Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Best & Freshest Lobster at Quality Seafood Inc.

Written by: Jane Ong

For years I have been walking by this seafood place and I have heard a lot of people recommending it to me.  I never ate there until today because in the past when I had a job, I could only walk by this place during the weekends and the crowds and lines of people always deterred me from stopping by to give this place a try.

Today, my husband took me there and we spent around $50 to pick out our live lobster, a piece of garlic bread, 2 diet cokes, 2 slaws, 1 garlic butter sauce and 1 crab sauce. After I picked out a very energetic lobster that was kicking vibrantly, it was weighted by the counter helper there and we paid and watched him dump the kicking lobster in a transparent plastic bag, mark it with a marker, tie it and throw it in the steamer. We were also given a vibrating pager and was told that we would be paged 20 minutes later to pick it up.  Is it healthy to cook food inside a plastic bag in an extremely hot steamer??  I had never seen a lobster cooked this way.

The label on the tank said the lobster was from the East Coast, but where exactly I have no idea and the helper there couldn't answer me when I asked.  It may not be the famous Maine Lobster because if it is, then why can't the label just say "Maine Lobster"?  I wish this seafood market could put better labeling on the seafood trays and tanks because I couldn't tell where exactly any of them was from by reading the label. There was no label regarding the origin.

After seeing our lobster get tossed into the steamer, we went to the other side of the seafood market to order and pay for our drinks, bread and sauces.  There was no complementary sauce or anything there, even a lemon had to be bought.  We were given 2 wooden hammers and wet napkins or bucket for shells were not available.  The service was totally DIY. There was  unlimited supply of  free Spanish language newspapers for us to grab to line our table for the shells though.

As for the seating area, I give it zero star out of 5 because the stone tables and seats were kind of filthy. The seating area was extremely unpleasant according to my personal dining experience. It was right inside the parking structure and noisy with cars driving by with smell of exhausts.  Besides the cars, there were also lots of seagulls traffic  underneath my feet eating food debris, or flying around me in close proximity looking for food. There were moments when I was worried that one of them might actually land on our table and dig into our lobster. I was startled a couple times when some of them flapped their huge wings right next to me, taking flight, jumping from one table to the next.  I was also worried that some of the seagulls droppings may fall into our food. But luckily, that didn't happen.

Dining area is inside the noisy parking structure. The space is too confined, and cramped with smelly big trash cans around.  Lots of seagulls were flying and hanging out there. The tables can be dirty with seagulls dropping and food debris.  Whichever table we picked, there was always a big trash can really close by.  There is no air ventilation so when it's crowded in the summer weekends, it can get really hot and stuffy.

Even though we were very shocked when we were paged and handed over our steamed lobster in a really hot, dangling and dripping plastic bag, (we thought it was going to be on a plate or something), the lobster tasted exceptionally fresh and delicious.  The last time I had lobster like this was when I visited my family in Hong Kong a couple years ago. Live lobsters imported from Maine, Australia and New Zealand are widely available there and they are one of my favorites when eating out. But since I moved to California, I haven't had lobster tasted as fresh and delicious as the ones back home, until today.  For the lobster, I give it a 5 star out of 5.  The diet coke was however too watery. The garlic bread tasted somewhat stale and  tasted to be those from the supermarket bread isle which I always avoid because I don't like the smell, the taste or the texture of them. The slaw wasn't good either and we stopped eating it after a couple of spoonfuls.

So the lobster was the only fantastic thing from our dining experience at this place.  We will not go back and eat there again because of the disgusting dining environment.  We will however go back with our cooler and buy a live lobster and bring it home and cook in our own kitchen.  I don't recommend people eating there because there is no clean bathroom, and nowhere and no napkin to wash up after cracking lobsters and crabs.

As for the fried seafood there, I took a look and they didn't look too fresh or appetizing to us. The frying oil in the air smelled kind of old and rancid to me. This is another reason for not eating there, particularly for those who have respiratory problems.  Frying is for seafood  that is not too fresh anyway, the best way to eat fresh seafood is either eat it steamed or raw. So I personally don't recommend any of the fried seafood there.

This place sells really fresh  live lobster. I recommend bringing a cooler to buy the live lobster and cook it at home instead.
I'm glad I finally gave this place a try but I really don't understand why it's such a popular dining destination even though it's a pretty good lobster market.