James Barron has an article today in the New York Times online that blows the lid off of a lobster salad deception taking place at none other than Zabar’s.
Then Doug MacCash, a reporter from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, stopped at Zabar’s while vacationing in Manhattan last month.“Lobster salad on a bagel: Why not?” he wrote on Aug. 1 on the newspaper’s Web site. “It was delicious, but the pink/orange tails seemed somehow familiar.”
He checked the label. “Wild fresh water crayfish?” he wrote. “Really? At $16.95 per pound?” He photographed the label, just to be sure.
Sure enough, the world of foodies went pretty much crazy over the news, with complaints of the counterfeits hitting the internet like waves. How could so many New Yorkers, with fine palates I might add, have been duped so easily? Well, according to Saul Zabar, crawfish and lobster is the same difference.
Saul Zabar, the 83-year-old president and co-owner of Zabar’s, was not. Selling lobsterless lobster salad, he insisted, was not dishonest. “If you go to Wikipedia,” he said, “you will find that crawfish in many parts of the country is referred to as lobster.”
He read aloud the beginning of the Wikipedia entry for crawfish: “Crayfish, crawfish, or crawdads — members of the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea — are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are related.”
Check those labels! There ain’t no lobsterless lobster salad in the Hamptons as far as I know.