Mr Claws is a Americana lobster roll popup in the space of the former Bill’s bar on Smith St, operated by next door’s Huxtaburger. Although it is being written about by the advertorial online media with their typical generic positively, I found little to praise. What I was served this week had little resemblance to photos of the rolls that were served to the swag whore food bloggers last month at the launch.
The is the wasabi mayo version with the addition of some Japanese pickled ginger. You could taste the lobster, sort of. My impression is that this is not food, but satire. $18 for a tiny sweet brioche roll, containing more dressing than lobster, is not an undersized meal but an oversized insult.
The two sliced halves of a dill pickle from a jar and a small pile of chip sticks represent a distorted simulation of something real from somewhere far far away. Look at what’s on offer (for about the same price) in New York City. That’s a lobster roll. It has pieces of meat you can identify as being lobster shaped. Real fries. And a pickle as big as your hand.
In contrast, the product from Mr Claws is infinitely distant from its origins, symbolically and geographically. They don’t even bother offering a background story about its American origins, its regional credentials. The PR content does however mention the use of imported (presumably frozen) lobster. Why not fresh local produce?
A month ago the rolls were being advertised as being $12, or $15 with the chips and pickle. Now they’re only offering the package deal for $18. $3 has been added to the overall cost and the option to go without the superfluous sides is gone. To say I was underwhelmed would be an understatement. Incredulous is closer to the truth. Do the operators really think people will continue to pay for food like this?
Reviews in aggregator sites have been scathing about the disappointing experience and terrible value for money. Similar complaints have been made about Belle’s Chicken on Gertrude St, but the complaints are even stronger about Mr Claws. The Americana food trend has reached a new low. This is a bad joke at the expense of consumers. It has jumped the lobster.
If you want some Americana seafood, go to Miss Katie’s Crab Shack instead. They buy their seafood fresh from the Queen Victoria Market across the road.