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Lobster rolls -- hot with butter, or cold with mayo?

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I've only had the cold, lobster-salad type (and not in Maine, so I'm sure not as good), but am thinking hot with just butter and a grilled bun sounds even better. Which way is the way most do it in Maine? And who has your favorite version? I'm going to be around in October, so I think I may miss out on some good places because they will be closed for the season. Sadness.

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  1. I prefer the hot ones with butter. :) Still, the cold ones light on the mayo are very nice as well. Better yet, BOTH! NOW! NOM NOM NOM! ;)

    I'm not sure which shops are open in the off season, though. I usually go either right before Memorial Day or right after Labor Day for my lobstah fix.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Morganna

      Mostly we see cold with mayo. You might find some good places open on Columbus Day weekend. I recently had a lobster roll at Mike's Clam Shack on Rt 1 in Wells but it didn't seem to taste as good as the one I had there last year.

      This weekend I thought the lobster roll we had at an inland NH drive in type place was very fresh tasting but on our previous visit it seems definitely vacuum packed type lobster.

      -----
      Mike's Clam Shack
      RR 1, Wells, ME 04090

    2. or you could consider Red's--cold lobster with hot butter.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mjoyous

        That sounds good! I wonder if they are open the first week in Oct?

        1. re: MissLori

          Red's usually closes around Columbus Day or shortly thereafter.

      2. I've never had a hot-buttered lobster roll but wouldn't you have to eat it really quickly? Seems like hot dripping butter would soggify the sandwich roll pretty quickly and cause a mess.

        Cold lobster in a hot grilled bun sounds best to me.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jackattack

          I think the butter is on the side, and you can dip or pour a bit at at time.

          1. re: jackattack

            The roll is toasted, so it's got some structure. They don't pour a gallon of butter on it, just enough. It soaks into the roll some and the whole thing is just delightful. :)

            1. re: jackattack

              You'd eat that tasty sandwich so fast it wouldn't have time to get soggy!!!

              I'm from CT and it's the only way I like them, when I eat a whole lobster it's with butter, so why not the lobster roll? The rolls are generally toasted, the lobster sauteed in butter first, so it's not terribly messy or drippy. But there is a fair amount of grease, of course!

              Here's the Serious Eats top Lobster Rolls in the Northeast list:
              http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/07/be...

            2. I'm off to find one of each to try side by side!

              1. Generally, the hot butter rolls are common in Connecticut, in Mass & Vacation Land is mayo. Red's will be open, but ask around closer to the date to see which are indeed open.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  I emailed Red's and they are open until Columbus Day. Looking forward to it!

                2. Best lobster roll I've had was at the Maine Diner, and it was hot. I've had cold rolls that are good, and ones that are less so. My theory is that cold tends to mute flavors and make meat tougher, so if the lobster is already tough and/or not that flavorful, serving it cold will make it worse. If it's very flavorful and tender, though, then it can survive being cold. Whereas heat tends to bring out flavors and soften, so it'll tend to flatter even so-so lobster.

                  -----
                  Maine Diner
                  2265 Post Rd, Wells, ME 04090

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: monopod

                    Agree to disagree.

                    1. re: monopod

                      I don't know about the hot/cold theory, but I do know that I will have to try both!

                      1. re: monopod

                        The first time I ever had a hot lobster roll was at the Maine Diner and since then, I've never had one as good. I think I like the hot and cold equally. To me, it depends on my mood at the time.

                      2. In Houston, I serve mine hot on homemade flour tortillas with butter. I also do boiled crawfish the same way. My hispanic wife thinks I'm crazy, but to me, pretty much everything tastes good in a fresh tortilla. I don't do all the meat that way, just some, I dip my favorite part, the knuckles, in warm butter.

                        1. This article is from a Seacoast NH food writer and has her thoughts about both types:

                          http://www.seacoastonline.com/article...

                          1. I am not a lobster roll afficionado - I prefer my lobster steamed - but I think the rolls I've had have a foot in both camps. Toasted buttered buns with cold lobster, bit of mayo on it. I love the cold against hot contrast. I love tuna fish salad on toast for the same reason. Man, I'm hungry.....

                            1. Don't forget crab rolls too! Ms. Keg and I had 4 for lunch today.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                Maine crab is fantastic.Only downside is the short shelf life for a good crab roll Days in Yarmouth is good

                              2. Red's Wiscasset, Rte One stop the traffic, toasted bun w/ lob meat w/drizzle of melted butter, mayo on the side if you need to. Get two, pork out!

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: dwdunn

                                  For those who don't know, Reds rolls come with a choice of butter or mayo, always on the side if you get them to go. And they're great, especially if you don't have to wait an hour for 'em! (Lots of luck in August.)

                                  1. re: mjoyous

                                    I'll be in Maine in early Oct, so I'm hoping that the lines aren't so bad.

                                    1. re: mjoyous

                                      A Red's as said previously, if you don't need/want the mayo (at all on the plate any where near a lobster roll), tell them this whilst ordering. Some other very good eats available at Red's too!

                                  2. I make mine w/ toasted, buttered roll. Saute lobster in a little butter and add a tiny bit of mayo and serve immediately. To me, the best of both worlds.

