avenue is seaside New England in style, there is no lack of low-end t-shirt and souvenir shops stuffed into these historic spaces. The art galleries are another story and include the work of artists known locally as well as others with global reputations like the late Martin Ahern and John Terelak.

Fitz Hugh Lane, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Paul Manship, Katherine Lane Weems and Walker Hancock all passed through this town during their careers and Manship and Hancock both lived within five miles of town center for most of their lives. Manship is best known for his sculpture of Prometheus that overlooks the ice rink in Rockefeller Center. Hancock is noted for creating one of the most lifelike busts of Robert Frost, now at the Robert Frost library at

The Menu

Amherst, during a series of sittings at his studio in Lanesville in 1950. For more on the history of art in Rockport and on Cape Ann, visit the Rockport Art Association on Main St. It’s worth the trip.

Art galleries and Bearskin Neck go together like steamed lobster and drawn butter. Now that the weather is warming up, take some time and head north to Rockport for some “lobsta and steemas.” Sit out on the back deck and let the ocean air blow over you. Just be sure to get to Roy Moore’s before 5:45PM, that’s when the last lobster drops into the pot before closing.