A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 24, 2004
Lobster Newberg (Lobster Newburg; Lobster Newburgh)
"Lobster Newberg' (also spelled "Lobster Newburg" or "Lobster Newburgh") was invented at Delmonico's restaurant in New York City in the late 1800s. The name change of "Wenburg" to "Newburg" is the often-told story.


Wikipedia: Lobster Newberg
Lobster Newberg is a seafood dish made from lobster, butter, cream, cognac, sherry, eggs and Cayenne pepper. The dish was invented by Ben Wenberg, a sea captain in the fruit trade. He demonstrated the dish at Delmonico's Restaurant in New York City to the manager, Charles Delmonico, in 1876. After refinements by the chef, Charles Ranhofer, the creation was added to the restaurant's menu as Lobster á la Wenberg and it soon became very popular.

An argument between Wenberg and Charles Delmonico caused the dish to be removed from the menu. To satisfy patrons' continued requests for it, the name was rendered in anagram Lobster á la Newberg or Lobster Newberg. It is still quite popular and is found in French cookbooks, where it is sometimes referred to as "Homard sauté à la crème." When Ranhofer's printed recipe first appeared in 1894, the lobsters were boiled fully twenty-five minutes, then fried in clarified butter, then simmered in cream while it reduced by half, then brought again to the boil after the addition of the Madeira.

27 September 1885, Syracuse (NY) Herald, pg. 4, col. 4:
THE DINING ROOM.
Maria Parloa's Contributions on Kitchen Topics -- No. LXXXV.
(...)
Lobster Newburg -- If provision is to be made fo six or eight persons, use the meat of a lobster weighing about four pounds, or that of two small lobsters; four tablespoonfuls of butter, two of brandy, two of sherry, two teaspoonfuls of salt, one-fourth of a teaspoonful of pepper, half a pint of cream, the yolks of four eggs and a slight grating of nutmeg.

Cut the meat of the lobster into small, delicate slices. Put the butter on the stove in a frying pan, and when it becomes hot, put in the lobster. Cook slowly for five minutes; then add the salt, pepper, sherry, brandy and nutmeg, and simmer five minutes longer. Meanwhile beat the yolks of the eggs well, and add the cream to them. Pour the liquid over the cooking mixture and stir constantly for one minute and a half. Take from the fire immediately at the end of that time, and serve in a warm dish.

Lobster Newburg may be served as a fish course in a diiner or luncheon. A garnish of triangular bits of puff paste may be added or the lobster be served on toast. No mode of cooking lobster gives a more delicate or elegant dish. Special care must be taken to stir the mixture constantly after the cream and beaten eggs are poured over the lobster until the frying pan is taken from the fire.

4 April 1889, Boston Daily Globe, pg. 4:
Lobster Newburg.
Cut the meat of a 4 pound lobster into thin slices or small pieces. Melt 4 tablespoonfuls butter. When hot add the lobster. Cook slowly 5 minutes, then add 2 teaspoonfuls salt, 1 saltspoonful pepper, 2 tablespoonfuls sherry and 2 of brandy, and a slight grating of nutmeg, then add 1 cup cream and the beaten yolks of 4 eggs. Stir until it has thickened slightly. Serve with toast points.

The lobster is sometimes served whole, and is known as lobster souffle with sauce a la Newburg. It is nicer, however, if cut up.

In the head of the lobster is the lady, so called. Put the thumb on the part that seems to have been made for it. Press down firmly.

Shake out the good meat and the "lady" will be left standing up.

Throw away the "lady" and take out the lungs.

Break the bones of the tail and take out the meat. The bones may be broken with the finger and thumb or with a hammer.

Of course you make it very nice without the brandy and sherry, but these give it a peculiar taste, which is generally liked.

In place of toast points, points of puff paste or chopped paste may be used.

The points are arranged around the side of the dish and the lobster poured into the centre.

It has a pretty appearance, and tastes as well as it looks.

24 February 1891, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 1:
Lobster a la Newburg.

15 August 1892, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 6:
THE STORY OF A FAMOUS DISH

How Lobster a la Newburg Got Its Now Famous Name.

Everybody who has a chance to dine at first-class restaurants once in a while knows lobster a la Newburg by name if not by sight and taste, that probably he has wondered why a little city on the Hudson and has no lobsters, or, at least, does not get them fresh, should give its name to this felicitous and richly seasoned article of diet. Well, Newburg has nothing to do with it, for the name is a concealed compliment, bestowed on the inventor of the dish by the late Mr. Delmonico.

Among the guests of his hostelry was a gentleman a little past middle life, who wore a gray moustache and a blue necktie, and who used totake his meals in the cafe, where he could smoke and be at ease. He is dead now. One evening while at dinner he was in the act of pulling a lobster to pieces, when the propietor sauntered near. He said: "Look here, Delmonico, is this the best you can do>"

"It is certainly the best way to eat lobster," answered the host.

"I'll lay you a hundred I'll show you a better way."

"Done," said Delmonico.

Two or three friends were invited over to the table to act as judges and to hold the stakes. The man with a blue necktie sent for a chafing dish, a lobster, and certain ingredients, and then and there compounded the viand that is served all over the country now. The party devoured it, pronounced it good, and Mr. Delmonico gracefully owned that he had lost his bet. Shortly thereafter there appeared on Delmonico's bills of fare, "Homard a la Newburg." He wanted to give credit to the inventor of the dish, but for fear lest he might offend him he transposed the letters in the first syllable of his name, so that the man with the blue necktie, who was really Mr. Wenburg, is disguised in fame as Newburg.

12 August 1894, New York Times, pg. 13:
BLOCK ISLAND BLUEFISHING
(...)
The tradition is that Sam Ward and Ben Wernberg conjointly invented that delicious preparation, "lobster a la Newburg," one day at Delmonico's, in a fit of desperation in thinking how to cook lobster in some other form than that incepted. The truth is that Sam Ward invented the dish here, in one of his numerous and characteristic experiments in gastronomy. Returning to New-York, he divulged the secret ot the genial epicure, the late Ben Wernberg, who thereafter called for it so often at Delmonico's in Broad Street, that the dish became popular on the menu as "lobster a la Wernberg." It is well known that shortly after, in consequence of some misunderstanding about a stock transaction between Ben and the late Charley Delmonico, the name was changed to the now universally-popular "lobster a la Newburg," because of the similarity of the name. It is customary for touring Englishmen to believe that, because of this nomenclature of the delightful dish, all lobsters come from Newburg.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Saturday, July 24, 2004 • Permalink