It was a fight to the death (for some lobsters, at least).
At September 18th’s Brooklyn Lobster Takedown at Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Gowanus, homecooks battled head-to-head in a chance for glory—and some cool Anolon, Wüsthof, Cuisinart and Microplane cookware. Eleven contestants participated with crustacean-filled dishes, ranging from cold soup and dumplings, to sandwiches and decadent lobster ‘n’ grits. I got to judge the contestants. Here’s a peek into that ridiculously indulgent experience.
Sara Ventiera is a roaming eater and traveler who looks for amusing stories across the United States. She works from New York, Los Angeles and various places in between. Her work has appeared in theVillage Voice, New York Daily News, Zagat, FoodNetwork.com and more.
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Some guests were smart enough to pick up a round of lobster, piling everything on a plate, before taking a seat to sample the delicacies. (Not me.)
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Lobster-obsessives attending the Takedown gorged sauntered past members of the public playing shuffleboard.
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The first lobstery dish was Rachel Scherer's "wicked good" New England-inspired Humdingah, a chilled corn soup with tarragon, shallot and dijon, topped with lobster salad and basil oil.
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Scherer took home second prize for her rich, yet fresh and summery dish.
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Jennifer Hickey, contestant number two, named her dish Ode to Pinchy after Homer Simpson's crustacean buddy. She marinated her lobster in a soy-ginger-garlic-butter mixture, and finished it with chili oil-pickled lotus root, garlic and scallions. Hickey won third place.
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Basil Lee and Kevin Stafford, the dudes behind Finback Brewery, fried up some lobster rangoon for dish number three.
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Lee and Stafford's "Lost in Burma," featured lobster, chive, chile and creme fraiche, tucked inside a wonton wrapper, fried and served fresh with flakes of salt. They received the honor of "People's Choice" award.
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Chef Kelvin James of Sapphire's Kitchen [https://www.facebook.com/Sapphires-Kitchen-868449023248580/] (Sapphire is his daughter) soaked his tail in a habanero-garlic butter.
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James, a longtime Takedown competitor, took home his first win, coming in first place for his lobster and grits with habanero-garlic butter, finished with a squeeze of lime and cilantro. The latter was picked fresh from his home garden.
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Souffle cup number five was titled Rasta Lobsta, island-inspired curried lobster fricassee with tomatoes, dished atop coconut rice and peas.