What is Lobster Newberg?

This old-school dish has an interesting history
Jon Ashton

The creamy dish was invented at Delmonico's Restaurant in 1876.

In conversations about classic old-time American fine dining dishes, Lobster Newberg invariably comes up. But what is it, exactly?

First, a little history. The dish was invented by a sea captain and regular at New York’s legendary Delmonico’s restaurant, Ben Wenberg, in 1876. He demonstrated the dish for Delmonico’s owner Charles Delmonico, who was such a fan that he had the restaurant’s chef, the renowned Charles Ranhofer, refine it and add it to the menu as Lobster a la Wenberg.

It was an immediate hit, but despite its success it was removed from the menu after Delmonico and Wenberg had a falling-out. Guests continued to request it, however, so to keep them happy it was returned to the menu, albeit with a slightly altered name: Lobster Newberg.

So what’s in the dish? First, egg yolks and heavy cream are beaten together, then combined in a saucepan with melted butter and sherry. Once the mixture thickens, salt, cayenne, and nutmeg are added, followed by chunks of lobster, which are heated until cooked through. It’s traditionally served over buttered toast.

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Lobster Newberg is a famous historical dish and certainly delicious, but be warned — if there’s one thing it isn’t, it’s healthy.