Take Your "Lobster" for Lobster at The Palm

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Phoebe: Hang in there, it's gonna happen. Ross: What? Okay, now how do you know that? Phoebe: Because she's your lobster. Chandler: Oh, she's goin' somewhere. Phoebe: Come on, you guys. It's a known fact that lobsters fall in love and mate for life. You know what? You can actually see old lobster couples walkin' around their tank, you know, holding claws like...

You grew up in the '90s if you read the title and knew exactly what I was talking about. But what does eating at The Palm have to do with Friends? -- Well, absolutely nothing, but that's what I was thinking as I ate my lobster dinner and noticed other diners, mostly couples, enjoying the Summer Lobster Special at The Palm. The Palm opened in Houston in 1978, and had a long run as one of the main steakhouses in the city, but as the times changed and newer and slicker steakhouses emerged, The Palm got lost in the crowd. Houston was chosen to be the first prototype for what all The Palm restaurants will become as they look to rebrand themselves. Five million dollars later and The Palm is almost unrecognizable, except for the signature caricatures they were known for, but even those have been updated. They kept what works and that's the food -- especially the lobster.

Until the end of August, The Palm is offering its Summer Lobster Dinner for two. For $79.95, you get a 4-pound lobster ($15 will get you an additional pound), two starters and two sides.

My dining companion and I opted to go just a little bigger, because let's get real, size matters. For starters, we had the Classic Caesar salad, and after much debate, because I really love their lobster bisque, we chose the Watermelon and Mozzarella Di Bufala Salad. Although it was good -- the watermelon's sweetness went perfectly with the mildly salty mozzarella, making for a very refreshing dish for the summer -- I regretted my choice because I really love their lobster bisque.

The lobster came out in all its glory, split down the middle and served on individual platters. The server came by and cracked the claws from its shell in a matter of seconds, doing all the hard work for us. A small bowl of melted butter waited on the side. The lobster was grilled perfectly -- overcooking it makes it tough and rather tasteless -- but this was juicy and each bite had that honeyed flavor grilling will add to shellfish. What I was most excited about was the lobster tomalley; not to be confused with roe, the tomalley is the liver and pancreas of the lobster, found in the abdominal cavity. It's not exactly the most appetizing thing to look at and it's not for everyone -- oh, and some reports say it's toxic, but hell YOLO. It is full of flavor and creamy, and has a pleasant bitterness and lardy taste like that of pâté. Spreading it on some warm bread, I was in lobster heaven. Sides of creamed spinach and wild mushrooms rounded out our meal.

The 5-pound lobster went quickly between two people, and the price tag seems a bit high, but it was a pleasant meal and the service at The Palm is top-notch, making it a great place to enjoy a special dinner with your "lobster." It really has been around for as long as it has for a reason and with the new look and feel of the space, it's ready to compete with all the great steakhouses in the city.

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