On the West Side of Manhattan, directly on the Hudson River, resides the North River Lobster Company. This sprawling ferry-like boat is a floating lobster shack that takes off for a sail around the harbor several times a day, bringing guests what it deems to be the best of both worlds: lobsters and sailing.
The concept is simple. Locals and tourists alike can congregate on Pier 81 at 41st Street for a cocktail or glass of wine before boarding the lobster boat, at which point they can put in their food orders, take a seat, and enjoy the view. There are no tickets required and no reservations that need to be made. First come, first served.
The menu is extensive — particularly its raw bar offerings and lobster roll selections, now boasting four different types of the beloved shellfish sandwich. For purists, there is a traditional New England Classic lobster roll; secondly, the New Yorker made with onion, celery, and whole grain mustard aïoli on a New York pretzel bun; thirdly, the Pacific Meets Atlantic filled with nori, sweet chile, and scallion sriracha lime aïoli on a brioche bun; and finally the Norwegian with herb mayo on a brioche bun.
For those who love shellfish and also enjoy eating their meal with others, look no further than the on-board raw bar offering everything from oysters to Jonah crab claws to large format samplers. Most notably is the largest of them all — the Cadillac Mountain platter — that features 12 shrimp, 24 oysters, 12 little neck clams, eight Jonah crab claws, and one whole chilled lobster.
Alternatively, non-seafood-lovers need not fear. They can also indulge with tasty menu items like the succulent burger or the savory grilled chicken wrap with an option to add a side of flavorful truffle Parmesan fries that should not to be missed under any circumstances, regardless of the main dish selected. North River also has a full bar complete with reasonably priced thirst-quenching cocktails, bottles of wine, and a seasonal beer list — all curated to be paired perfectly with their fresh seafood dishes.
While the company has been sailing since May 2014 while offering seasonal eating and entertainment centered around the all-important lobster, it has expanded its offering this year with its new restaurant — aptly named Fish Bar — which is a more upscale, Mediterranean-bite-style restaurant on a three-story yacht. The North River Lobster Company is also gearing up for its Fourth of July celebration where guests can purchase tickets for a longer sail that includes an open bar and seafood buffet. The cruise will sail south from Pier 81 to the New York Harbor and then will turn up to the East River to get in position to view the fireworks near the Brooklyn Bridge.
No matter which day you sail, one can’t help but feel overwhelmed by how beautiful and romantic this trip is — particularly when they sail at dusk. If you’re with a partner, family member, or even friends, this trip brings a feeling of warmth and acceptance to its journeys — perhaps because it proudly sails the LGBT flag, but also because once you’re on-board, you feel like family.