RED BANK, NJ: The holidays are upon us and that means planning on what you’re going to serve to your guests, or if you’re not hosting, something to bring as a guest.

We visited the Lusty Lobster in Highlands last week and saw how this 40-year-old business operates locally to bring their customers the freshest and best seafood available.

This is a tough business.  “It’s all perishable and takes a lot of forecasting (from previous years), and just plain guessing what seafood people want on their plates,” said owner Doug Douty.

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They have a retail store in front where just one look through the glass display case can make your mouth water.  There’s Flounder, Cod, Halibut, Shrimp, Scallops, Fresh Clams, Mussels, Steamers and Live Oysters and oh yeah, the lobsters! 

Ranging from 1 ¼ lbs. to over 3 lbs., bringing home this crustacean with their succulent meat will make you a hero of your household or hosts.

Plus, for appetizers or those on-the-go, you can take-out Smoked Fish Pâtés, Homemade Salads, Crab Cakes, Store-crafted Soups and other seasonal goodies!

Heading to the back of the former movie house building, we saw where the trucks bring in fresh deliveries almost daily!  Lobsters are sorted by size and placed in long salt water tanks. 

Here we found a thriving wholesale business with a client list consisting of some of the best restaurants in the area, many of which have been ordering from Lusty since they first opened, including Bahr’s Landing in Highlands, The Barge in Perth Amboy and Barnacle Bill’s in Rumson.

During the holidays, Lusty Lobster’s most popular retail seafood item is definitely the Wild Shrimp harvested from the Gulf of Mexico.  Wester Ross Organic salmon is also a very hot item that is fresh sourced out of Scotland.

Dan Pollard, General Manager of the Lusty Lobster offers a wealth of knowledge about the business, saying that they try to buy locally as much as they can. 

“There’s guys in Ocean City, Sea Isle City, and there’s Viking Village down in Barnegat.  A local boat goes out to the Grand Banks (off of Newfoundland), that we buy swordfish from.  A lot of our oysters come from New Jersey, Canada and Massachusetts.  Clams are all local.” said Pollard.

He educated us on salmon; “There’s a season for wild caught salmon out of Alaska, from early spring to mid-summer.  All the wild fish are controlled by the native American Indian tribes because they own the land.  They’re allowed to harvest a certain amount.  They harvest for themselves first, and sell the rest.”

So, how do they determine the quality of a fish? 

“The (seafood) salesmen know what I want.  If I don’t get I want it, it goes back to them.  We get “tail cut” pictures.  A tail cut is an indication of how nice the fish is.  We ‘re looking for a nice tight blood line and pinkish to orange to peach in the color of the meat,” he said this is very important to consider when ordering a Swordfish.

Despite the difficulty, everything and anything seafood related including live and cooked lobsters can be ordered and shipped overnight and kept cold with freezer packs.  Doug remarked on one case in particular: “We’ve got a customer down in Washington, D.C., who orders every year, year after year.  She just loves our products, because she knows she’s getting the best quality and the freshest seafood available.”

Call the Lusty Lobster now and place your order!  732-291-1548.

If you are looking for a way to thank your hosts, give a great holiday present, or just plain love seafood, you can purchase a gift certificate by clicking HERE.

Lusty Lobster is closed on Christmas Day, but you can pick up your orders on Christmas Eve, or even December 23rd, between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm.

Address: 88 Bay Ave., Highlands, New Jersey

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