Lobster Dien Bien


I lived in Hampton, Virginia while in high school & my family often drove to Yorktown 30 miles away to eat at a wonderful restaurant called Nick’s Seafood Pavilion, operated by a Greek chef.  Sadly, it no longer exists:  http://www.pbase.com/airlinerphotos/image/21276281.  I often think fondly of one of their signature dishes, Lobster Dien Bien.  My parents managed to concoct their own version of the dish over time.  My version is similar, but I cannot have the rice that is traditionally in it.  I’m on a low-carb diet.  The original dish had 1 cup of rice (cooked in lobster stock) stirred in just before serving.  This dish in some regards is vaguely reminiscent of Spanish paella when the rice is included. I serve my portion over steamed cauliflower “rice” or simple oven-baked eggplant slices.
I can’t get very good lobster in Central Texas, so I make this more often now with shrimp or crawfish, but it is no doubt best made with lobster. I have even made this dish with large sea scallops and fresh lump white crab meat (when I lived on the Gulf Coast).  All versions have been been very tasty.  As is true of most seafood dishes, this one really packs in the nutrients!  This dish is OK for Atkins Induction.

Click to enlarge crawfish version

Crawfish version

If you are not following a low-carb diet:  Add 2 c. cooked white rice stirred in.  If using the rice addition, it is essential that you cook it in seafood stock.  Use 1 c. raw rice, rinsed well in a sieve/sifter with cold water to remove surface starch.  Then bring the rice to a boil in 2 c. lobster or shrimp stock., Lower heat to lowest setting, cover pot with a paper towel followed by a tight fitting lid and steam the rice until done (about 18-20 minutes).  Add the rice to the seafood mixture, stir gently and serve!  Mmmm…….this is my all-time favorite seafood dish EVER!  (with the rice, of course 🙂 ).


1 lb. lobster meat cut into bite-size pieces (or peeled, de-veined shrimp)

1 stick unsalted butter

½ c. onion, chopped

1 c. celery, chopped

1 carrot, grated

1 2 oz. jar pimiento, drained

1/3 c. parsley, chopped

¼-½ tsp. cayenne pepper

10 drops Tobasco

½ tsp. ground thyme

DIRECTIONS: Saute onion, celery and carrot in melted butter until onion and celery are completely tender.  Add parsley and pimiento.  Add seafood and remaining seasonings.  Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes only.  For non-Atkins diners, add some cooked rice.  For Atkins diners, serve with steamed cauli-rice, spaghetti squash, sauteed mushrooms or oven-baked eggplant slices.  (To steam cauli-rice, grate or food process raw cauliflower to fine grains and steam in microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring every minute).

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 3 servings, each with:

466 cals, 33g fat, 9.1g carbs, 2.3g fiber, 6.8g NET CARBS, 32 g  protein, 283 g  sodium


10 thoughts on “Lobster Dien Bien

  1. This was one of my favorite dishes at Papa Nick’s. My step father introduced me to that wonderful restaurant and bought me my first after dinner cigar there as well. Wish I could take my wife there. I was very sad to find out it was gone

  2. Hi, Ken. Jen sent me the recipe, but I would definitely question 8 tomatoes. In all the times I ordered that dish at Nicks (many), although there was a little tomato in it, there sure wasn’t any 8 tomatoes in any that was served to me. I would also swear theirs had a bit of thyme and bay leaf as well as cayenne in it. Their last few years, there was even a little cheese added to the dish! But you know how chefs and restaurants release so-called “original” “authentic” recipes, but they keep a few of the ingredients off the recipe so yours never comes out quite like theirs. It’s how they keep people coming back to the restaurant again and again! The recipe is proprietary, when you get right down to it. But this is a starting point for you.

    Here the recipe forwarded to me by Jen:

    1. Peggy ‘s recipe is the recipe I have used to remake this great dish. I went to nick’s for prom night and got this meal. I ate there often with my family.

  3. Thanks so much for getting back so quickly, Jen. This sounds quite similar, but not exactly like what I’m remembering. I don’t recall mushrooms in the original, and there was definitely a hint of thyme in the original dish. But I’ll definitely give this version a try, add a dash of thyme and see where that takes me flavor-wise. I so appreciate your sharing with me. Thank you!

  4. LOVE their Dien Bien! There is another restaurant in Yorktowne that serves a few of the former menu items from Nicks’s. I believe the chef’s grandson or other family member works there. Additionally, my mom had called & they gave her the original recipe. It is DELICIOUS!!!

    1. Say, Jen, is your Mom sharing that recipe, by any chance? Hint, hint. Mine’s close, but not quite as good, I confess. 🙂 I had heard a former chef at Nicks was cooking elsewhere nearby. We don’t get up that way anymore and I really miss Nicks’ fine food. What a menu they had.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s