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connecticut lobster rolls

  • c

I am thinking about doing a short magazine article on lobster rolls this summer. Can anyone tell me about the Connecticut version (hot, no mayo, on a hotdog roll) and where it might have started and whether it or the mayo version came first? Also, where are the top lobster roll joints in Connecticut these days. I probably know of most of them already, but am always looking for something new. Any input would be appreciated.

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  1. m
    Michael Hoffman

    It is believed that the very first lobster rolls in Connecticut, the hot kind, came from a place called Perry's on the south side of the Boston Post Road (U.S. 1) in Milford. (FYI: At one time there was a Tucker dealership on the southeast corner of the intersection near Perry's.)

    Perry's served them up starting in the 1930s, if memory serves. Perry's is no more. It's been gone since the 1950s, and later became Lasse's a beer and roast-beef sandwich place.

    I don't know whether those lobster salad rolls were served anywhere in Connecticut before the hot ones, but I never heard of them till I was long grown and ran into someone in the Virgin Islands who told me about them. I assumed he was daft, as there could never have been a cold lobster roll.

    I don't get back to Connecticut terribly often anymore, but when I was growing up the gretest place for lobster rolls was Jummy's at Savin Rock in West Haven. Not the current Jimmy's. I mean the original, where you parked your car in front and walked up to the serving window to place your order. Ah, those 75-cent lobster rolls, dished up by Tony and by Sal Gagliardi, the son of the founder.

    1. Sounds like a great idea. Perhaps if you shared the list of lobster places that you already know about, the hounds might be more inclined chime in with the ones that you've overlooked.

      1. My number 1 favorite lobster roll place is Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale in Madison. They serve them all warm and buttery in a foot-long roll - to die for!!! Dino's in North Haven runs a close second.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Zina

          Try Knapp's Landing on the Housatonic River in Stratford. Fresh, generous portions dripping in butter.

          1. re: rob

            The absolute best is at Abbott's Lobster in the Rough, located in Noank, CT (near Mystic). They're only open from mid-May through October. It is very much worth the detour off of Highway 1 for this place -- ENORMOUS chunks of lobster in butter sauce on a perfectly toasted bun -- and you can eat outside, right on the water. I've tried many, MANY lobster roll places in CT and can say that this is the best of all.

            Link: http://www.abbotts-lobster.com

        2. s
          Stanley Stephan

          You might talk to the owners of some of these restaurants to see where they originated. I am guessing in the old Savin Rock area. A number of restaurants in Connecticut and Rhode Island have "Savin Rock lobster roll" on the menu.

          I hope you'll let us know if you do write an article.

          1. Just an FYI: Stay away from the lobster rolls at Captain's Galley in West Haven. This was my first bad lobster roll I have ever had in CT, and the incident just took place last week.

            The lobster was slightly overdone, which I could deal with, but only had a little butter and was served on a hard roll - like one you'd make a sandwich with - which wasn't even toasted to boot.

            Marnicks at the sea wall in Stratford (Lordship area) has great lobster rolls!

            3 Replies
            1. re: mels

              Following your posting, we tried Mernick's tonight. It was AWFUL. The service was worse than bad. How lobster could be dry while litterally dripping with butter is beyond me. It seems they tried to hide the fact that the lobster was flavorless by drenching it in butter. The fries were obviously frozen and the chowder may well have come from a can.
              (If you're looking for just the right mix of butter and lobster, try the lobster roll at Lenny and Joe's in Madison - it's perfect.)

              1. re: JC

                Wow - I am sorry to hear they've gone downhill! I haven't been there since about a year and a half ago, and years before that the lobster roll was consistently good. Note to self: don't recommend places I have not frequented in recent months!

                1. re: JC

                  ive eaten lobster rolls at captains galley for years and thought they had a mighty decent roll.
                  i always get the twins...2 foot long butter toasted buns with lobster and butter inside--no langostinos....
                  never was served a hard roll...
                  consistantly good...plus you get fries or onion rings(no extra charge) or both!

              2. Lenny and Joes. Thats all that needs to be said. I live in Boston now, and still cannot get over the fact that a "lobster roll" here has mayonniase. That's a lobster salad roll as far as I'm concerned!

                1. Here's another vote for Lenyy & Joes in Madison. Perfectly lucious!
                  One place I can NOT reccomend is Sam the Clams in Southington. I heard rave reviews about their rolls, only to order one and discover a roll brimming with primarily claw meat. What a disappointment!

                  1. Actually Perry's did not close until the early 1970's since I had several lobster rolls there as a kid. There technique was a little different than the modern hot lobster roll. They used a very soft plain hot dog roll (not a bread sided roll)-- I believe from French"s Bakery in Stratford (also now closed) -- that was similar in taste and feel to a potato flour roll. After putting hot butter sauteed lobster inside roll they brushed the outside of roll with butter and grilled both sides with some pressure on top like a grilled cheeze. That really perks-up even "leftover lobster" -- which Perry's menu touted was the inspiration for the first "hot" lobster roll. With this strategy you can make great tasting lobster rolls with even canned lobster meat.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tylerscofield

                      That is so interesting, I've been very curious about the actual Perry's lobster roll for quite a while. So, was the bun the same size as a regular hot dog bun? Was the bun texture more dense than a regular hot dog bun?