Thu 16 Oct 2008
Can’t get up to Maine or even the Chesapeake for a quick meal? Tackle Box has you covered. Set up by the same team responsible for Hook, Tackle Box feels like a rehabbed coastal seafood shack plopped on to Georgetown’s M Street.
A few weeks ago, Mike and I wanted to do a special dinner at home. The weather was still too warm for risotto, our classic go-to for special splurge occassions and we wanted to mix it up with something new. It was time to try the Tackle Box lobster pot. Delivered in an aluminum bucket (yours to keep!), the lobster pot contains everything you need for a home cooked seafood delight: quahog clams, white water mussels, corn on the cob, chorizo, new potatoes, lemon and – the star of the show – Maine lobster. All you need to do is add white wine or water, whatever spices you’d like and put it on the stove to boil.
Here’s the rub: We are hypocritcal carnivores. There, I said it. I find animals both adorable and delicious. Okay, maybe lobster isn’t on the same level as a cuddly lamb (mmm… roast lamb) but I have a hard time looking a live animal in the eye and then putting it to death. Plus I’d heard all the horror stories about the lobster screaming in the water… oh man. So when we got home with our pot of goodies in one hand and a measure of dread in the other. Would the lobsters scream and thrash? Would we be horrified? Would it ruin dinner? Would our soft-heartedness win and we’d end up with pet lobsters in the apartment? If so, could I convince Mike to name them Lombardo and Bob?
We filled the pot with two parts water and one part white wine and turned up the heat. The lobsters went peacefully – rejecting their alternate fate of wandering the floors of our apartment hounded by a cocker spaniel – and we were on our way. We brought the liquids to boil, occassionally stirring and using the lobster color as a barometer for when everything was full cooked. Once they were a robust, rosy pink we drained the pot and piled the whole steamy mess into a bowl.
It was one of the wettest meals we have ever consumed. Seriously. I should have taken the table cloth off the table and laid down newspaper and super-absorbant diapers. After a summer of steamed crabs, I’d forgotten how much water these pink crustaceans are hiding. This thing is a feast in a bucket. Seafood cooking experience may be helpful but lobster novices like us managed to figure it out. Turns out we undercooked the lobster by maybe a minute or two but they were still delicious. The clams and mussels were succulent. The chorizo, which came pre-cooked, was a little tougher than we prefer but overall good. The spice of the sausage was a nice offset to the rest of the seafood.
It was a fun treat. If we were to do it again, I think we’d focus on a better seasoning combination for the meal and try to find a way to take the chorizo out before the rest of the seafood so it stayed tender. It might not have all the charms of a beachside dinner, but for a weeknight in DC it’s about as close as we can get.