Help in planning a Down-East lobster dinner menu

Joined Dec 23, 2000
Just found out I'm in co-charge of a LobsterFest for the Hinsdale Rotary Club to be held on Fridary, February 19. It was announced today in our weekly newsletter. First I'd heard about it. :rolleyes:

We hold it in a community house which has a pretty decent commercial kitchen, so the equipment shouldn't be a problem. We'll be boiling between 60 and 80 live lobsters. We traditionally serve fried corn fritters with this (we haven't done it for about eight or ten years, so I'm a little rusty.)

I'd like to have fried clam strips either as a side or appetizer. (I spent 4 years hanging out at the sidewalk kitchen in front of Ivar's Acres of Clams on the waterfront in Seattle, soaking up his remarkable fried clams, and I have very fond memories.) I make a mean Tartar Sauce, so that's not a problem.

I priced FedEx-ed live Maine lobsters... :eek: :eek: :eek: so we will probably get them from a large Chicago seafood distributor, Supreme Lobster, which is conveniently nearby.

I need other suggestions - apps and nibbles, sides, desserts, and so I have turned again to my always-reliable staff :p at ChefTalk!

I'll appreciate your suggestions as I always do.


Mike :smokin
Joined Aug 25, 2009
Found this menu ...not sure how formal your going ?

Goat cheese medallions
Roasted olives with fennel and lemon
Asperagus / Bacon
Spicy scallop / cranberry jam
Pinot Gris Pear sorbet
Lobster with caviar mousse and dijon mustard sauce
Dessert: Chocolate Mousse with a 3 split strawberry / mint leaf on top or

Keller's Molten Chocolate tart.


Joined Dec 14, 2006
Is this event supposed to be authentic Down-East?

Clam chowdah.
Steamed clams not fried (and never strips).
Corn on the cob.
Roasted or baked potatoes, or potato salad.
Cole Slaw
Choc cake or brownies or strawberry shortcake.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Ya beat me to it, KCZ.

Mike, at traditional clam bakes, everything actually is steamed. So you might give some thought to that. Steaming the clams would also make the logistics a little easier, particularly if you stick with the corn fritters.

Were it me, I'd have a New England style clam chowder as a starter. And something like an apple pan dowdy for dessert.

Along with the whole lobsters I'd have corn on the cob, steamer clams, roasted or steamed potatoes, and lots and lots of melted butter.
Joined May 26, 2001
While petals has a great menu, KCZ's is more like what I'm used to getting in New England. But I'd substitute your corn fritters for on-the-cob, since you can make them just fine with canned or frozen and what you can get on-the-cob in February is not fit to eat. :angry: And I agree about the steamed clams -- esp. if you are going to do the fritters. What with all the melted butter, you don't really want another fried dish.

May I add Indian pudding (cornmeal, molasses, eggs, spices) as a potential dessert? :lips:

And don't forget the whipped cream on dessert, whatever it is. :thumb:
Joined Dec 23, 2000
Thanks, gang -

We're off to a good start and I appreciate it all!

Don't know why I didn't think of chowdah and Indian pudding right off the bat. Lived in and around Boston for 12 years, so I should have had it in mind. :blush:

My wife does an excellent chowder, and I've recently made Durgin Park's recipe for Indian pudding. That will definitely be on the bill of fare. With a nice vanilla ice cream. By the way, if anybody gives you an Indian pudding recipe that calls for corn syrup, cross him off your cooking list. Only dark molasses (not blackstrap - it's too strong) is appropriate.

Keep going! :thumb:



I'm with Suz'... corn on the cob ain't with it in February, and frozen - or even TJ's canned is quite good, so we'll stay with fritters, most likely.
Joined Dec 23, 2000
Sounds like you come from the right place to advise me...

How about the steamed clams? (You may not wean me away from my beloved fried clam strips (with tartar sauce) but I'd like to think about them.

Can you refer me to a recipe?


Joined Nov 6, 2004
Hi Mike>>>

you have a PM :thumb:


Edit add: Wow, is everything sounding good! My wife and I drove to Maine before our first child was born. What great food we had...and the chowder. You simply can't eat without trying a bowl from each and every place!

The party's sounding really good.
Joined Dec 23, 2000
Hey, Dan...
All you have to do is join the Hinsdale Rotary Club, and you can come, too!


We gotta get together one of these days.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
burr ridge, how far are you from STL?
menu reads great.
Lemon ice cream another good option, though apple crisp or pandowdie sounds wonderful too....with loads of whipped cream.
Joined Aug 25, 2009

A few more to the list:

Oyster crackers for your chowder
Steamed mussels
Crab cakes
Crab dip

Red potato salad
White beans
Green beans
Cucumber salad
Pasta salad
Wild rice
Sweet potato fries

Hollandaise sauce with orange peel (maltaise sauce)
Tomato or bell pepper puree (sabayon)
Bearnaise sauce

Flavoured butters
Maitre d'hotel
Joined Dec 23, 2000
"burr ridge, how far are you from STL?"

Not too close, Shroom' - it's at the far end of I 55, just outside Chicago. But, if you want to come up and give me a hand, let me know. :roll: We could certainly use an actual caterer!

I'm pretty much a Missouri type, myself. Born in St. Louis; mother from Troy, and father from a farming family in Jackson, just up the road from Cape Girardeau. They met at the U of Missouri, Columbia (the only one at that time.)

They went east, though, and I grew up in Bethesda, MD, so I'm part of that Eastern Establishment. Do my best to live it down, since I've come back and lived in flyover country since 1961, though with a 10-year hiatus on the West Coast, where I acquired a taste for Dungeness crabs...:thumb:

Joined Feb 24, 2009
Being from Maine I have been to a couple of Down East Shore Dinenrs in my life time hehe

Quite often strawberry shortcake on a biscuit is served.

And NEVER clam strips. hehe

the clams and lobster should be steamed of course.

Have also seen bean hole baked beans served in stead of cold slaw too.
Joined Dec 23, 2000
Obviously, I have to acknowledge your regional expertise...

But since I'm in charge (and doing most of the cooking) by jing I'm gonna have fried clam strips! :lol: Just a little gourmetic license.

As a matter of fact, our likely supplier, Supreme Lobster, sells prepard, battered clam strips, so I expect we will just get a bushel of these and supply the hot oil ourselves.

Thanks for reminding me of the baked beans; another lapse of memory on my part. They're on the tentative menu now. And, the strawberry shortcake will be an excellent excuse for the large quantities of whipped cream suggested by many on this thread.

I continue to be grateful for your interest and help. :thumb:



Joined Dec 14, 2006
Clam strips??? Oh, I am in pain here. LOL, j/k.

As to the steamed clam recipe, I don't believe there is get a bunch of clams and throw them in a big pot +/- some seaweed, although I expect the latter would be hard to come by in the Midwest.
Joined Jan 10, 2010
Oh yes, an apple crisp would be great. Another thing that I'm sure everyone would enjoy is a chicken pot pie or say a pumpkin cheesecake.
Top Bottom