Starting out as a pop up, it wasn’t long before Rock Lobster (@RockLobsterFood) gained quite the fan base. Following in the footsteps of other popular pop-ups, Rock Lobster has recently become a permanent establishment.
The restaurant is located on the hot Ossington strip and the small tightly packed space can seat 72. It has a warm cabin feel to it with the sea/Canadian themed décor. They’re closed on Mondays but open for dinner from 5pm the rest of the week. They close at 12am from Tuesday to Thursday and 2am from Friday to Sunday.
Like many new restaurants these days, Rock Lobster doesn’t take reservations. My friend Amy (she recently opened up an online dessert shop…check it out: Charming Desserts) and I arrived around 6 on a Wednesday and the place was pretty busy already. I can only imagine what the waits are like later in the evening.
As you’d expect from a place named “Rock Lobster”, the short menu is heavy on the lobster. The menu consists of a raw bar section (shrimp, oysters, crab and lobster tails) and also features seafood towers ($39 or $99). Non-lobster items include cold salads, crispy maple pork belly and flank steak.
A lobster supper is also available for $39 which includes a fresh whole lobster with sides and a biscuit. And if you’re a fan of caesars, the Rock Lobster Caesar is a popular drink which comes with a full lobster tail sticking out of it.
Amy and I started with the Lobster Poutine – with Yukon hand-cut fries, lobster bisque gravy, cheese curds, fresh lobster and chives ($13). I didn’t love my first bite but I have to say, it became very addictive!
Sure, it was a little on the salty side with the heavily salted fries and gravy but we licked up every bit of the poutine. Seemed like the poutine is one of their most popular dishes – there wasn’t a table around us which didn’t have this.
Up next was the Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese – with fresh lobster, aged Canadian cheddar and a panko crust ($14). They were quite generous with the cheese and I particularly enjoyed the crispy panko crust. However, I found that the small shreds of lobster got completely lost in the mac ‘n cheese and felt that the dish could’ve used a bit more seasoning.
The last item we shared was the Rock Lobster Roll – with Yukon chips and McClure’s dill pickle ($14). The lobster was a little more shredded than I prefer as I like my lobster roll with larger chunks. However, the sweet pieces of lobster (which could’ve used a touch less mayo) were wonderfully fresh and were perfect with the buttery roll.
Even though I was stuffed after eating my share of the roll, I couldn’t stop eating the side of potato chips that it came with. A little greasy but man were they addictive.
Overall, I had a fun time at Rock Lobster. I can’t say anything really blew me away but the food was solid. I’d come back again for some drinks, a small bite to eat and a good time.
At a glance:
• Started as a pop-up, now a permanent establishment on Ossington
• Seats 72; tightly packed tables; no reservations
• Closed Mondays; Open for dinner at 5pm until 12am Tues to Thurs and 2am Fri to Sun
• Lobster/Seafood-heavy menu; seafood towers available for $39 and $99
• Non-lobster items include salads, pork belly, flank steak
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars