I am being totally serious when I tell you that it is McLobster time here on the east coast of Canada. I am fairly certain that the state of Maine in the U.S. also participates in this fast food curiosity, which is basically a lobster roll. And yes -- you buy the McLobster from McDonald's. The sandwich is conveniently offered during the local lobster fishing season.
If you are not familiar with a lobster roll, it is a summertime and tourist treat featuring chunky, chopped lobster meat mixed with mayonnaise, minced celery, lemon juice, salt and pepper. This mix is filled into a bun along with lettuce. Hotdog buns are a popular choice, but we often eat them in homemade rolls, pita pockets or even baguettes. It sounds quite simple, but this combination is divine. The rich lobster meat really stands out against the soft bun and subtle tang of lemon. Lobster rolls are best served with freshly cooked lobster meat from the shell, as canned lobster has more of a 'fishy' taste without the firm texture.
So, the question truly begs -- 'what the hell is lobster doing in McDonald's?' It's a good question, since lobster is not the only rare item you'll find on their menu; it just depends where you are. It's kind of ironic that the corporation responsible for 'menu consistency', and a factory approach to food, has a policy that encourages 'local' foods on the menu. Some of this has to do with adhering to cultural taboos that make Big Macs a 'no-no', but most of the time, they are just trying to get bums in seats by offering the foods people like to eat. Wow. And I thought McDonald's was trying to conquer the world one McNugget at a time, when in reality, it's good business to offer McRice, McCurry and even McGyro.
Nonetheless, I gave up the idea of seafood as a viable fast food option a long time ago after eating a Filet-O-Fish. I will chalk some of this snobbery up to living near a constant supply of fresh 'fruits of the sea', but honestly, what passes for fish in most chain restaurants is an insult to the ocean. It's no wonder the sea gets so angry. But I digress...Truthfully, for a McDonald's item, the McLobster is passable. McDonald's does source its lobster from the local market, so they are using fresh lobster. The sandwiches are prepared onsite, so they are as local as you could expect. They resemble a lobster roll, and the ingredients are close. But not quite.
I'm not sure why McDonald's can't just do mayonnaise, but they invented a McLobster sauce that also has what tastes like tartar sauce and salad dressing. I find it really takes over the whole thing, along with too much celery. The result is a McSOS - tiny pieces of lobster meat, drowning in a sea of commercial dressing, and overpowered by a storm of celery. How tragic. I have a PSA from the 1980's that could help McDonald's improve what I think was a decent attempt:
Admittedly, I am a critic of McDonald's, but I do like that they are adapting to cultural tastes and using seasonal, local food. It's just too bad the competition for the McLobster is so much better than this alternative.