Imagine going to a restaurant and ordering a lobster salad, getting your order, eating it and not even noticing that the main ingredient – the lobster – was amiss. Well, apparently that has been the case at Zabar’s for the last decade and a half, the grocery located on the Upper West Side. The crazy part of this is, is that according to a recent article in The New York Times, “apparently no one noticed.”
It was only when a reporter from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, Doug McCash, made a stop at Zabar’s that the omission was noted and some days later a blog in the West Side Rag was written entitled with the question, “Zabar’s Committing Lobster Salad Fraud?” But this wasn’t enough to phase the 83-year old president and co-owner, Saul Zabar. He insisted that “selling lobsterless lobster salad, was not dishonest, getting pedantic in his comment, “if you go to Wikipedia, you will find crawfish [that was in the salad] in many parts of the country is referred to as lobster.” He then went on to read out loud 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.” Thus, he argued that one could term a product whereby the main ingredient was crawfish, a lobster salad.
Still, the reality is that when one is ordering a lobster salad, they have in mind the Maine lobster. Indeed, Mr. Zabar did admit that a lot of his customers – while noting the tastiness of the salad – said that it was not a lobster salad.
So, let this be a warning for all those in New York who frequent Zabar’s. Next time you go and order a lobster salad, ask for a list of ingredients before footing the bill for a lobsterless lobster salad.