If I had to pinpoint one food that conjures up the most nostalgia of my childhood growing up in Massachusetts, it would no doubt be the Lobster Roll. Having lobster rolls with my Dad in the 1980s did not cost the fortune that they often do today and they always hit the spot on a sunny Summer afternoon with a Coca-Cola and maybe a side of cole slaw or fries…the salty sea air and sand in our toes. Since then, I have been on a life long quest to find the “best lobster roll” in America….
My ambitious search has taken me all over New England, New York, Long Island, and even extended into not so common Lobster roll destinations like Chicago, Atlanta and Miami. The Lobster-to-bun ratio, the type of bun, the quantity of dressing or mayo, the quality of the lobster, and the overall presentation are all key components in my assessment. My calculations are mostly in the recesses of my own brain and really for no other purpose than my own enjoyment. We all have to obsess about something right? Why not make the process at least a little fun and very delicious. Now I know what you are thinking, can there be in fact a “bad” lobster roll? Oh oh yes there can. There are many ways to ruin what is an extremely simple all American sandwich. Too much bread. Not enough lobster. Too much mayo. Bad presentation. Most that I eat are pretty good, average really. But there are a rare few that really stand out amongst the pack. Pearl’s Oyster Bar in Greenwich Village is pretty tough to beat. Piled high with at least a pound of Lobster and served with a mountain of shoestring fries, this Queen of a sandwich is worth the wait at the notoriously crowded and busy joint tucked down a quaint street in the Village. Their steamers, oysters and other seafood is also really delicious but why bother when the lobster roll is on the menu. Hard choices. A few weeks ago we completed my annual pilgrimage to Chatham, a seaside town on the elbow of Cape Cod. This is a place that holds so many sweet memories for me as a child that it’s hard to talk about without getting emotional. Here I enjoyed several lobster rolls throughout the week which you can see below but the best by far was the one served out of a styrofoam box at the Chatham Fish Pier. The classic buttered hot dog bun providing the ideal base for the fresh perfectly dressed Lobster. Fries. and Cole Slaw. Lobster Roll Perfection!! My quest continues of course in the ever evolving lobster roll landscape but you can be sure I am taking notes and would love to hear YOUR recommendations?!