Where to Get Your Hands on Florida Lobster This Season
The Have Nots:
To start with, what big name places are not serving spiny? For one, argent supporter of local foods, Johnny V, won't carry it; at least not at his namesake Las Olas Restaurant. I called up to ask and a manager told me that Florida lobster "Is kind of hard to get your hands on as a restaurant since the season is open to the public." Are recreational fisherman really making it that hard for commercial outfits using traps and nets to snag enough stock? Seems suspect, to me.
Canyon in Fort Lauderdale will also stick to serving only Maine lobster, as will Steak 954, 3030 Ocean, Chops Lobster Bar (it also sells Australian), and Cero.
The Kinda Haves:
I got a few "maybes" from my calls to other restaurants. A gentelman at Eduardo de San Angel put me on hold when I asked him and came back with an answer from Chef Eduardo Pria. "He said he'll probably do it once a week during this season." I'd really like to taste what Pria could put together with some fresh lobster. But again, your best bet is to call up before hand and ask.
Lola's on Harrison might run spiny lobster as a weekly special, as well. The employee who answered suggested I try their Maine lobster roll, which is always on the menu.
Finally, the most interesting answer came from Rino's Tuscan Grillon Las Olas. General Manager Gabriel told me they did not carry Florida lobster, but had some great Maine lobster raviolli. When I asked him why they didn't bother with our native version, he offered to get me some. "I tell you what, I'm busy right now but if you call back again tomorrow at 4 p.m. I can order you some Florida Lobster," he pleaded in a thick accent. "We can do it for you in a really nice way. Fra Diavolo, with clams and mussels, you're going to love it, I promise you." Anyone want to take him up on that? Call 954-766-8700.
City Fish Market - The newish Boca Raton seafood house is planning on selling Florida spinys at market price on a daily basis. Call to confirm availability, 561-487-1600. 7940 Glades Rd., Boca Raton.
15th Street Fisheries - Promised they will have Florida lobster this season, though the chef was not available to answer specific questions about availability and price. 1900 SE 15th St.,
Japango- Another interesting call. When I asked whether or not they'd have spinys, the woman on the other end covered the phone with her hand and screamed out to someone, "Hey! This guy wants to know if our lobster is from Florida!" It wasn't exactly my question, but I got a quick response. She uncovered the phone: "Yes it is." A few minutes later a fellow named Brandon called me back, but since I was on the other line, he left me a message. "We won't have whole lobsters available," he said, "But we will have Florida lobster tail every day." So there you go. 7367 N. State Rd. 7, Parkland. Call 954-345-4268.
Marumi - Finally, the best likely place to get Florida lobster looks to be Marumi sushi in Plantation. Melissa, the manager told us, "Yes, our diver will be bringing it in all the time once season starts." She added that you should call ahead for availability, since they usually only buy in a few at a time. "[Florida] had a very good mini season, though, so it should be consistant." At $1.20 an ounce for a whole lobster, Marumi's spiny is an absolute steal. You can get it done up in a number of ways: as crystaline chunks of sashimi; with onion and pepper as ceviche; grilled open face and spooned with a wild mushroom, onion, and sake butter mixture; tempura battered and served with a light, spicy aoli. They'll even take the shell, head, and legs and make you soup out of it. Options are pretty much endless. Call ahead: 954-318-4455.