The McLobster, considered a Maritime delicacy by some, has made its way to Ontario.
The sandwich has been sold in Atlantic Canada for more than a decade, as one of McDonald’s many regional specials around the world.
On a toasted roll, the chain combines “100 per cent Atlantic” lobster meat with celery, green onions, shredded lettuce and a “lemon mayonnaise-style sauce” for $6.79 plus tax. The combo, advertised with fries and a Sprite at some locations, is $8.99 plus tax.
“Ontarians have been asking us to serve the McLobster for years,” Anne Parks, director of menu management, said in a statement on Thursday. It will be available until Aug. 23.
Monica Vaswani, who first tried the McLobster when she travelled out east years ago, was so excited to see the sandwich in Ontario that she immediately got one in Markham.
“It’s not much different from there. It’s not bad for the price,” said Vaswani, 25, adding it was a “little bit watery.”
“Anybody who would normally eat lobster, you’ll know it’s always going to have a little bit of a wet consistency because it’s coming out of the ocean. . . because you’re eating it in a sandwich it gets a little bit soggy.”
Vaswani, a big lobster fan, said she’d get the fast-food version again in Ontario, even though she thought it was a little better on the east coast. Others were put off by their first experiences.
“It was very plain,” said Wendy Kwan, a Ryerson University student, who tried the McLobster on Wednesday for the first time. She said she wouldn’t be trying it again.
“It was horrible, all the lobster was pushed to one side,” she said. “It was fishy but it wasn’t a lobster taste.”
When Alex Davies looked at his McLobster he noticed the bun-filling ratio “wasn’t particularly good” and the filling wasn’t as chunky as in the pictures. He still tried it.
“The taste was disappointing, because the lobster was completely overpowered,” he said. “It basically tasted like tuna salad, but I wouldn’t say it was bad, just that it wasn’t the blast of lobster flavour that I was hoping for.”
Selling lobster through the chain is a good way to boost sales of the meat, said Geoff Irvine, executive director of the Lobster Council of Canada.
“If we had our choice, we’d rather be selling lobster in different forms than McLobster,” Irvine said from Halifax. “But we don’t have that choice and it is a good way for lobster meat to be sold and it does introduce lobster to more consumers.”
Earlier this year, the Canadian Press reported lobster prices had fallen to about $4 per pound in Nova Scotia and as low as $3.25 on Prince Edward Island. Last year, the association said, prices were around $4.50 to $5 per pound.
McDonald’s spokeswoman Stephanie Sorensen said the McLobster wasn’t introduced in Ontario because of increased Lobster supply. “It was something we planned well in advance based on the popularity of the McLobster in Atlantic Canada and the popularity of fish sandwiches in Ontario,” she said.
Even if it’s their first try, Irvine said most consumers would know that higher-quality lobster is available for more money, comparing different dishes to beef burgers and sirloin.
For several years lobster supply has increased and the industry has had to find more channels to sell the meat, Irvine said.
“That’s one of the reasons it’s being sold in the fast-food segment today,” he said, adding lacking predators and warmer water have contributed to a boost in the crustaceans.