When dining in a nice restaurant, is there a proper way to neatly crack and eat lobster? Is it okay to have a napkin around the neck?
Dear Love Lobster,
Unfortunately, eating lobster is messy, and there isn�t a nice and tidy way to crack the shells and remove the meat. In a restaurant, a bib will be provided when having lobster in order to protect your clothing because there will be inadvertent squirting when cracking.
There are two schools of thought about eating lobster. One is to eat the lobster meat immediately after cracking open each piece and the other is to wait until all the meat has been taken out of every piece and laid onto the plate.
If you want to gracefully eat lobster, then the latter is preferred. To elegantly dine on lobster in a nice restaurant, first remove all the meat, clean hands, and use a fork to dip each piece in the butter. For large lobster pieces, cut with a knife as you normally would cut meat. The process of cracking the lobster and removing meat does not take that long, probably about 5 minutes.
Typically, the lobster is cracked in the following order:
1. Claws: twist off the claws, crack the shell with the claw cracker, and remove the meat with the seafood fork. Discard the empty shells in the bowl provided.
2. Flippers: twist the lobster tail from the body. Break off the tail flippers, remove meat, and discard the flippers.
3. Lobster tail: insert a fork into the small end where the flippers had been and push the meat out through the large end. Discard the empty shell.
4. Small legs on body (Optional): if you plan to suck the meat out of the small legs, then break off each leg and place them on your plate. If you do not plan to eat the meat, then leave the legs on and discard with the body. Some prefer to skip the small legs in a restaurant as there is not much meat.
5. Tomalley: in the body, the mushy greenish-gray liver/pancreas should be discarded. Some consider it a delicacy; however, the liver accumulates dioxins and other environmental toxins and pollutants and may not be safe. (http://www.lobsterinstitute.org/index.php?page=22)
6. Roe: if you have a female lobster, you might see red roe or eggs, which are considered a delicacy and can be eaten.