Seriously. I never eat whole lobster. The last time was in Cape Cod, when my friend Amanda steamed some for us that had just been caught that afternoon. I drove the three hours back to Boston and could still smell the butter and lobster on my hands, even after washing. There’s something pretty primal about boiling and eating a whole lobster (and if you don’t know how New Englanders do it, check out Kate the Great’s recent post on how she, who grew up in Connecticut, does it each year). I can’t think of a single local restaurant that serves a whole, steamed lobster. You could get a lobster from Keegan’s or Luken’s or Lobsta Bakes, but sometimes you don’t necessarily want to do it yourself. And sorry guys, I’m not going to Red Lobster (I know you are all shocked).
I will, however, go to Mitchell’s Fish Market. Mitchell’s, with locations in Newport and West Chester (though I tend to go to one of the original locations in Columbus, as it is across the street from a hotel I often stay at) specializes in seafood. They’re pretty well known for their sea bass (which Mitchell’s tracks via a complicated system to ensure it isn’t overfished) and are, though a small chain, still not a place I tend to visit when I’m in town (when I’m in Columbus for a quick trip and don’t manage to make it downtown or to Short North, the bartender knows my order).
So what changed my mind? Mitchell’s in Newport has a patio with a beautiful view of Cincinnati. I really wish more local restaurants were able to locate themselves with a view of the river (floating restaurants are expensive to maintain, and chains have more resources for expensive riverfront real estate), but Mitchell’s– whose food is good and made in-house– is a good choice if you want to skip the questionable Hooter’s or want more than just beer from the Beer Sellar. Their patio is so coveted, in fact, that they rent spots for the fireworks on Labor Day– that’s how good the view is.
So: the lobster. Mitchell’s always has lobster, but right now they’re doing a promotion: $29.99 for a whole lobster, salad, and small dessert. Additionally, their food is made in-house, down to their soups and salad dressings (unlike that other seafood chain), and if you are tired of lobster salad, or lobster rolls, or butter-poached lobster, and just want some straight-up, unadulterated lobster, you have a choice at a reasonable price.
The prices are good through Labor Day, and if you don’t want a whole lobster, you can also get snow crab legs or twin cold water lobster tails. If you don’t want a three-course meal, they have a special for just the twin cold water tails. Or, just hop in for happy hour, get a spot on the river, and enjoy the summer weather while it lasts.
(Mitchell’s PR team provided me with a lobster. Seriously. The opinions are, of course, all my own.)