The fast-food giants occasionally like to go up-scale. Subway and McDonald’s temporarily put Atlantic lobster on their menus in recent weeks to attract attention and to add a little variety.
At McDonald’s outlets in Greater Victoria, the McLobster promotion was advertised as running from June 17 to June 30, while quantities last. I detected a glimmer of excitement about this: two colleagues declared they were curious and planned to visit McDonald’s. One of them went to the drive-through to order his McLobster in the first half hour that it was available and learned that two had already been sold.
McLobster sales appeared to be brisk. Signs saying “So tasty, it sold out” went up at two downtown outlets days before the deadline. I know this because after buying and eating one, I tried to buy a second a few days later to see how it compared.
The McLobster cost $7.49. It was lobster meat mixed with celery, lettuce and lemony-mayo-like dressing on a toasted white hot dog bun. I really wanted to like it.
But my McLobster was disappointing. I am not one of those snobby people who disparage McDonald’s food (or maybe, instead of snobby, they are just more discerning and health-conscious than me). I buy a Double Cheeseburger every few months, and enjoy it, despite its saltiness. But the McLobster was bland and dominated by a lemony taste that was a bit unpleasant; the seasoning needed to be different and maybe the lobster needed to be fresher. That was based on eating one McLobster on opening night. But my drive-through colleague was also unhappy with McLobster.
Subway's lobster sandwich was much better. It costs $9 for a six-inch and $15 for a 12-inch, and when I checked Thursday, it was still on sale.
The sandwich is offered with standard Subway ingredients — the buns, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, etc. The lobster amount is fairly generous and my sandwich included an unbroken claw piece. I could taste the sweet lobster, unlike with the McLobster, where the lobster meat was difficult to identify.
I fretted about what to include with my lobster sandwich, not wanting the toppings to overwhelm the lobster, and opted for lettuce, tomato, cucumber and “white” cheese on a plain white bun.
The drive-through colleague also checked out the Subway version and declared it to be a reasonable facsimile of a lobster roll sold in Nova Scotia. I've never had the real thing, but he has.
So, Subway was a surprisingly good lobster experience; there was even a bit of bonus shell. Despite the price and the fact that I’m cheap — $15 for a sandwich! — I'll probably buy another one.
Update: Under the theory that more is better, my colleague went back to Subway and ordered a six-inch sandwich with a double portion of lobster (there was a $5 surcharge). It was good but a little too rich, he said.
The McDonald’s McLobster.
- - -