I previously Chritqued New England Seafood Company (“NESC”) and raved about my favorite lobster roll. So, when I heard that NESC was behind Chicago’s first outdoor lobster fest, and that it included live music, Navy Pier, and the Air & Water show weekend, I had to attend.
The fest was held over two days, both inside and outside of the iconic Navy Pier Grand Ballroom, and it included two different stages and twenty-five bands, in addition to carnival games, vendors, and non-seafood menu items, as well.
Unfortunately, on the day I attended, the weather did not cooperate. The Air & Water Show was cancelled due to the fog and it was quite the chilly and windy August day out on Navy Pier.
However, all was not lost when the bands began to play and I stuffed myself silly with lobster. The delectable lobster roll confirmed that NESC offers the best one in the city. Fresh lobster meat that was flown in that day from Boston bursted from the perfectly buttered roll. Lightly dusted with paprika and a squirt of lemon, I was in lobster heaven.
The lobster taco was another favorite. Served in a corn tortilla, with a cabbage and tomato slaw, and an aioli and lime on the side, this taco was light and flavorful and needs to be added to NESC’s permanent menu.
The fried lobster on a stick, however, did nothing for me. It was a bit greasy and I found it difficult to eat. I ended up peeling off the mushy breading and just eating the lobster meat on its own.
The fried calamari were simply inedible. I tried taking a bite out of one and it was so tough and rubbery, that I could not even bite through it. I guess this was Lobster Fest and not Calamari Fest, after all!
The folks behind Lobster Fest admittedly ran into some problems over the weekend, but it was to be expected for a fest of this size in its first year trying to do what the Lobster Fest did – put on a weekend-long event, serve great food, provide entertainment, and hope the weather cooperates. I am sure that they learned a lot from the experience and will come back next year better, bigger, and even more tasty.