Thursday, 29 May 2014

A Lobster Extravaganza at The Row House Lobster Co.

Happy One-Hundred, everyone! This post is number 100 in all of the adventures that I've shared with you and as I sat back and tried to decide what would mark this fantastic milestone something jumped out of me in all in shiny and new glory!

What's that something, you ask? Well, it's actually some place and it just happens to be one of Downtown Charlottetown's newest (and in my opinion hippest) restaurants! The Row House Lobster Co. is nestled at the center of Victoria Row and everything about it speaks to Summer, enjoyment and the freshness of the sea itself. Everything at the Row House is infused with Island charm that'll steal your heart from it's rustically chic atmosphere right down to the menu which is loaded with inventive and delectable takes on Lobster.

Now you understand why I chose to pay the Row House a visit for number one-hundred, don't you?

Oh, and did I mention that I'm practically a lobster virgin? It might be difficult to believe, but in my life I've had all of two, minute tastes of lobster. The Row House changed all of that, turning me into a total lobster lover! And truly, I'm never going back! This taste of pure PEI was way too impressive and I have a feeling I'll be trusting the Row House with all my lobster needs in the future, because honestly, that food was good enough to marry.

Chef Erin Henry worked magic with these fantastic crustaceans that must be tasted to be believed! Offering everything from Tacos to Lollipops and of course the ever classic Church Supper, lobster gets the five-star treatment in every way. It was so difficult to choose from their menu that the only way I could decide was to tell myself that I'd be back again and again to sample the entire thing!

As for today, I tried two different takes on lobster and dessert; so I'll stop torturing you and let you in on the goods!

For starters I went with the PEI Lobster Poutine, which consists of hand cut, PEI Potato fries, butter poached, lobster, b├ęchamel, cheese curds and a touch of "this is the best thing ever". Right from the start, this poutine has a presence that commands your attention, with its colorful and artistic presentation to the scent of heavenly creaminess. It's two of PEI's flagship foods, in one uniquely Canadian dish that pleases from every aspect. The first bite is an experience in and of itself as generous chunks of rich, melt-in-your-mouth lobster enrobed in buttery b├ęchamel and melty cheese curds mingle with deliciously rustic fries. Talk about decadence, this is a purified bowl of decadence topped with just enough crisp green onion to create a contrast of flavor that's perfectly artistic. Unbelievably smooth and a paragon of awesome, this poutine is way too good to share.

Have I got your attention yet? Well stop drooling on your keyboard, because there's much, much more! Chef Erin had even more heart-stealing tricks up her sleeve for me today.

But before I go on, all due tribute needs to be given to the fact that everything that comes from the Row House's kitchen is made in house. Preserving the timeless Island tradition of down to earth, home made cooking under the influence of an inventive and current menu. I really feel that fact speaks for itself, but I'll just add that you can taste it in every single bite and see it on every plate.

And next I went for a classic, the Row House's Mini Lobster Roll, which is served with their slaw and I added on a side of Potato Salad. Because who can have chilled lobster without potato salad?

Starting with the potato salad, I've got to say something. Remember how I just said everything is house made? Well the Row House's mayonnaise is too and it's so light that I could swear this mayo's been whipped into perfection! Covering the perfectly cooked potato gems, there's a lot to love about this salad. Crisp and cool, indulgent and oh, so fresh. It makes the lobster proud to share a plate with it and it makes me proud to say I've eaten it! I could go on and on just about the potato salad, but I know you're just waiting to hear about the lobster roll.

As you can see, it's plated so sweetly that honestly my sense of aesthetic just wanted to sit there for eternity and stare at it's loveliness. Thankfully, my sense of smell and taste were way too excited to sit still and I went for it! The roll is done just right, fluffy on the inside with a slight crisp on the outside thanks to being perfectly toasted with lobster's best friend; butter! The lobster...oh, for the love of lobster! It was creamy, smooth, savory, buttery, delicious, with a hint of sweet and...uh, let's just say it's quintessentially PEI, because I've exhausted most of the positive words in my food repertoire. Seriously though, the lobster was just that stupendous! The way the Row House treats lobster is exactly what converted me into a lover and I owe them a lot in that sense. A kitchen party on the palate, this is one gourmet lobster roll that you cannot miss!

Of course, just like everything, the slaw was perfectly matched to the lobster with it's light body and bold flavors. Crisp veggies are complimented with a kick of citrus infused vinaigrette that sings on your taste buds. It's like the bow on the plate that's an invariable Epicurean's picnic!

Now, before I lead you into the endless pleasure that was my dessert, I have to give a shout out to both Cynthia and Jessica. Wholeheartedly devoted to the Row House, Cynthia is a sweetheart who takes pride in the work she has done to bring the Row House to the successful and undoubtedly perfect sensory experience that it is. Talking to her, it was easy to see how, with her motivation, the Row House is what it is. And then of course, there was Jessica who is just about the kindest waitress ever! Miss Congeniality? You bet! As we spoke, I thought to myself how perfect it is that Tourists who come into the Row House will be meeting her since she's got the heart of Island hospitality down to an art!

Let me say this about dessert; Turtle Cheesecake in a Jar. Now, I just want you to take a second and prepare yourself because its even better than it sounds! (Not entirely sure how that's possible, but it is.) The miniature mason jar that it's presented in yet another adorable nod to the Island's culture. Disarmingly rich from the first, purely indulgent bite, this cheesecake is perfect in every way! So sweet and pure, it sent me on a round trip to Heaven! Layers of pecans, caramel, chocolate cheesecake and a crunchy cookie bottom topped with whipped cream could easily make Turtle, chocolate or otherwise, incredibly jealous! The epitome of richness, smoothness and velvet in  your mouth, I wasn't going to miss a taste and got that jar clean in order to enjoy every. single. bite.

The perfect end to the perfect meal with a cup of my favorite drink; coffee!

After my visit today, I could see, taste, smell and completely understand that the Row House does our Island proud. Their heart goes into everything with a respect for the food that is truly mirrors the effort and dedication of our lobster men and women. From the very first minute to the very last bite everything at the Row House is polished and flawless.

On PEI, everyone has to get a feed during Lobstering season a boy did I get mine. The Row House has only just opened but I predict that they're going to be a wildly popular fixture on Victorian Row for generations to come.

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