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one day in Boston, best Lobster Roll to brag about...

  • f

On my last two trips to NYC, my friends told me I must try the lobster rolls at either Mary's Fish Camp or Pearl Oyster but unfortunately I couldn't find time for it. Now I'm going to Boston in June, but for one day only. Please tell me where I can taste the BEST lobster roll that I can brag about to my friends when I get home. :) I'll be staying at Eliot Hotel, and also visiting Cambridge, so somewhere near or along the way would be nice.

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  1. Last week, the Globe, one of our daily newspapers rated Neptune Oyster's lobster roll the best in town. I agree. You can have a cold one with minimal mayo on a perfectly grilled bun and fries that many Chows have extolled about or have a warm one with the lobster meat in the same great roll, but topped with melted butter. One of the runner ups was B & G Oysters in the So. End. They also have a great roll, with slightly more lobster and additional seasonings. There is about a five dollar difference in the price, but seeking perfection has no financial bounds. I'm sure you'll get lots of advice on this subjuct. If you go to Neptune, the T stop is across the street from the Eliot and you need either a C or an E car to take you to Haymarket and Neptune is almost across the street. Just ask where Salem St. in and it's in the first block, If you run out of time and are desperate, the Summer Shack a five minute walk away from your hotel, has a decent one. No one has ever suggested it is the best, but I've enjoyed a couple of them there over the years.

    1. My favorite has been the B&G Oyster, but the last reported price was $29. That is just too steep for a sandwich, no matter how close it reaches "perfection". I am hoping the price will come down as summer lobsters become more plentiful. Why is $29 too steep, when I have paid $24? Dunno. Just is.

      I have to try the cold one at Neptune. I have had and enjoyed the hot buttered roll there, but prefer cold lobster rolls.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Alcachofa

        I am very disappointed to report that B&G's roll is STILL $29. This is disgraceful, especially in light of what is happening with lobster prices. See article linked here:

        I guess if Zagat-toting rubes think they must have the B&G roll, no matter the cost, that's B&G's market now. I'm generally a fan of B&G, but do not like this development.

        See you at Kingfish for my next lobster roll! (and tuna tartar)

        1. re: Alcachofa

          agreed, $29 is too much even for the best lobster roll in town as many places are doing $30 lobster dinner specials. Even $25 would be a lot easier to swallow.

          1. re: Gordough

            I believe the Lobster Spaghettini was $36 at Neptune. A great dish, but that is certainly a bit of a gouge.

            1. re: Gabatta

              Spaghettini at Neptune is a huge dish that could easily be split between two diners.

      2. right up there @ 28$ or 29$ the lobster roll @ great bay in the hotel common wealth is amazing and right by the Eliot hotel

        1. The ones my friends recommended were cold lobster rolls with mayo. I didn't know there is hot ones. Is one better than the other? Do I need to try both?

          2 Replies
          1. re: fdb

            Do we really need to answer that second question? ;)

            1. re: fdb

              From my upbringing in Boston the cold lobster roll is the more traditional one (truth be told I have yet to try a hot one but am intrigued). Of course by all means try both if you have the chance lol

            2. Hi again. The hot lobster roll at Neptune seems more like an entree than a sandwich, that is basically the difference. They are both good, so take you pick.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ghostcat

                The problem that some of us have with the Neptune lobster roll, as has been discussed in the past, is the brioche roll that they serve it on, which many of us finds detracts from the wonderful lobster inside. As a result, I'm in the B&G camp. That said, when I do get it at Neptune, I prefer the hot roll. I then eat the hot buttery lobster meat with a fork, followed by the delicious buttery roll. (I like them separately much better than together.)

                1. re: Blumie

                  "That said, when I do get it at Neptune, I prefer the hot roll. I then eat the hot buttery lobster meat with a fork, followed by the delicious buttery roll. (I like them separately much better than together.)"

                  Simply put, absolutely the best lobster roll in Boston.

                  1. re: greenstate

                    greenstate, I hope you're not trying to put words in my mouth. I enjoy the Neptune lobster roll, as I describe, but am not preprared to award it my Best of Boston.

              2. I'm going to come right out and say it: the Summer Shack. While it's been some time since I had it, when I did they dressed the lobster with lemony creme fraiche rather than mayo. It was very bright tasting. I greatly preferred it to B&G's. But that said, one day in Boston shouln't be spent at the Summer Shack,so go to Neptune.

                1 Reply
                1. re: almansa

                  i have tried that lobster salade dressed with creme frache ( actually the one quite close to creme fraiche : sour creme + a little heavy crem + lemon juices + chopped tarragon just squeezed out of my hand.
                  i am thinking that i ought to make new england lobster roll bun according to the recipe of chef jasper white but not his mayonaaise slade version with lobster.
                  i feel somewhat suspicious about the mayonnaise verison because when i made " the creme fraiche dressed lobster salade according to the recipe of chef jacque pepin it was really cremy and rich.
                  but i a little wonder because i didnt yet try any mayo lobster salade.

