When people think of lobster, they often think of those whole red bad boys served with drawn butter that you crack into with a plastic bib and hand wipes at the ready. But you can easily find the coveted crustacean transformed into extravagant, dreamy dishes at restaurants around Southern California. Here are 3 places to get your lobster fix in brand-new ways.
Camphor, Los Angeles
This eatery in the red-hot Arts District feels like a bustling bistro but with an extra-innovative menu from a pair of chefs who met while working for celebrated French chef Alain Ducasse. The duo dreamed up their luxe lobster with basil bisque to showcase Maine lobster in a multitude of preparations, bringing protein, veggies, starch, and seasonal products to one pretty plate.
Poached lobster sits atop a ragout of chopped claw meat mixed with celery root, rice, cognac, and more. A luscious lobster-basil bisque sauce poured tableside is the perfect complement. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Fish Shop, San Diego
San Diego is the unofficial fish taco capital of the United States, and this taco shop with 3 local outposts gives guests a dozen seafood options to stuff in its corn or flour tortillas, including slipper lobster, a flat-headed, clawless crustacean found in warm waters.
Diners can get the sautéed lobster tossed in the shop’s signature Cajun dry rub with brown sugar or slathered in a choice of marinades such as sweet-and-smoky chipotle glaze. The slipper tacos come with pico de gallo and shredded cabbage, and are topped with cheese and a house-made cilantro white sauce. Locations in Encinitas, Pacific Beach, and Point Loma.
The Cannery, Newport Beach
When this waterfront restaurant’s owner returned from Boston last summer raving about a memorable lobster chowder, Executive Chef Victor Soto decided to make an elevated version of the comforting soup that would fit with The Cannery’s upscale, seafood-heavy menu.
Soto poaches Maine lobster, then sautés the claw, leg, and tail meat with leeks and sweet onion, reserving the heads and shells to make a stock that he blends with sherry and cream. The chef hand-blends the soup into a milky foam, pours it over the lobster meat in a cappuccino cup, then garnishes it with a garlic crouton, resulting in a whimsical starter.
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