Last night marked Tasting Table's Annual Lobster Roll Rumble, with seafood restaurants and clam shacks from New York and all over the country selected by the Tasting Table crew to face off in a battle of knuckle, claw, and tail. Some contenders kept it simple, with a drizzle of drawn butter and a dusting of chives, while others went all-out in rethinking the lobster roll—lobster mac and cheese with lobster roe, anyone?
'lobster rolls' on Serious Eats
As the weather warms and outdoor seating becomes a premium, I'm drawn to the Lobster Joint's backyard. It's not an idyllic landscaped urban garden, but rather an expansive gravelled lot with rows of picnic tables, a no-frills but happy setting to dig into some lobster rolls, fried fish, and discount cocktails.
Don't get tripped up by the name. The Lobster Club ($15) at Hubbard Inn is really just a lobster roll, right down to the top-split and grilled bun.
A few weeks ago, I overheard a colleague raving about the lobster rolls at Portland's gleaming new raw bar, Eventide Oyster Co. "They're so good," she said, "my husband usually gets two."
Now that Labor Day weekend is behind us, before we start getting all pumpkin-giddy, it's time to enjoy the tail end of lobster roll season. This summer, Maine's lobster harvest was record-breakingly bountiful. The lobster harvest pushed prices the lowest they've been in 30 years. You should still be able to score some decent lobster by the pound deals in the Northeast; here are recipes for both the cold, mayo-based lobster "salad" roll and the hot, buttery kind.
When we think seaside vacation, we think lobster rolls and crab shacks. This had us thinking about other sandwiches of the sea that we love. From crispy crabcakes to salty tender lox to battered flaky fish filets and shrimp po' boys in New Orleans, there are many ways to put a sea creature on bread. Since Sandwich Month continues (!) we've collected our favorite seafood sandwiches from all over the country.
Just as oysters seemed to pop up at each new restaurant opening last year in Chicago, now lobster rolls seem to be everywhere. Of course, not all lobster rolls are created equal. Here are eight you should try now.
Lobster rolls are expensive. That I accept. But what I can't accept is shredded lobster meat, which is what I sadly encountered recently.
National and local chains roll out their versions of the lobster roll. It's a bold choice; lobster meat needs to be served reasonably soon after it's been cooked, and it is subject to some cost fluctuations over the course of the season. So which big chains are serving up mass-market lobster rolls? Are they anywhere close to those served at our favorite roadside Maine seafood shacks? Turns out, one is.
the fact that the brand new Stout Barrel House and Gallery in River North has a Maine Lobster Roll ($17) on its menu didn't initially faze me. What did utterly and completely baffle me was how genuinely delicious the version turned out to be.
If you're a lobster, you should be pretty nervous around this time of year when TastingTable throws its annual Lobster Roll Rumble. Many pounds of lobster were consumed last night—boatloads, in fact, and that really isn't an exaggeration in this case. Lobster shacks and restaurants from across the country participated to show off their versions of the lobster roll. See all 19 that we ate!
Ask ten different seafood-loving locals in Portland, Maine, where to get the best lobster roll nearby, and you'll get ten different answers. Here are ten we love in and around Portland.
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.
A fresh lobster roll in Maine never sounds like a bad idea, but it sounds ridiculously necessary after a morning of kayaking with the LL Bean Outdoor Discovery School in Freeport. We hopped into the SE Ford after, headed to Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster. Your smart phone may not be smart enough to find it at first—it's tucked into a small marina in South Freeport.
How fast can you make a U-y in the Serious Eats Ford? Pretty darn fast when lobster rolls are involved. Wheeee. We flipped around on Route 1 after passing the "Try Our Famous Lobsta Rolls $9.97" sign at Scarborough Lobster just south of Portland. We parked next to two boats and a truck in the small lot out front. That had to be a good sign.
If you're gonna mess with two perfect concepts—lobster rolls and BLTs—this is the way to do it. Barbara Lynch's B.L.T. with Lobster ($28), a charter-menu classic at her chic South End raw bar, is one of those rare dishes that actually makes the concept of "fusion" seem appealing. Shucked lobster meat (cooked until perfect firm-tender doneness, of course) is heaped between slices of crusty ciabatta, along with crisp bacon, ripe red tomato slices, torn romaine, and a healthy slather of lemon juice-spiked Hellmann's.
If you have a lengthy layover at the Boston airport, conveniently around dinnertime, consider stopping at Boston Beer Works (especially if it's ridiculously close to your gate, as it was for me). The lobster roll ($17) is served on a New England style hot dog bun. Inside, there are large, sweet, meaty chunks of lobster meat. There was a mayo-based dressing, but only a pretty light touch with a slightly lemony flavor.
We've had lobster rolls on the brain lately as you've probably noticed. It was finally time to develop a Lobster (Honor) Roll of our favorites in Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. Sure, there are some fine specimens elsewhere, but New England is arguably the motherland of lobster rolls, and we threw in a few NYC picks that can hold their own in the mix. Here are the 17 we picked! (Warning: NSFShellfish-allergic)