It is a truth self-evident that cupcakes and lobster are two of the best foods currently in existence. But lobster cupcakes? Sounds intriguing at best, possibly unappetizing at worst. If nothing else, it wins for originality, right? Unable to resist the lure of such a question-provoking dish, we decided to travel to Empire Restaurant and Lounge, located on Boston’s historic waterfront, and check out this unconventional seafood concoction for ourselves. Spoiler alert: It did not disappoint.
Ok, first off, they’re not really cupcakes. At least not in a sugar-flour-butter-dessert-y sort of sense (though I wouldn’t put it past ’em. Let me tell you, Bostonians love their lobstah). But rather, they are savory, bite-sized, awe-inspiring collaborations of the best culinary components that Japan and Beantown have to offer.
Empire opened in 2012 as the first Asian eatery in Boston’s Innovation District. The menu boasts traditional Asian fare with a distinctly Bostonian twist –as one might guess, lobster features heavily (no complaints here). It is the newest in a long line of of crazy-amazing New England restaurants operated by Executive Chef Kevin Long and Big Night Entertainment Group. Long’s long list of credits (see what I did there…) includes the opening of SHRINE, The Scorpion Bar, High Rollers, Red Lantern, and GEM. I swear, this man churns out award-winning restaurants like a romance writer churns out paperback novels. And yet, somehow, he still found time to give us a demonstration of what is surely one of Boston’s most imaginative dishes.
Check out the video below to see Chef Long’s mouth-watering tutorial. And if the temptation is too great, try your hand at making some scrumptious lobster cupcakes for yourself. He breaks the recipe down so nicely, it makes even an elaborate dish like this seem totally doable!
1. With the sushi rice, form little “cups”- these are your base, and will hold all the other ingredients.
2. Mix together the roasted garlic, spicy mayo, and butter (melted).
3. Chop the lobster into small pieces, so it will easily fit in the rice cups.
4. Combine the spicy mayo sauce with the lobster. Mix it well, so it’s completely coated.
5. Place the mixture in a pan, and broil.
6. Dust the rice cups in potato starch.
7. Fry the rice cups until they are crispy and golden brown.
8. Place dollops of spicy mayo (with a swirl of eel sauce) on a serving plate, one for each “cupcake.”
9. Fill each rice cup with a small amount of diced cucumber.
10. Followed that up with a spoonful of the broiled lobster.
11. Sprinkle tempura flakes over the top.
12. Place one cupcake on top of each bed of sauce.
13. Garnish each serving with a small amount of tobiko.
14. Place a few spoonfuls of sea urchin row in bowl of ponzu sauce and stir gently.
15. Top off each cupcake with a spoonful of the sea urchin.
16. To finish it off, sprinkle with some chives.
17. Present with flare, and enjoy!
Let us know in the comments below if you attempt your very own lobster cupcakes. I’m sure they’ll be wicked awesome (hey, you can take the girl out of Boston…) Go Sox!
Head to our Guest Chefs section for more amazing videos w/ top chefs/bartenders in NYC (and beyond)!
Lauren is a New York based actor/singer/writer. She is a graduate of the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University as well as the College of the Holy Cross. She’s a fan of beer, pasta, and academic establishments with unnecessarily long titles. Find her on stage, or online– she’s there often.