Zabar's renames lobster salad - because there is no lobster in it
August 12th, 2011
04:00 PM ET
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A New Orleans resident noticed something was fishy when he tasted the iconic lobster salad from New York gourmet food institution Zabar's.

Doug MacCash, who happens to be a reporter with New Orleans' daily newspaper The Times-Picayune, was on a family vacation in the Big Apple when he first came across the orangey-pink shellfish salad at Zabar's.

"I stood in line for a bagel, walked past the refrigerator case and thought lobster salad, that sounds good, I'll treat myself," Doug MacCash said. "It was very good but as I ate it, it seemed very familiar."

That's because MacCash wasn't eating lobster - he was eating crayfish, also known as crawfish or crawdads.

"In Louisiana, of course we eat a lot of crayfish," MacCash said with a slight laugh. "The tails looked like crayfish tails. I looked at the label and laughed. I've traveled to New Orleans to Manhattan to eat crayfish - it is a hoot."

"It is wild crayfish in our salad," said Scott Goldshine, General Manager at Zabar's. Other ingredients in the salad include mayonnaise, celery, salt and sugar.

MacCash's article "In New York City a lucky crawfish can become a lobster" was published on August 1 and soon after, an outpouring of attention surrounded the lobsterless lobster salad.

"I am stunned. I'm surprised, of course," MacCash said. "I'm the art writer for the paper, so it was just tongue-in-cheek - one of those observations that you sometimes come across."

Zabar's found out about the article a few days after and the decision was later made to change the name to "seafare salad."

"Why not call it crayfish salad?," MacCash said when asked about the new namesake.

Even though the name has changed, the price will remain the same - at $16.95 per pound.

"The taste is great, there are just some issues with the name of it," Goldshine added.

Zabar's, which is located on the Upper West Side and has been in business for over 70 years, is known for its seafood specialties like hand-sliced Nova salmon, whitefish salad and now - seafare salad.

So is the newly named seafare salad is flying off the shelves after the crustacean confusion? "I will let you know in a week if it is more popular," said Goldshine.

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Filed under: Food Politics • New York • News • Travel

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. r

    And when I ask for a half-sour pickle that better be what I get!

    August 15, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  2. chana

    omg peas and crayfish are nasty period!! eww just threw up in my mouth

    August 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  3. iamchris

    I have been eating both all my life and crawfish don't come from the sea at all. Fresh water only, besides that crap shipped from china. Two totally different taste and size ( no they aren't baby lobsters). Tell me when is the last time you seen a lobster in your ditch??

    August 15, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  4. Jerv

    "I will let you know in a week if it is more popular," said Goldshine.

    Yes, please let us know. I'm betting once folks see crayfish as an ingredient instead of lobster they drop it like a hot potato.

    August 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  5. Glenn

    I'm a New England transplant living on the Upper West Side and have loved Zabars for years–but crayfish isn't "homarus americanus" i.e. LOBSTER. Zabars has gone down a litttle step in my mind.

    August 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  6. Panties

    That is so sinful. In fact, it should be a federal crime.

    August 15, 2011 at 7:21 am |
    • RichardHead

      So are edible Panties...unless they are Cherry flavored !

      August 15, 2011 at 7:28 am |
    • Matt

      You mean sinfully good! Go eat some soylent green!

      August 15, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  7. Baxter

    Actually...if you look it up...lobster and crayfish are the same thing so the restaurant was legally in the right.

    August 14, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Uh – no. Actually, you should look up the difference between "similar" and "identical".

      August 15, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • Frenchy

      There is a big difference - I'm allergic to lobster, but I can eat crayfish with no problems.

      August 15, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • juan

      lobster and crayfish same family of species totally different creature zabars is in the wrong for false advertising

      August 15, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  8. Stranger than Kitchen

    Sounds sort of like the Whole foods selling frozen "organic veggies" from China.
    On this blog, there is a lot of improvisation when it comes to substituting items for like items, but it's totally transparent not a big secret.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  9. alimonyjones

    PDA's, Evil Grin couple, PDA's...

    August 13, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  10. I heart Evil Grin@Evil Grin

    well you know the peas are not an issue with me

    August 12, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  11. I heart Evil Grin@Evil Grin

    You don't like Lobster? I think I am going to have to rethink this relationship....I mean, what will I tell my parents!

    August 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Evil Grin

      The minions are allowed to eat whatever they like, as long as they never make me my most hated foods. And no peas in my presence.

      August 12, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  12. Evil Grin

    I'm afraid I don't like either.

    August 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  13. Multi-Tasking @ Work

    crayfish is wwaayyyy better then that nasty imitation krab crap...eeewwwwwww. however, you shouldn't be passing off crayfish as lobster, there is a huge difference

    August 12, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
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