The Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.
Reel in a roll at Kevin Nashans new seafood shack.
Before it burst on the scene in August as one of the year’s hottest restaurants, The Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co. was Kevin Nashan’s vision of “a place where I want to eat every single day.” Although he wouldn’t mind dining daily at his legendary Sidney Street Café, the award-winning chef had something else in mind for this laid-back venue. Three things, actually: “yummy, fun and interesting.” Those adjectives describe both the food he grew up loving and the environment he wants his own family to grow up in—somewhere that has the thought process and philosophy of Sidney Street, but where no one cares if “stuff falls on the floor.”
Where To Go
The Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.
1831 Sidney St. 314.772.8858
Hours Mon.-Thur., 4:30- 10pm, Fri.-Sat., 4:30- 11pm, Sun. 1-9pm. Lunch will start in the fall.
Nashan’s love of both lobster rolls and po’boys was an influence on the menu’s blend of Northeastern and Louisiana cuisines. In fact, the signature dish is a fried oyster po’boy with remoulade. But he’s on to something with the North-South combination: A creamy potato salad, rich with chunks of hard-boiled eggs and mustard grains, is good alongside a sandwich, whether it’s a succulently tender lobster roll with butter or a catfish po’boy dressed with lettuce, pickles and tomatoes. Cayenne-spiced hush puppies, dense and tender, are delicious with a green goddess dipping sauce filled with chives. The sauce is equally good on the peel-and-eat shrimp, especially for youngsters who can’t handle the cocktail sauce’s bite.
Though he grew up in New Mexico, Nashan has worked in both New York and New Orleans, so he knows a thing or two about sourcing seafood—allowing him to offer a raw bar with confidence. The oysters and crudo on the raw bar change daily, depending on what’s freshest.
It’s a definite pleasure to tie on a bib, pick up a lobster cracker—or, especially at the end of a long workday, a wooden crab mallet—and set to work on a big pot of seafood boiled with corn, potatoes and andouille. This is hands-on food, from the raw oysters to the steamed mussels to the “steamers” (aka clams, fellow landlubbers).
Nashan has clearly had fun with the menu. The corn dogs are a signature item and a favorite among the servers. Then there’s the lobster-Frito pie, incorporating pork rinds and crème fraîche. (For the record, it’s impossible to type a sentence that includes those four foods together without breaking into a smile.)
But nothing tips the scales quite like the shaved ice. The menu calls them snow cones, but these are honest-to-goodness New Orleans-style delicacies with housemade syrups in flavors like apricot, lime, cherry and passion fruit. (One passing server, noting with a smile that my sons were off watching the mesmerizing ice shaver, confided that he likes those syrups so much he’d eat them by the spoonful.)
The nautical theme avoids kitsch, thanks to the emphasis on wood and tin. Metal accents are everywhere, from the French Tolix chairs and stools at the bar to buckets of utensils and menus to upside-down washtubs as light fixtures. The distressed wooden beams, white-washed brick and prints of lobster fishermen and oyster shuckers give the space a worn feel that’s completely different from its former vibe when it housed the fine-dining destination Niche.
There’s a bar along one wall, but instead of an extensive cocktail list, The Peacemaker offers a few well-crafted drinks, including a tasty slushy bourbon punch that comes in Ball jars. However, the diversity of seafood dishes begs to put wine to the test. Among the possible pairings is a Spanish Albariño with the lobster rolls and a German Riesling with the catfish po’boy. Beer-drinkers need not fear a lack of lager: Options that include a brew from Nashan’s hometown of Santa Fe are behind the bar.
Given the restaurant’s immediate popularity, customers will have plenty of time to peruse the drinks and decor unless they have an earlier dinner or make a reservation. Clearly Nashan’s “yummy-fun-interesting” trifecta is a winner on the dining scene.
Tips for a top-notch experience at The Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.
Top dish: The warm, Connecticut-style lobster roll, with chunks of butter-drenched lobster stuffed into toasted brioche, with a side of housemade potato chips
Popular pour: A frozen Dark and Stormy, with Gosling’s black rum and ginger beer
Best place to perch: Near the raw bar, to watch the oyster-shucking, crudo-slicing and ice-shaving team in action.
Insider tip: Anything goes for the dress code—lobster bibs accessorize equally well with both high heels and flannel shirts.