Ben Sargent, aka ‘The Lobsta Pusha,’ is clawing his way to the top

Ben Sargent, aka ‘The Lobsta Pusha,’ is clawing his way to the top
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

By Dan MacLeod

Dr. Claw has gone primetime!

Notorious seafood maven Ben Sargent now has his own show on the Cooking Channel — a stunning triumph for the Ali G-influenced lobster roll “pusher” who was once shut down by the Health Department for crafting his crustacean sandwiches without a permit.

The show, “Hook, Line and Dinner,” premieres on June 7, sending Sargent across the country on a vintage BMW motorcycle in search of the best seafood. It also puts him in Emeril Lagasse and Rachael Ray territory.

“It’s pretty wild,” he told us in a chat in the Manhattan test kitchen of the Cooking Channel. “It’s a bit of a shock to the system, especially since I didn’t let anybody help me.”

Ben Sargent in his Dr. Claw mode.
Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short

The fancy kitchen stadium is a far cry from the rowhouse basement in Greenpoint where Sargent, in his mien as Dr. Claw, churned out 150 lobster rolls a night at the height of his popularity. His character was a cartoonish drug pusher with an oversized, gilded lobster claw necklace, sunglasses and a chinstrap beard — but his “crack” was genuine lobster rolls, which he handed off surreptitiously in brown bags on street corners after taking orders on Facebook.

For now, rock lobster trafficker is laying low.

“Poor Dr. Claw,” Sergeant said. “But big things are happening for Ben.”

“Hook, Line and Dinner” premieres on Tuesday, June 7 at 10:30 pm on the Cooking Channel (TimeWarner channel 144 and Fios channel 166; not available on Cablevision).

Photo by Stefano Giovannini