Never mind the tired regional debate—whether they’re best Maine style (chilled, with mayonnaise) or Connecticut (warm, with drawn butter). Lobster rolls are delicious, and in addition to honoring the classic styles, seafood-obsessed chefs have embraced new possibilities. From a modern Asian spin with a charcoal-lacquered bun to a torpedo bun laden with a whole pound of meat, here are our favorites.
Overlooking the scenic Kennebunk River, at the peak of the summer season, the cooks at the Clam Shack shell roughly 1,000 pounds of local lobster a day. For their assembled-to-order rolls, they pile a little of each part (claw, knuckle, tail) onto an oversize, locally baked burger bun. Customers choose between a swipe of mayo, a drizzle of warm butter or a little of both. The Clam Shack even sells lobster roll kits, shipped fresh overnight.
This North End restaurant’s famous hot lobster roll features succulent pieces of lobster tail, claw and knuckle meat drizzled with clarified butter, served on a grilled and buttered brioche hot dog bun. A mayo-based cold roll is also available for purists.
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Bob’s Clam Hut hasn’t changed its lobster roll recipe in 50 years, for good reason: There’s no better way to serve their juicy chunks of Maine lobster than to toss them with a little mayonnaise and pack them into a grilled, buttered hot dog bun.
Chef Mike Lata’s new seafood hall celebrates the “merroir” (ocean terroir) of the entire East Coast with a wide range of sustainably caught fish. His spin on the New England lobster roll includes a whopping half-pound of lobster meat bought straight off a Maine day boat. The mayo dressing is zingy with Tabasco, lemon, celery, garlic, mustard, chives, shallot and a light dusting of Old Bay.
This food truck and storefront operation serves its Maine claw and knuckle meat rolls two ways: Maine style, with the lobster dressed in a lemony house-made mayo, or Connecticut style, the meat drizzled with melted butter. To keep things strictly New England, both versions come in a Country Kitchen-brand split-top bun from Maine.
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