We tend to think of there being only a few ways to cook lobster: You can steam or boil it, maybe split it and grill it, or turn it into ravioli. But in reality, lobster is an incredibly versatile protein, and last weekend the folks from Luke’s Lobster, a renowned New York-based seafood shack, set out to prove just that by inviting 15 home cooks to create lobster dishes unlike any that had been created before, and by donating 150 pounds of lobster meat to the cause. The event was a part of Matt Timms’ Takedown Series, which in recent years has also hosted similar events based around chili, ice cream, lamb, and other foods of cultish devotion.
The event was held at the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, in the up and coming Brooklyn neighborhood of Gowanus, and was a certified smash. Favorite dishes included a deep fried lobster ball, lobster in lobster broth with oyster crackers and serrano chile, Hawaiian-style lobster poke, a lobster roll on homemade Korean milk buns, smoked cheese balls with lobster, and fried lobster croquettes with mango hot sauce.
The judges were Food Network’s Claire Robinson and Ben Sargent and Bon Appetit’s Scott DeSimon, and they awarded top honors to Adrian Ashby, who served an arepa stuffed with duck fat-cooked lobster and rice and beans; the people’s choice award went to Bryan Gittleman, who served a lobster sausage bathed in red curry sauce. The winners took home prizes sponsored by Cuisinart, Analon, and Wusthof, and gift certificates for two pounds each of split lobster tails from the Luke's Lobster "Luke's At Home" online seafood shop.