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Jul 3, 2007 10:10 AM

Lobster Rolls-Worth it?


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  1. to buy or to make? to buy, yes. to make....i couldn't tell you. the concept of leftover lobster is lost on me.

    3 Replies
    1. re: eLizard

      To make....I was debating on whether or not to buy lobsters strictly for this since I don't normally keep them on hand...

      1. re: MIss G

        The lobster roll depends on freshness and the correct roll.

        1. You need a good-quality live lobster that you dispatch personally pick the meat out of and use immediately. Cooked the previous day won't do

        2. You need top-loading New England hod dog buns. They must have the outside buttered and grilled. Getting the most artisan California roll won'tt do.

        3. If your parents are in the mayo camp and not the butter camp, it should be Hellmann's (Best Foods). DON'T mess it up by doing something fancy with the mayo.

        You can buy the correct roll and good quality live lobsters at the Lobster Shack in Napa. I'd use butter from Vella Cheese ... otherwise Land o Lakes ... OK, Clover will do.

        Personally I'd take them out to the Lobster Shack to see how it stacks up against their fav on the East Coast.

        It is sort of like the food at Chez Panisse, the lobster roll isn't complicated, but the execution (no pun intended) and quality must be stellar.

        Of course you can play with the formula ... 'improve it' ... do your own thing. East Coast people will be polite to your face and say they really liked it ... even ask for the recipe ... but watch for the tight, fake smile ... they will talk about you afterward ... and it won't be favorable.

        1. re: MIss G

          I know this isn't going to make much sense, but here goes. I would never buy lobsters to make lobster rolls. My m-i-l did that last summer for a cookout, and I just kept thinking how much more I would have loved the lobster steamed or boiled with butter. Plus I think they're a ton of work. We buy them on the Cape in the summer from a neighbor who has a few lobster pots. He sells them to us for 5 bucks a piece. However, that being said, I looove me a good lobsta roll. Light on the mayo. Celery optional. Toasted buttered SPLIT TOP roll required. And I'd buy one every day of the week if I could. I know it doesn't make sense. Same goes for most other lobster applications such as lobster bisque. I buy it, I don't make it. If there's a live whole lobster in my presence it's going to eaten whole with butter.

      2. Depends on your taste and background.

        Some non-New Englanders find them bland.

        A lot of native New Englanders, myself included, find them food nirvana ... the simplicity of butter, hot dog bun and lobster ... I'm not in the mayo camp for the roll.

        Another consideration is if there is a restaurant making good ones near you. Since I know you are near one of the Bay Area Lobster Shacks, there's a good one near you. Depends if you like lobster, butter and simplicity.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rworange

          definitely worth it! I don't make them at home because part of the joy is not picking out the lobster. I order them every chance I get. I am in the "mayo camp".

        2. It's worth it in the same way buying a nice tuna steak and turning it into a tuna melt is.

          Lobster rolls are pretty labor intensive (worked a seafood restaurant in NH for 3 years) and I'd rather just have a steamed lobster with drawn butter. That said, if you do have leftover lobster meat on hand, it's a perfect sandwich. I absolutely love them, but prefer to just go out for one than cook it. Maybe it's years spent making them that leaves me sour.

          1 Reply
          1. re: gini

            Worth it, sometimes. When our son was married we made lobster rolls to servie for the rehearsal dinner. It was August. They had moved back to New England from Alaska in May. The wedding was casual, held in our small town and there's no nearby restaurants. With young children involved it made more sense to have a really nice backyard rehearsal dinner (hamburgers and hotdogs included). I had some nice munchies to serve while I hurriedly put lobster salad in rolls (not toasted). My DIL loves lobster rolls and the couple from Alaska standing up for them had never had them. I had the supermarket steam the lobsters for me on the way home from work Thursday night and made the lobster salad in the morning (no celery, very little mayo).
            I think they were as good as lobster rolls we can get in our general non-coastal vicinity but our idea of a nice sunday drive is to end up someplace where we can get a decent lobster roll AND onion rings.

          2. Yes! Mary's Fish Camp in NYC. Best $26 + tax i ever spent.....mmmmm.

            1. If you have leftover lobster. I'm a native New Englander and I'm also in the butter camp, but I'll eat one with a little mayo. And just to PO purists I might add a little tarragon, too. And the better the butter, the better.

              Since I now live in St. Louis I only have lobster occasionally (cost) so if I spurge I'll get a big one and so usually have leftovers. (I have always eaten pretty much everything edible on a lobster, and with the bigger ones it's more worth the effort.)

              I don't agree that you shouldn't use day old cooked lobster. I would agree that you shouldn't heat it again, and as such loster rolls are probably the best way to use the leftovers.

              And yes, the proper bun is important. I haven't yet found them here... sniff....

              1 Reply
              1. re: Richard 16

                Lobsters are as expensive to buy as they are to order at your local Red Lobster restaurant. Lobsters on a Hoagie? I'm not sure if it's worth using such expensive ingredients on. I'm not sure how much it's be to buy it but I know it'd be a lot to make it due to the high price of Lobster, I hope this helps.