You know the happy hour specials are working when everybody is still, happily, dropping gobs of cash in spite of the deals. A few seafood sliders and pints of beer here, another couple there, and before you know it your bill is pushing $30 when you were planning to spend $15 — and you don’t care. You squeeze in another pint before the clock tolls 7pm and put it on the plastic, out of sight, out of mind, let’s drink, it’s a beautiful fucking night in Greenpoint and I’m in no mood to go home.
So it goes at Lobster Joint, located five blocks or so north of Greenpoint Avenue Station on the G subway line — or, in the eyes of millions of New Yorkers, what might as well be the middle of the nowhere, aka Ohio.
Open since May 2011, this casual, counter-service spot takes its nautical design cues from typical New England seafood shacks: white walls, wooden tables and stools, kraken rum bottles filled with tap water, daily specials and set menus on blackboards, classic rock on the stereo, sea-faring beers like Belfast Bay Lobster Ale, Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner, and Whale’s Tail Pale Ale on draft or in bottles. In the backyard, an unexpectedly huge garden with long, communal-style picnic tables made from salvaged ceiling beams, partially shaded by a handful of blue Weihenstephan beer umbrellas.
It was there in the backyard, sky colored that heart-melting shade of idyllic spring blue, birds chirping, a toddler babbling and kicking rocks, hipsters in oversized glasses chattering about nothing in particular (“I fucking love summertime so much, goddamn.”), that I recently emptied my wallet on a few of Lobster Joint’s unbeatable daily happy-hour specials: $4 lobster and crab cake sliders with $4 draught beers. Yes. Yes. Yes.
The lobster sliders are serious: healthy hunks of fresh lobster meat mixed with herb mayo, atop a bird’s nest of cole slaw, spilling out from a miniature, lightly toasted Hawaiian bread bun, the whole gooey mess precariously skewed together by a toothpick. Outside of happy hour, three lobster rolls ($17 – $19) are on the regular, reasonably priced menu, along with lobster corn bisque ($8), lobster mac ‘n’ cheese ($17) and a lobster dinner featuring 1.75 pounds of steamed crustacean goodness ($33).
My brother-in-law joined me later and tacked a half-dozen $1 oysters to his sliders and beers. $4 oyster shooters and sliders and $16 pitchers round out the happy-hour deals, served Monday to Friday 4pm – 7pm. There are better drink specials in Greenpoint and Williamsburg — I’m fond of nearby The Mark Bar and their daily $3 drinks bonanza until 8pm — but the heaping $4 lobster sliders, the fresh $1 oysters, the private outdoor terrace, and the unpretentious, neighborhoody vibe all make this Northern Brooklyn seafood sanctum well worth the trek, stray groups of chattering cool kids be damned. For us locals, further proof we live in the heart of New York City’s not-so-recently relocated food scene.
Right, can’t leave out the crab cake sliders: just the right amount of crunch, a small dollop of tartar, and the crab cake itself one of the few in the area that isn’t 90% bread and 10% crab. You can actually taste the crab in Lobster Joint’s recipe. And god said it was good.