Earlier this month, the world learned that Zabar’s, the Upper West Side high-priced grocer, has been pulling the wool over New Yorkers’ eyes for 15 years, selling its packaged ‘Seafare Salad’ as lobster salad. There’s one problem–there was no lobster in it. At $17 a pound, there wasn’t even a hint of sweet lobster meat anywhere to be found; instead, customers got an overpriced mélange of mayonnaise, celery, salt, sugar and lobster’s bastard cousin–crawfish.
In a ridiculous twist of irony, it took a Louisianan to suss out the situation and blow the whistle Erin Brokovich-style on phony Zabar’s. Doug MacCash, a reporter from the Times-Picayune of New Orleans, was visiting New York and decided he wanted a taste of some Northern seafood when he picked up a tub of the faux salad. It took MacCash about 3 minutes to figure out what New Yorkers hadn’t detected in 15 years–he was eating good ol’ fashioned mudbugs from his hometown.
What ensued could only be described as a shit storm of apocalyptic proportions. Unfortunately for Zabar’s, Doug went home and wrote about his discovery which, in turn, sparked outrage from legions of hoodwinked customers. Completely unapologetic for the fraud but suffering from the bad PR, Zabar’s has changed the name of its seafood salad to ‘Zabster Zalad’.
A seafood salad by any other name is still…well, crawfish.