What food is more emblematic of summer than lobster?
"People crave it," says Cull & Pistol Chef Dave Seigal, whose lobster rolls are the restaurant's biggest sellers by far. "They want that butter-toasted, warm bun and succulent lobster meat."
Sure, ice cream, Mexican street corn and guacamole could also give lobster a run for its money. But lobster is so popular in the warmer months, restaurants almost can't meet the demand.
"We sell out [of lobster rolls] almost every night," says Distilled Chef Shane Lyons, who hauls in 80-100 lobsters a week now and estimates he'll have to soon bump it up to around 120. "There's nothing better than having a lobster roll on a sunny day, sitting down with a cocktail outside."
If you're looking to mark summer with some succulent lobster, here's a look at some crustacean-tastic dishes from around the city -- including lobster rolls and beyond.
Distilled's lobster roll
"If you're going to call it a lobster roll, its needs to have lots of lobster," Lyons said. Indeed, Distilled's take offers a lot of lobster for your buck. The knuckle meat is slathered in a sweet corn "mayo" -- a faux mayo made with corn puree, tofu and vegetable stock so it's not too fatty -- and then topped with half a tale and a claw, all contained in a brioche bun. $26; 211 W. Broadway, 212-601-9514, distilledny.com
La Cenita Steak's butter-poached lobster
As if lobster wasn't delicious enough, this Latin-influenced Meatpacking steakhouse serves its butter-poached lobster with a trio of tasty, flavorful ingredients -- mango, chipotle and avocado mousse. $21; 409 W. 14th St., 646-289-3930, emmgrp.com/restaurants/la-cenita-steak
ABC Kitchen's wood-oven-roasted Maine lobster
ABC Kitchen has won praise for its fresh, wood-oven-roasted lobster, which is split open and flavored with a slightly spicy lemon-chili vinaigrette. At nearly $40, it's also the biggest splurge on the menu. $39; 35 E. 18th St., 212-475-5829, abchome.com
Luke's Lobster's lobster roll
The lobster roll at this growing seafood shack and food truck is as classic as they come. The Maine lobster is served chilled atop a buttered, toasted New England split-top bun with not too much mayo and lemon butter. Gluten-free? You don't have to go sans bun, thanks to a "gluten-friendly" roll. Throw in some pickles and chips for good measure. $15; various locations, lukeslobster.com
The Clam's fried belly clam and lobster sandwich
With a name like The Clam, you know this is a spot devoted to seafood. The new West Village restaurant recently added a special lobster roll-meets-fried clam sandwich to its menu. Comprised of a lobster salad on a buttery, griddled brioche, topped with crispy fried belly clams, it's the best of both worlds. Market price; 420 Hudson St., 212 242-7420, theclamnyc.com
Jean-Georges' lobster tartine
For the ultimate splurge, if you can afford it, you can't go wrong with Jean-Georges' signature lobster tartine. Served in a lemongrass and fenugreek broth, it's indicative of the restaurant's Asian-influenced French fare. You'll find it on the 7-course dinner prix fixe. $198; 1 Central Park W. (in the Trump Hotel Central Park), 212-299-3900, jean-georgesrestaurant.com
NYY Steak's lobster mac and cheese
Three words -- lobster mac and cheese. OK, technically that's four, but only three count. This decadent side at the midtown steakhouse is one of several lobster dishes at the restaurant, which include a lobster tail and whole Maine lobster. The mac and cheese is the ultimate in comfort food. $15; 7 W. 51st St., 646-307-7910, nyysteak.com
La Nonna's spaghetti allaragosta
Move over, meatballs. At this refined Italian eatery, it's all about the lobster. In this spaghetti dish, a lobster tail is joined by blistered cherry tomatoes, watercress oil and bottarga for a sweet combination. $25; 184 Kent Ave., Williamsburg, 718-302-1100 (Credit: La Nonna)
LAVO's lobster Benedict
For a decadent start to your morning, consider this lobster specialty at the upscale Italian spot. It's only offered as a brunch special and features a whole 1-lb. lobster with a poached egg in a champagne hollandaise, all over two English muffins. $38; 39 E. 58th St., 212-750-5588, lavony.com (Credit: LAVO)
L'Ecole's steamed lobster
Starting May 30, L'Ecole, the restaurant at the International Culinary Center, will start serving dishes featuring Fourchu lobsters, rare delicacies caught off the island of Fourchu, Canada, and considered by some to be the best lobsters in the world. See what all the fuss is about with this steamed lobster with drawn butter. It's also available as a lobster roll. Part of the dinner prix fixe for a $7 supplement; 462 Broadway, 212-219-3300, lecolenyc.com (Credit: L'Ecole)
Beauty and Essex's lobster tacos
Summer calls for tacos. Among the small plates at this stylish Lower East Side restaurant, you can do even better, thanks to the lobster tacos, which feature beer-battered Maine lobster with red cabbage slaw and a poblano cream. $21; 146 Essex St., 212-614-0146, beautyandessex.com (Credit: Beauty and Essex)
L&W Oyster Co.'s lobster BLT
Forget lettuce, the "L" in this BLT should always stand for lobster. In this monster sandwich, two slices of Texas toast are stuffed with a split lobster tail, bacon, arugula, tomatoes and Sriracha aioli. It's fittingly on the "bigger things" section of the menu. $24; 254 Fifth Ave., 212-203-7772, landwoyster.com (Credit: L&W Oyster Co.)
Cull & Pistol's split-grilled lobster
Cull and Pistol is known for lobster, sourcing it all from its sister company, The Lobster Place, a seafood retail store next door. You can find all manner of lobster, from warm and cold lobster rolls, to steamed and grilled whole North Atlantic lobster, on the menu. The chef himself is partial to the grilled variety, which is brushed with tarragon butter. $29; 75 Ninth Ave. (in Chelsea Market), 646-568-1223, cullandpistol.com (Credit: Max Flatow)
Catch NYC's lobster mashed potatoes
The catch is, among other things, lobster at Hung Huynh's Meatpacking seafood destination. Here you'll find a variety of inventive dishes that incorporate the crustacean, including the chef's signature Cantonese lobsters. But what's not to love about the unique lobster mashed potatoes? It doesn't skimp, either -- the side is topped by a lobster claw. $15; 21 Ninth Ave., 212-392-5978, emmgrp.com/restaurants/catch (Credit: Catch)
This isn't just one lobster dish, but six. On June 2, Louro throws its annual Lobsterpalooza dinner, a multicourse menu celebrating the crustacean. Dishes include a lobster crudo with pickled strawberries, vanilla oil and oat crisps; a tempura squash blossom filled with lobster and house-made ricotta, artichokes and arugula pistou; and poached lobster with fermented avocado, poblanos, corn and tortilla foam. $75, starting at 7 p.m.; 142 W. 10th St, 212-206-0606, louronyc.com (Credit: Michael Tulipan)
MexiBBQ's lobster cakes
Get a double dose of these pan-seared lobster cakes, which are made with chef Jonathan VanSleet's chipotle aioli. They also come with grilled asparagus with bacon and a sweet potato salad. $24; 37-11 30th Ave, Astoria, 718-626-0333 and 1633 Second Ave., 212-837-8285, mexibbq.com (Credit: MexiBBQ)