When a restaurant has the word lobster right there in the name, it has to deliver the goods. Thankfully, City Lobster, located on 49th Street in the prime stretch between Times Square and Rockefeller Center, is a very solid option for those looking for steak and seafood in a low-key and upscale environment. We dined there recently at the invitation of the restaurant, and were quite impressed.
City Lobster (alternately called City Lobster & Steak) has a wide menu that hits on both steakhouse and seafood restaurant classics. On the steak end, Prime Angus steaks are available as a 10-ounce center-cut filet mignon or a 14-ounce New York strip. A ribeye or porterhouse would have been a nice addition for carnivores as well, but those two options are well-prepared, and partnering them with a BLT wedge, shrimp or crab cocktail, and creamed spinach should satisfy anyone in the mood for a good steak with all the trimmings.
But the restaurant really excels in its seafood offerings. You can get your lobster steamed, grilled, broiled, topped with spicy butter sauce, pan-roasted and flambéed with brandy and lobster sauce, or stuffed with jumbo lump crab meat and herbs. Alaskan King Crab legs are also available (either steamed or sautéed with sweet garlic butter), as are a traditional Maine clam bake (with lobster, mussels, clams, corn, and potatoes), oysters, seafood platters, crab cakes (surprisingly served as an entrée and not an appetizer), a lobster roll, fish and chips, cioppino, pan-seared sea scallops, salmon, Chilean sea bass, five spice yellow fin tuna, and grilled West Indian jerk shrimp.
We started by sampling a popular appetizer, Asian lobster spring rolls with chile mango dipping sauce. The rolls were full of lobster (as expected) and not too greasy, and while we had to flag down a couple employees until we could find someone who could tell us what type of oysters were in our sampler, they were fresh and from sources you don’t see too often in the city. If you’re a fan of the increasingly hard-to-find surf and turf, this is the place to get it: Steak was perfectly cooked, lobster was fresh and nicely steamed, and crab legs were ample and super-fresh, although we’d suggest getting them steamed instead of swimming in butter sauce.
The atmosphere inside the restaurant (a large portion of which is a bar that hosts a big post-work crowd) is relaxed and jovial, with a slight nautical theme, and service was professional if slightly aloof. But if you find yourself craving seafood in Midtown, City Lobster has something for everyone.