Jordan’s Lobster Dock seemed like it would be right up my alley. It’s been open since Lou Gehrig was playing first base for the Yankees. There’s outdoor seating. It’s hidden on a side street in the old waterfront neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay. They proudly boast there is “No Tipping” necessary because of the cafeteria style setup. And they serve loads of seafood. Martin Scorsese even attached his name to a Danny Aiello movie about the place.
On top of all that, I’d heard that they stuff their lobster roll even thicker than they do at Pearl Oyster Bar, yet Jordan’s charges less. I’d been told that the lobster meat on a Jordan’s roll is not only more abundant, but there is no mayonnaise to distract from the flavor. Now, I’ve been known to drive 8 hours to Maine for a lobster roll, so I couldn’t wait to give Jordan’s a try the next time I found myself in Sheepshead Bay.
Last week, I made a pit stop at Knapp Street as I crawled along the Belt Parkway with my mouth fully watering. I figured I was about to try my new favorite spot in Sheepshead Bay. I was so excited, you'd think I was being made. I must have made four calls to Jordan's to make sure they were open. When I walked into the clam bar it seemed like everything I’d heard was true.
I was wondering why I was the only one there when the runner brought my $5 bowl of lobster bisque. As I swallowed my first spoonful, I had a moment of realization akin to Tommy's just before he gets whacked in that other Scorsese movie: Goodfellas.
Ooooh NO! BANG. The lobster bisque wasn’t just the worst bisque I’d ever had, it was the worst soup I’d ever put to my lips. So watery that it was nearly completely devoid of flavor, it tasted like it had been sitting out in the rain.
When the lobster roll arrived, I was pleased to see that it was, as advertised, overflowing with meat. However, the lobster meat had long since turned rubbery. There was no mayonnaise, but maybe mayonnaise is a good thing. If it’s so great to have a lobster roll sans mayonnaise, why does Jordan’s serve theirs with a packet of Hellman’s on the side?
To be fair, the steamers were absolutely delicious. They were sizeable, and the clams were fresh. But when I went back inside for more butter, I witnessed a man politely request a lobster cracker only to be told that he’d need to leave a $2 deposit, lest he walk off with the implement. I know that Jordan's is an institution in the neigborhood, but that policy just makes the joint seem sleazy. I wanted to love Jordan's. But I understood why the only people on the block were all streaming into the T.G.I.Friday’s next door.
The whole experience really made me feel like Tommy: I was about to get made, but I ended up on the floor in a pool of my own blood. That's that. I had to sit still and take it.
3165 Harkness Avenue, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn 718-885-2086