Macaroni and cheese is perfect as it is, on its own. It’s also a great vessel for certain proteins, like pulled pork and bacon. But shellfish? Nope.
If you’ve ever been to Italy, you’ve (hopefully) noticed that no Italians let cheese anywhere near their seafood dish. A nice piece of fish gets a squeeze of lemon and that’s it; shrimp and lobster are similarly cooked and served in a way that lets the quality of the seafood shine with nothing else to distract from the flavor. One thing that distracts from that flavor? Cheese. Try to sprinkle some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on your seafood linguine in Italy and a hand will materialize out of nowhere to smack yours away from your plate.
Plenty of Italian-American restaurants have no problem with shrimp parmigiana, but try to serve that to a Florentine and you’ll be thrown to the curb.
In our opinion, there’s only one dish in the entire Italian-American canon that can combine seafood and cheese and get away with it: clam pizza, preferably from Frank Pepe’s. The flavor combination of sweet, briny clams and grated Parmesan (no muzz!), garlic, and pizza crust shouldn’t work, but it does.
Lobster mac and cheese obviously isn’t an Italian-American dish, but the same flavor principles apply here. Lobster is delicious on its own; there’s zero reason to drown it in noodles and cheese sauce. Macaroni and cheese is perfect on its own; there’s no reason to sully it with chunks of lobster. It’s a prime example of gilding the lily.
There’s a reason why lobster mac and cheese is such a popular menu item at steakhouses these days, and it’s not because it’s a winning flavor combination (would you add shrimp to mac and cheese? Exactly). The addition of a few sad, invariably overcooked chunks of lobster to macaroni and cheese allows restaurants to sell it at an extreme markup, and everyone who orders it is taking the bait. Lobster mac and cheese is making suckers out of all of us.
So stop ordering lobster mac and cheese (I’d say stop making lobster mac and cheese, but nobody goes out and buys a lobster just to ruin it with macaroni and cheese). It’s a waste of money, and it doesn’t make the mac and cheese taste any better than it would otherwise.