A Sandwich a Day: Lobster Roll at Portland Lobster Company in Portland, Maine
In this great country of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
We talk about lobster rolls an awful lot here on Serious Eats, yet we don't talk about lobster rolls nearly enough here on Serious Eats. Do you realize we haven't featured a lobster roll in 20 days? With all due respect to my fellow Sandwich a Daytrippers who keep writing about other kinds of sandwiches, Why do you keep writing about other kinds of sandwiches?
The lobster roll at Portland Lobster Company in Maine came highly recommended, but I was apprehensive: How good could the lobster roll be at the place closest to the gargantuan rest-stopped Carnival cruise ship? Emboldened by a dollar-off beer coupon, my coconspirator and I braved the hordes of hungry cruisers crowding the Lobster Co's back deck on an apocalyptically warm October afternoon.
This is a very basic lobster roll; nothing more than lobster, butter, and bread (once I'd dispatched the single leaf of lettuce), and nothing less than perfect. The people who put this together have good lobster and they know it, so they don't try to get cute with little bits of this and that filler or distraction. No celery, onion, or herbs, and mercifully mayonnaiseless as well.
Even if you're a mayo person, I'll ask you to reconsider the next time lobster is involved. Butter is one of the world's great flavor-foods, whereas commercial mayo's charms, such as they are, are largely textural. Binders and slickeners have their place, but that place is not on something as proud as lobster, which tastes so good on its own—or with butter—that it doesn't need to get by on a texturality.
The humble hot dog bun is lightly toasted, and the lobster is sweet, buttery, and abundant. Market price was $15.99 the day of our visit; I'd have happily paid a couple dollars more and even let them keep the very good French fries that came on the side.