I have been struggling to find time to blog these last few weeks (as is embarrassingly evident) and each time I sat down to squeeze in a post I realized that my blog editor just would not work. I couldn’t type anything. So while I love sharing my pictures, doing so without words I figured would not be a great way to review restaurants. Today, I finally had the time to scrape through the help forums to figure out how to fix it. As it turns out, a Plugin was not updated and had shut my WordPress editor down entirely. Of course, it was the one that began with “Z” (in an alphabetical list) so it took me a few hours to turn them all off and on individually to find the culprit. But here we are… we’re back! And just in time to post about our less than ideal adventure to Pier 81 on West 41st Street right on the river (just below The Intrepid) to visit the new North River Lobster Company.
(view of The Intrepid from the entrance to the pier for the North River Lobster Company)
It was Memorial Day, and a gorgeous weather day as well, and we had some time to kill. We had received some discount coupons in the mail so we decided to brave my concerns about it being a Frying Pan-style crowded shit-show on a holiday. It had some resemblance from what we knew about it… a floating bar with food, outside, on the river. Every time I’ve been to The Frying Pan with very good intentions I wind up leaving hating humanity, not nearly as drunk as I want to be, and typically thirsty and hungry after giving up waiting for hours on end for beer and food while being pushed and shoved by my least favorite brand of New Yorker: rude 20-something men and the women that want to feel temporarily loved by them. (Sorry humanity) But this was lobster… on a boat… just blocks from my apartment. We had to check it out.
A long line of buoys, that reminded me in a delightful way of many summers in Maine, lead the way to Berth 1.
There were a number of red stools lined up facing a dock with some picnic tables… but no floating restaurant that I could see.
Just a duck.
I looked around for where to go and then spotted this sign:
It wasn’t until then that I remembered that not only was it a floating restaurants, but that I read somewhere that it mentioned something about the boat actually going out on short sails. I guess we showed up at the perfect time for the boat not to be there. Luckily, it was about 3:30, so we figured we could wait the 15 minutes for the boats return. And then right on schedule… in it came…
We got onto the boat in short order and I was filled with excitement. The bottom floor was basically empty (signaling a low level of probability of pushing and shoving). Could this be everything I want it to be? Could this be a place on the water (that, while brown, I feel is totally underutilized as an attraction in this city), with outdoor and indoor (air conditioned) locations, that had available seating, Maine beer, and lobster?
We walked around the boat, which featured at least 3 bars on 3 different decks, and a lovely row boat filled with raw seafood.
On the top floor is an open deck. It was super sunny out, however, and this fair skinned weenie decided it was safer to sit at the bar under the overhang so we could enjoy the fresh air without the sun burn.
And look at that… two open seats!
We quickly ordered some Maine beers from Belfast Bay Brewery (one of our favorites) and toasted to what was looking to be a great place.
We weren’t overly hungry, but we skimmed the menu and decided to go Maine style and get steamers and lobster rolls.
That was when we got the bad news… turns out, since this place is still new they are working out some kinks. A big kink happens to be that when they go out to sea, they lose WiFi connection, which is how they place orders to the kitchen. Since they had just returned, there was a huge backup of orders, apparently, and our bartender said they couldn’t put in new orders for about 30 minutes while they sorted out the kitchen. But we had beers and good weather and a breeze… so we could wait 30 minutes!
Except 30 minutes became an hour.
And then we heard the chef had to leave the boat to get more food, and maybe there was a problem in the kitchen, but no one was really sure.
And another 30 minutes went by.
It’s now 5:30 and an announcement comes on that the boat is about to leave for the 6pm sail, and if anyone wanted to get off, now was their chance. We asked our apologetic bartender if he knew if food would be available to order before the 6pm sail and he very dejectedly informed us that he hoped so but doubted it.
Soooooo… dejectedly we went down to the raw bar and spoke to the lovely man behind the boat. He didn’t have much left at this point but we had to get something. I noticed some lovely looking crab claws so I went up to the bar next door and ordered 4 of them.
He was nice and must have taken pity on our lobster-less sad faces and threw in the rest of his crab claw stack.
We solemnly ate our pretty delicious claws and bid adieu to the boat just before they took off for their 6pm sail.
Huge points for the concept and the potential, and for the fact that it wasn’t super crowded and annoying (who knows for how long), but we have no idea how good it could have been.
And I’m still craving a lobster roll…