                2. I haven't really been a big fan of the Neptune lobster roll. If hot with butter is your thing, then it's great but for your traditional roll, I think Neptune's is more mayonnaisey than I prefer. I have always liked B&G version's best on the traditional hot dog bun with a ligher dressing than Neptune. I also had a very good lobster roll at Kingfish in Faneuil Hall thought I definitely prefer the atmosphere at B&G and Neptune to Kingfish if that is at all a consideration.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: lissy

                    I'm with Lissy. I like Neptune, but I prefer B&G.

                    1. re: Blumie

                      Can you get the lobster w/o the roll at Neptune? That would be my pick and then Geletto for dessert.

                      Not in Boston but Raw Bar has the best on Cape and is 25.00 and easily can be shared in fact I cannot imagine eating it all alone, IMHO

                    2. re: lissy

                      Well, I finally took Lissy’s advice and checked out Kingfish’s lobster roll today. Wow, it is good. Perfectly buttered and grilled split-top hot dog roll, lotsa lobster chunks, lightly dressed and seasoned… just very very good. I haven’t been to B&G in a while, but this is better than I remember B&G’s. Not quite as big as Neptune’s, as I recall.

                      And it was $18.95!! Is B&G still selling theirs for $29? Any recent reports?

                      Kingfish’s roll came with OK house-made chips, slaw, and baked beans(?! Is that for tourists who think we eat beans here all the time?).

                      Slightly off topic, Kingfish is doing a “Lobster Month” where there is a different lobster special everyday. Today’s is lobster risotto, $25.

                    3. The lobster roll at J. Hook was the best in town, although it was strictly take-out. Definitely the most meat, very fresh. They say they're going to be opening up a retail trailer or something again.

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: msmacandcheese

                          I'm a fan of Hook, but best in town? Uh, no. Great for the price, definitely. MAYBE if you have a price-adjusted ranking. But on its own? No way the best. Not the most meat either.

                        2. re: lhq

                          They've reopened at 339 Northern Ave..2nd floor..a few blocks South of the Fish Pier.. for retail..lobster and shellfish..not the full retail they had on Atlantic.

                          I think their lobster roll might be "best for the price" but they're premade and no toasted bun..not up to Neptune or Kingfish.

                        3. I had the best one I have ever had at Summer Shack in Cambridge last week. It had a small amount of diced cucumber in it. Lobster rolls are one of my most favorite things to eat in the world and this one was special.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: macadamianut

                            I really like the tarragon that they use in lobster rolls at Summer Shack, but there are lots of good lobster rolls out there and I can't stand the atmosphere at the (garage) Shacks -- much prefer Back Bay to Cambridge.

                          2. Thanks for all your inputs. Here's a quick report back.....

                            Call me crazy but I've managed to try 3 lobster rolls (all cold) on my short trip to Boston. My lobster taste-off started at a small shack called Sea View Snack Bar at Mystic Seaport in Conn. While I'd never had a lobster roll prior to this time, I had a feeling that this was not "it". My second lobster roll was had at Kingfish at Faneuil Hall. This was pretty delicious. ( I also liked the clam chowder there.) Later that night I had my final tasting at Summer Shack (Back Bay). I really liked this one (and the fried clam belly). Wish I had time for Neptune and other recommendations but I was pretty satisfied with what I tasted. Now I have a reference point when I visit NY next time because my friend insists that I need to try Pearl Oyster's and Mary's Fish Camp.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: fdb

                              imo those won't compare to mary's and pearl -- neptune does!

                              1. re: gramercyfoodie

                                I'll be sure to check out Neptune when I'm in Boston next time.

                              2. re: fdb

                                Despite being from Boston, the best LR I've ever had was ironically just down the road from Mystic, CT at a place called Abbotts Lobster in Noank, CT.

                                see: http://www.abbotts-lobster.com/menu.html

                                This is place is worth the drive. You'll never be the same !

                                1. re: pondrat

                                  Please clarify, are you referring to their hot lobster roll or "our" more traditional lobster "salad" roll? As they do offer both.


                                  BTW, I'm throwing in with Jasper White's version.

                                2. re: fdb

                                  I have tried Mary's Fish Camp since my last post. I have to say that Summer Shack is still my favorite so far.

                                3. Another not in Boston, but worth the trip. Kelly's Roast Beef on Revere beach.

                                  1. The lobster meat (mixed with mayonnaise, celery, etc.) on display at Quincy Market looks soooo good, but I've never tried it. Made a promise to myself to do so next time I'm in Boston. Maybe some other poster can enlighten us as to whether it tastes as good as it looks.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: DonP

                                      If we're thinking of the same place in Quincy Market, it is total garbage. WAY too much mayonnaise and celery, very poor lobster flavor.

                                      I think the best Lobster or Lobster Roll is served at one place, the same place that serves the best steak......in the home. It takes ZERO talent to prepare these items.

                                      Go to any Lobster pound and you'll find freshly cooked and picked lobster meat for anywhere from $28-$36 pound right now. That's enough to make 4-5 decent sized lobster rolls.

                                      I know it's great to be served and have someone else do the work, but I save those experiences for food items I am incapable of producing on my own at a high level.

                                      my 2 cents