Lobster Thermidor

The signature dish at the Cape Cod Room in Chicago’s famed Drake Hotel features chunks of smooth lobster and mushrooms swathed in mustard–cream sauce, located in a lobster shell, and broiled underneath a Gruyère crust.

Lobster Thermidor
Lobster Thermidor


  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 lobsters (about 1 1/2 lbs. each)
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 7 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 14 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 12 lb. cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 12 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped chervil
  • 18 tsp. cayenne
  • 12 tsp. dry mustard
  • 12 lb. Gruyère, grated


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add lobsters; boil for 5 minutes. Drain; halve each lengthwise. Remove and crack claws. Remove meat from bodies and claws; cut into chunks. Scrape shells’ insides clean; set meat and shells aside.
  2. Bring milk to a boil; set aside. Melt 4 tbsp. of the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add flour and cook until golden, 1–2 minutes. Add milk while whisking; increase heat to medium; boil. Cook, stirring, until thickened, 2–3 minutes. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper; keep sauce warm.
  3. Heat broiler. Heat remaining 3 tbsp. of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; cook until golden, 1–2 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook until softened, 4–5 minutes. Add wine; cook until reduced by two-thirds, 4–5 minutes. Whisk in cream, chervil, cayenne, and reserved sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until thickened, 3–4 minutes. Add lobster; stir in mustard and 34 cup cheese. Divide half of the lobster sauce between shells; sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Broil lobster halves on a baking sheet until bubbly, 2–3 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce.
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