Acme, a chic NoHo favorite, is located inside a space formerly occupied by a restaurant of the same name. Executive Chef Mads Refslund has helmed the kitchen since 2012, creating locally sourced, New American cuisine with a subtle Nordic touch. Ever inspired by unexpected ingredients and sensory experiences, he recently shared one of his favorite dishes with us — an herb-infused, whole steamed lobster inspired by the beach.
For more on him and the philosophy around foraging, check out our interview here.
Burlap sack lobster at ACME
Could you tell me a little about this dish?
I steam a whole pound Maine lobster with yukon gold potatoes, summer corn, lovage, chamomile and geranium in a wet burlap sack, then serve it over hot rocks with head sauce [smoky lobster stock blended into a bright pink sauce] and edible wild flowers, such as beach-y rose hips. The wet burlap, which is used in traditional seafood beach bakes to lock in steam beneath the sand and seaweed, is lit on fire as it leaves the kitchen and imbues the herbs and lobster with its smoky aroma.
What inspired it and how does it represent what Acme is trying to do?
This dish tells such a vivid story. It’s about a shared experience and memory: being on the beach as a child and baking lobsters and clams in the sand. We wanted to incorporate that visceral effect into our dish, so that it engages more than just tastebuds. It’s tactile — you need to use your hands — and it makes the childhood memory tangible with its scents, friends and the love around a bonfire.
How would you describe the flavor?
The lobster is incredibly tender and imbued with smokiness from the burlap. The singed herbs lend so much flavor and texture, and then the head sauce with petals is rich yet delicate. It’s such a sensual dish.