Brooklyn’s underground lobster roll connection has re-surfaced — and he’s going mobile.
The Boston native behind a covert New England-style lobster shack, who calls himself Dr. Claw, makes fresh lobster rolls for feverishly hungry seafood crazed fans in his basement apartment in Greenpoint for the past few months.
The lobsters come daily from Maine — the controversy is far more local.
Claw’s start-up catering business — and the frequent customers who leave with unmarked brown paper bags — has begun to attract suspicion from his neighbors — and the feds.
When Claw, dressed like a gang-banger (complete with a gold-plated lobster claw necklace), leaves his apartment to make a delivery of his own, elderly neighbors shut their door, close their shades, and peer through the blinds.
“They think I’m dealing drugs,” said Claw, who is actually fencing rolls at below-market prices, typically less than $15. “I’ll admit, having customers walk off with a bag looks pretty sketchy.”
State environmental officers are rumored to be on Claw’s tail, so he keeps it on the down low, using an elaborate beeper and Facebook system to deliver directly to patrons anywhere in North Brooklyn.
To preserve his identity, Claw has grown a beard and donned a hooded jacket and sunglasses, and does not give his name out to customers. He has also increased surveillance on his potential customers’ Facebook pages, weeding out anyone who looks like a health inspector or a Department of Environmental Conservation officer.
“If the person is an artist or a member of a dance troupe who lives in the neighborhood, that’s cool. If the person has a short haircut, lots of muscles, and a polo shirt with the word ‘DEC’ on it, that’s not so cool,” said Claw.
Claw is in the process of getting his catering license, which could prevent state officials from trapping him in bureaucracy’s net. In the meantime, he’s washing his hands as much as he can to get rid of that lobster smell and catering to the demands of his high-rolling clientele.
One of Claw’s customers stops by in a white BMW convertible with a different Russian model girlfriend every time.
“The girl thinks he has never done this before. She thinks it is her special treat,” said Claw.
Others are less picky.
“My older friends tell me to drop the act. They say, ‘We’re just hungry. We need the roll,’” said Claw.
He can barely keep up with demand. As everyone knows, when you have a jones, you have a jones.
“I never thought I’d be doing orders of 30 lobster rolls at three in the morning, but there’s no difference between making 30 rolls and making three, so I do it,” said Claw.
Customers know little about Claw except that he ran Hurricane Hopeful in Williamsburg in 2001, made chowders with Martha Stewart, and battled Bobby Flay in an episode of “Throw Down.”
“Some nights are quiet but most nights are so insane I’m throwing my hands up and crying because there’s no way I think I can get it all done,” said Claw.
To join the Underground Lobster Pound, visit the Brooklyn Urban Anglers facebook page and become a “friend.”