Thursday, February 13, 2014

Foodie Facts: Cold Water vs. Warm Water Lobster Tail

With Valentine's Day upon us, most of you have already made your plans for the weekend. If you have not yet made your plans... well you might be in trouble! We only have reservations available earlier than 5pm or after 830pm, and I'm sure most restaurants are in the same boat. Most of us have been trapped indoors all of 2014, and this weekend finally gives us a reason to get out, so hopefully you have made your reservations!

Whether you have or have not put your plans together for Valentine's Day, we want to share a little information about lobster that could lead to a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner, whether dining with us this year or - if you are running out of options -  preparing a lobster dinner at home for your loved one.

This weekend, we will be offering a S
outh African cold water lobster tail on our menu. When the average consumer hears "south African cold water lobster tail," all they really here is "lobster." After all, lobster is lobster, right? Well, you might be surprised. There is a BIG difference between a warm water lobster and a cold water lobster. When given the option, it is actually a pretty important decision... and there is clearly a right answer!

Most warm water lobster tails will come from Florida, the Caribbean or Latin America. Most cold water tails will come from Maine, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. As we had to explain to some of our staff, the further away you get from the equator, the colder the waters. Most producers of cold water lobster have very demanding quality control. Meaning they will not accept any molting lobsters. Whereas warm water lobster produces mostly come from countries more interested in money and have an attitude that says, "If you catch, we sell it." so basically the guy on the end of the line takes the hit.

So that's number one: the selection process of the producers is far different. Number two: some chefs will go as far as saying 1 out of 5 warm water lobster tails can be bad. Well, how do you tell if a tail is bad? Some of the tells are that it stays mushy after being cooked; it doesn't firm up or easily falls part; or it could have an ammonia odor. Whereas with cold water tails, it might take going through as many as a few thousand tails to find 5 bad ones. Yes, you will pay more for cold water lobster tails, anywhere from $5-$10 more per pound, but remember you always pay more for quality. In this case, a few more dollars to ensure your romantic evening goes on without a hitch is well worth it.

Which leads us to taste and texture... yet again, there is a BIG difference. Cold water tails will have whiter meat, are sweeter in flavor and will be more tender because they grow more slowly in the cold water conditions. Typically, the more expensive the cold water tail, the cleaner the taste.

Lastly, how can you tell the difference when shopping for lobster or ordering off the menu at a restaurant? The first thing to do is ask. And if your clerk or staff at the restaurant does not know, then it's a good bet to just stay away from the product entirely. This isn't a hamburger we are talking about. It's the highest quality product on the menu or the shelves. Someone in the place better know! You can also check the shells. Warm water tails may have distinct yellow spots or a yellow band across the tail. Your cold water lobsters will not have these types of markings.


  1. Always thought cold water lobster was better than warm water but never knew why, although I remember having warm water once and not being impressed. Your detailed explanation of the differences between the two was very enlightening. Kudos for posting the info.

  2. Warm water lobsters are great. The big difference is quality control. Plus the waters off California and Baja are the same as or colder than South Africa,

  3. Hey thanks u for the info on cold water vs wamer water lobster I will only. buy cold water for now on 1 love speedracerallen17

  4. Hey thanks u for the info on cold water vs wamer water lobster I will only. buy cold water for now on 1 love speedracerallen17