From the Dock: Lobster mislabeling disturbing

First published in the MLA Newsletter, December, 2011

Dear Ms. McCarron,

I had what I can only call a disturbing experience last week while dining at one of the finer steakhouses in this country, Mortons. When the waiter came over to present the menu cart, which consist of fresh cuts of prime aged meat, vegetables, and a very large lobster, he proudly proclaimed this fellow was from Maine. I happened to be sitting right by the side of the table where the cart was wheeled to and I could clearly see that this 4+ lbs. crustacean was sporting a band which said “Massachusetts.”

When I corrected the waiter and said that this lobster was in fact not from Maine, he stood his ground and said, “All of their lobsters are from Maine.”  The cart was then removed from our view and our orders were taken. Several minutes later, another waiter visited our tabled and asked if we had any questions. I asked him where the lobsters they served were from. He also stated firmly that “All the lobsters they served are from Maine.” At this point, I explained that I was from Maine, and I had clearly seen that the lovely lobster they presented to us was not from where I was from. The waiter could have at this point accepted that ‘the gig was up’ but no, he dug his heels in and said I was incorrect.

Well, my dinner companions and I (two from Maine and one from Texas) just didn’t feel that this was ethical, especially from a restaurant that charges so much for a steak. So, the next day one of them made a comment on Twitter about it. The response is too much!

I have attached for your review a screen shot of their menu, which clearly states that they serve “Maine” lobster. Also you will see their Twitter response. There is now apparently some new “Main” breed of lobster which lives of the Atlantic seaboard from Labrador to NJ. Really?

I don’t know what you can do, but I do know that if France can protect champagne we should be able to protect Maine lobster for goodness sake. These men and women barely cut a living doing a dangerous job. No disrespect to our fisherman friends to the south, but let Massachusetts work on its own branding.

I have cc’d Mr. Nemitz from the Press Herald on this in case he feels that this issue is newsworthy. The Mortons we ate at was in Virginia. Though speaking with another friend of mine about this, she said she and her brother (a lobsterman) had the same experience with the Mortons in Colorado.


Respectfully submitted,

Leslie E. Linfield, Esq.

Portland, Maine