There are any number of places on Cape Cod to get a lobster roll, but you really can't beat the fishing pier for freshness. The characteristically grey, shingled Chatham Pier Fish Market is just a few steps away from where the fishing boats dock with their catch each day; it's a fish market first and foremost, with huge tanks of lobsters and enticing displays of littlenecks and oysters and cod. But the prepared foods are why a casual visitor should stop by. The fried oysters and clams are incredible, but the cold lobster roll (market price varies; here, $19.95) is every bit as memorable.
It's got medium-sized hunks of lobster, both claw and tail meat (big enough that you really experience them, but small enough that you're not trying to gnaw through them) tossed in just enough mayonnaise to bind them together.
It's served in a classic New England-style hot dog roll bun that's toasted in butter on both sides to a beautiful golden sheen; there's a shake of paprika on top, but you can't really taste it. The more unorthodox move is a single leaf of lettuce draped in the bun's opening. I liked it, just a little crisp, a little freshness; it also keeps that soft bun from getting too soggy, which I appreciate. And it's not like lettuce interferes with the lobster flavor. But I'm sure those who cry heresy! could ask for it without.
The fries are the battered kind that seem straight out of a freezer case, but served fresh from the fryer they're still quite tasty. It's a pricey lunch, but I think most people would have trouble finishing such a sizable sandwich with all those fries.
Chatham Pier Fish Market
45 Briarcliff Avenue Ext., Chatham MA 02633