#LAFoodCulture With Restaurant Owner and Operator Francis, of Smorgasburg's Seafood Hotspot Lobsterdamus
No one has ever had a bad day when eating lobster. The Food Tribe crew was proud to continue that trend when visiting Smorgasburg, which was making its debut on the Santa Monica Pier!
Among many standout dishes that blessed our palates was the beautiful culinary excellence that came from Lobsterdamus.
Smorgasburg usually takes place in Downtown LA as well as New York City, but on this fine occasion, the wonderful eats took their talents to the pier. It is a gathering of all the best local eating establishments that requires you to bring a big wallet and an empty belly - because you can’t leave without trying everything.
It was raining pretty heavily all afternoon, but that wasn’t going to stop the Food Tribe on its eating conquest. As soon as we hit the pier, we saw Lobsterdamus’ shop set up in prime real estate - right on the corner as soon as you walk up the pier steps.
We had a chance to catch up with Francis Reyes and discuss all things #LAFoodCulture, as well as what inspired him to start Lobsterdamus.
We love to hear the story of what inspired chefs and restaurant owners to get into the food industry. Francis used to help his grandmother out in the kitchen and admire his uncle’s BBQ skills.
“I learned at a young age that food was more than just a meal but an experience that you share with your loved ones.”
The biggest hurdles when starting a restaurant?
“Honestly, out of all my partners, I had zero cooking experience in the restaurant. All my experience in the hospitality industry was in front of house operations. But as an owner of a business in the food and beverage industry, I needed to learn the other half of the business. So learning how to cook and learning how the back of house operates was a huge challenge for me! Although it was tough, I had a lot of fun learning about it as well!”
“The reason we decided to grill our lobsters open-faced versus the traditional boiling is because we enjoy the flavor combination of smokey and sweet. The natural sweet flavor of lobsters combined with the smokey flavor from the mesquite charcoal is a match made in heaven.”
He ain’t lying.
Francis hooked the tribe up with a beautiful plated of grilled lobster over a bed of garlic noodles, alongside a couple massive orders of lobster truffle fries and lobster nachos. We had all the lobster.
There was not a sub-par bite to be had. We crushed most of the menu in mere minutes and it was right up there with the best lobster dishes we have ever had. Despite the medley of ingredients on the fries and nachos, the wonderful lobster is still the star of the show. They could have mailed it in and made just average garlic noodles and we wouldn’t have cared, but even those were incredible.
The mesquite-grilled lobster suddenly made perfect sense.
“Ever since I can remember, mesquite charcoal was the preferred way to bbq. My family rarely used gas grills because in the Philippines bbq is cooked on natural fire.”
Francis and the Lobsterdamus crew have been busy expanding to another location in New York City, where Francis recently got to experience the glorious Katz’s deli.
Despite spreading out east, there’s nothing that quite compares to the food culture found in LA. “I love how you can get your hands on food from all types of cultures in LA so easily,” said Francis.
We love to pick the brains of respected foodies in the area to uncover new hot spots, and Francis ran down a long list that #TribeMembers need to hit up, including Lawry’s Prime Rib, Dino’s Chicken, Crispy House, and more.
If you’ve hesitated going to Smorgasburg and wondered if it is worth the hype - absolutely go spend at least a few hours there. Everyone is friendly and generous, which is a surprise to no one given the array of goodies you can get your hands on.
And just know that all those people you see walking around with giant plates of lobster have the right idea. It doesn’t matter if it’s windy and pouring rain and you have to huddle under an umbrella to protect your precious lobster, you can’t hit up Smorgasburg without visiting Lobsterdamus.