HOME > Chowhound > Northern New England >
Oct 15, 2010 12:41 PM

Maine Lobster Rolls

This trip up to Maine saw the prices of Lobster rolls way up and the amount of lobster in those rolls way down.
Pemaquid Lobster Co-op was up to $16.95 for their exceptionally tasty lobster rolls which were not the heaping amounts of lobster we had come to be used to in their rolls.
Shaw's at New Harbor cut way back on the amount of lobster in their lobster rolls as well for the $15.99 rolls($13.99 last year).
Larsen's Lunch in Damariscotta had $13.99 lobster rolls just chuck full of clam meat(if you like claw meat)---which we do.
The $14.99 scallop dinner at Shaw's ,which I tried out of disappointment with their lobster roll size,had a whole 7 small clams for the price.
What a rip-off.
Think we'll pass on Shaw's next year and try new places in the area that have been posted on here.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. not defending shaws but scallops not in season in the summer.

    2 Replies
    1. re: LeRique

      Thanks LeRique.
      Had their small-portioned scallop dinner on10/11

      1. re: catnip

        pretty awsome view though, too bad your scallops weren't equal.

    2. Again, Tracey's in Sullivan. Two lobber rolls for 12 bucks and 2 crab rolls for 10. It's BYOB or go eat them at Tidal Falls Park in Hancock.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Passadumkeg

        Just returned from Maine, which included 3 samplings of lobster rolls. A big thank you to Passadumkeg for the tip to try Tracey's in Sullivan. Definitely the most economical and tastiest lobster rolls that we had. The price is up to $15 for 2, and that's without any sides. DH and I added one side of fries, 2 sides of cole slaw, and 2 cans of soda for a total price of around $25. Sat at the picnic tables adjacent to Tracey's on the side of the road. The bread was toasted perfectly. The lobster was very sweet, just barely dressed with mayonnaise.

        I also had a lobster rolls at Portland Lobster Company in the Old Port in Portland and at Mabel's in Kennebunkport. The PLC lobster roll for $18 is accompanied by slaw and very good fries, not to mention sitting on the deck in the harbor. Maybe not the best roll but, especially when there is a good musician playing on a sunny day -- as was the case when I visited -- a very pleasant experience.

        The lobster roll at Mabel's, picked up from the carry out window and taken to a bench overlooking the ocean, was the most expensive -- $17 for the sandwich, with a bag of chips as the only accompaniment. The roll had been toasted but was a bit soft; that could be because it was "steamed" by the wrapping in the 5 minutes between when I picked it up and actually ate it. The lobster meat was not as sweet as the other 2.

        Portland Lobster Company
        180 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101

        1. re: masha

          Good. DDon't forget the beer, Deary, Tracey's is BYOB. Yes, the price of l9obster is up this year.

      2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Truthfully, lobster rolls consist of lobster, minimally cut up, mayonnaise, the less the better, and something to put it in. A plate would work at least as well as inedible doughy preservative-laden "bread", but YMMV.

            Given this recipe, even if traveling, why not just stop in any lobster pound and buy a pound of picked meat? Most will have some on hand I believe. Stop at any grocery store and pick up some plastic bowls and mayonnaise, whip out your swiss army knife and you're done. For a fraction the price.

            That said, I agree that Red's is good, but not worth the wait. And note that the thing about the wait is it includes mind-bogglingly inefficient service. Don't be fooled by the seemingly "short" line. A mere 30 people in line can take an hour for them to serve for some unfathomable reason. Note further that tonight, a Monday, at 7pm there were: *6 people in line*. I was astonished. And I asked (since it wasn't posted): $15.75 for a roll. Don't know what fraction of a pound that roll amounts to, but I can't believe it's more than a half pound. If not, it's cheaper to follow my recipe above, and even on vacation, you can do that.

            BTW, if you do use your swiss army knife on a bag of picked meat (Simpson's is a fish market on rte 1 near the Shaw's, I think, south of Wiscasset, e.g.), don't cut the meat up too much. What people like about Red's, apart from there being a lot of meat stuffed into the sandwich and minimal mayonnaise, is that they really don't cut the lobster up very much (less labor = more profit, BTW!). So part of the winning Red's recipe is *big* chunks of lobster. Again, that's really not terribly difficult to replicate.

            11 Replies
            1. re: aliris

              I am interested in trying Red's food, but don't want to stand in a huge line to do it. Do things slow down there the first week in Oct?

              1. re: MissLori

                Yup. Not sure when they close up shop altogether but it could be before then.

              2. re: aliris

                Just ate at Red's a couple of days ago for the first time (though I lived in Maine for many years, so I do know my lobster rolls). I thought it was absolutely worth the wait (about half an hour, with a pretty long line). Biggest roll I've ever gotten - there had to be at least a half-pound or more meat in there, it was overflowing the bun and there was an entire split tail sitting on top, as well as plenty of claw meat (my wife's favorite). And I love that they (a) offer mayo and/or butter on the SIDE so that you control the amount, and (b) properly butter and grill the roll. In all, I understand the hype now - a beautiful roll, and for the amount of meat in there, $16 is a good deal (given that several other places we visited charged $10-12 for literally less than half the amount of lobster meat).

                1. re: monopod

                  Glad you enjoyed but i doubt the 8oz. claim .picked lobster meat is 30 bucks a lb at best.most generous rolls contain around 4 oz. of meat.Ask the people at Reds if you dont believe me.

                  1. re: LeRique

                    Definitely seemed like more than 4 oz. My understanding is that a 1 1/4 lb lobster generally yields 4-5 oz of meat, and Red's claims that they use "more than a whole lobster per roll," which seems to indicate more than 4 oz. Here's a picture, which unfortunately focused on the clams but you can see the rolls in the background - note the huge piles of meat which completely obscure the bun!

                    1. re: monopod

                      Generally speaking you can count on a 20% meat yield on your lobster. For what it's worth.

                      1. re: monopod

                        not to quibble but you said 8oz or more.to quote md coast 11/4 equals 20 oz.x .20 = 4 oz. more or less. like i said glad you loved it so do i .not the wait.maybe kegs 2 fers at Tracys approach the 8oz mark!

                        1. re: monopod

                          That looks delicious! How were the clams?

                          1. re: MissLori

                            Good, but not spectacular. I like my clams briny and the batter crispy; these were pretty mild and the batter wasn't quite as well-done as I like. But definite points for being fresh and made-to-order.

                      2. re: monopod

                        I should also say that the meat was excellent - very tender and sweet. I've heard others complain about the quality of the meat, but I personally had no complaints. Perhaps it varies depending on when you get there; I was there right after they opened at 11 am.

                        1. re: monopod

                          In re: the wait - Tuesday night, in the rain, 7pm: ZERO people in line! I'm pretty sure I've hardly ever seen that in mid-August. Course, you have to sit in the rain too, but they do have umbrellas. Or your car. I believe the report of massive amounts of lobster in the roll; that's my memory or several years ago at least. Which is to say, I do believe the hype is not groundless; again, it's a cost:benefit question and at the end of the day that's personal. And for the record, I bought 1 lb picked lobster meat from an admittedly expensive place recently (Aug2011) for $36/lb. I've little doubt it can be gotten for a bit cheaper elsewhere; how much so is probably a function of latitude and distance from tourists. :) ($36/lb was ground zero for both, as is Red's, so it's a good comparison, I think).