Karmel Knocking Around

Lobster and pizza and kids and lipstick are not a great combination

I love lobster. And I love pizza. So why not venture to a place that puts the two together? Like Val’s Tavern, which boasts that it has been a staple in Rumson, New Jersey since 1942 and is the home of the famous “lobster pie.”

For anyone who doesn’t know, Rumson is the ritzy community on the shore of the Navesink River that has a landscape of stately manors – both old and new – one bigger and statelier than the next. You wouldn’t expect to walk in to any eating establishment, in Rumson, and find anything but upscale décor, fine (or somewhat fine) dining, and attentive service.

Guess what? We were fooled. You know what we found? A rude welcome from the hostess (apparently we were interrupting her important conversation); annoying little brats running from table to table, getting in our space, and grabbing our chair; and the old lipstick on the glass! Good old Rumson hospitality?

Val’s Tavern’s famous lipstick on the glass!

The place is family-friendly…obviously…you can bring your little ones and allow them to run around like they are in the McDonald’s play room with the bouncy balls…regardless that there is a bar in the middle of the floor with the regulars all huddled about watching the sporting events on the TV screens.

Val Tavern’s famous kid-friendly bar and bouncy room!

But back to the reason we went. The lobster pie. Let’s put it this way. Remember the old commercial where they said, “Hey, you got peanut butter on my chocolate!” And the other person saying, “You got chocolate in my peanut butter!” I’m sad to say that I was not as surprised and enthused as the people who discovered Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!

The pie was not bad…but it was weird. It was a thin crust but not pizza sauce, it had marinara sauce, which there is a choice of mild or hot. How about cocktail sauce if you are already deviating from the pizza sauce? And where are all of the people who complain about pineapple on pizza? They’re okay with this?

Val’s Tavern’s famous lobster pie!

It reminded me of when we were in Maine visiting Acadia National Park and there was an ice cream parlor selling, what else, lobster ice cream. Okay…it’s Maine. I tried it. The first scoop was decent and then it just went downhill from there. There are just some things that don’t go together. And I don’t care what my mother said – “It’s all going to the same place.”

Melissa is not the lobster connoisseur. I just dragged her along for the ride on this one. She had the chicken caprese panini which she said was pretty good and not greasy. I asked her, as I always do, if she would like to taste the “lobster” pie. I got the usual, “I’ll pass…” I, of course, have, and will, drive three hours for lobster. I still will. But unless I want a rude welcome, screaming meemies running all over the place, and lipstick waiting for me on my glass, I am not going back to Val’s. There are great places for pizza…and great places for lobster. We’ll just have to go our separate ways.

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