                                    1. Does anyone know if there are any restaurants in Portland (or within 20-30 miles) where one can find a hot lobster roll with butter (vs. cold with mayo)? I was on these boards last week and I would have sworn that I saw references to a couple of places in Portland that offered this. But now they appear to be gone and the bookmark that I set is not there either. I've checked several other lobster-related threads but can't find what I'm looking for there, either.

                                      Thanks.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: sara_the_runner

                                        Red's comes w/ a cup of butter for the Maine lobster roll infidels.

                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                          Thank you for the reply, but...

                                          A) Red's is not in Portland, or even within 20-30 miles
                                          B) While Red's serves butter, the meat is still cold.

                                          My question is regarding places in or near Portland that make lobster rolls using hot/cooked meat and butter.

                                          1. re: sara_the_runner

                                            I believe the style you're looking for is a Connecticut thing, so you may need to venture further south?

                                            1. re: sara_the_runner

                                              I live a lot further north, but I thought Wiscasset is about 30 mi. north of Longfellowtown.
                                              I haven't eaten at Red's in years. BUT, being an open minded Hound, I must admit, I now want to try a hot lobber butter roll. I just asked my 27 generation Mainer wife and she knows of no place either. I do have an invite to try a hot butter roll in Ct. Good luck finding one and please let us know if you do. I'm going to make one this week.

                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                I musta had the one I liked so much in CT then. Now that I think about it a little more, I think it was our last trip to CT where we got it. :)

                                          2. re: sara_the_runner

                                            The Maine Diner on Route 1 in Wells has exactly what you're talking about. They call it the "Dale Arnold," and it's fabulous - hot lobster meat on the roll with butter. It's almost exactly 30 miles from Portland, so fits within your criteria (barely).

                                            -----
                                            Maine Diner
                                            2265 Post Rd, Wells, ME 04090

                                          3. Do you think this topic will come up again in three years? And all of us will be long gone?

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/369937

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                              Honestly, when I originally posted it, I though hot or cold were the choices, and have since learned that the ones with butter are actually cold lobster also.

                                              1. re: MissLori

                                                if ever in nh, going up rt 93 just north of concord, try Dipsy Doodle in Northfield. They do it both ways

                                              2. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                                Since they revamped the boards for New England, lots and lots of older posts can only be found on that older board, and if you don't know about it, you don't know to look there. Loads of reviews I've posted don't appear on this board at all.

                                              3. Hey everyone,

                                                I posted to this thread earlier this week with a link to a new post on my blog featuring a somewhat tongue-in-cheek take on the hot vs. cold lobster roll debate. CHOWhound removed the post and asked me to refrain from posting links to outside URLs, which is somewhat understandable. That said, they said that excerpting some of the content from my blog post was okay. So, here are some thoughts on the cold lobster roll at the Fishermen's Grill in Portland, ME and the hot lobster roll at the Maine Diner (Wells, ME):

                                                Cold lobster roll:

                                                "Biting into the lobster roll, I found that the meat, while plenty cold, was not as chilled as some that I’ve had in the past. Not only did the decreased temperature contrast between warm bread—a New England style bun, lightly buttered and grilled—and cool lobster meat appeal to my taste buds more, I wondered if it also allowed the exquisite sweetness of the lobster meat to shine through more than if it were chilled at a colder temperature. Then again, the sweetness could be a function of the cuts of meat used in the roll, a factor which, as mentioned previously, I’m not considering in the context of this discussion.

                                                In any case, the lobster roll was exquisite. The Fishermen’s Grill lobster roll is just lobster meat and a bit of mayo—barely enough to coat the meat. It was, thankfully, devoid of celery, and was separated from the bread by a thin bed of lettuce, enough to impart a crunchy textural component to the roll but not so much as to overpower the taste of lobster meat."

                                                Hot Lobster Roll:

                                                "At first glance, both the lobster meat and the bread looked a bit dry to me. The roll appeared to have been very lightly grilled, but I couldn’t find any evidence of it being buttered, which is possibly standard practice with hot lobster rolls. I’m not sure about this, so if anyone knows better than I, please don’t hesitate to chime in using the Comments feature. The chunks of lobster were nicely sized: large enough to feel like you are eating something substantial, but not so big as to pose a challenge to the person devouring them.

                                                I poured some of the butter over about half of the lobster roll, leaving the other half naked so that I could pick out a few pieces with my fork and enjoy them sans butter. Much to my delight, both the lobster meat and the bun were far more moist than they appeared. I did not find the meat to be quite as sweet as it had been in the cold roll, but in both its naked and buttered forms, it appealed to me more on a textural level. There was also just a hint of a pleasant brine-y flavor that I didn’t pick up on with the Fishermen’s Grill roll. Overall, it was delicious and I really enjoyed having the ability to pick and choose which pieces of lobster meat I’d have with and without butter."

                                                If you'd like to read the full reviews, I suppose that it might be okay for me to suggest that you could find them by Googling my username. Happy reading and eating!

                                                -----
                                                Maine Diner
                                                2265 Post Rd, Wells, ME 04090

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: chubbywerewolf

                                                  I was an 'old school' simple w. mayo on a roll for years..

                                                  until i went to Neptune Oyster on Salem Street in the North End/Boston...They do a chilled lobster roll with warm butter on a huuuge brioche roll that will make you forget about all others. Good luck getting into the place too..small room, fills quick. Sorry, there isnt a lobster roll in New England, that ive had, that is even on the map with this one.

                                                2. -with heated hot garlic butter laced with cayenne hot sauce! On a toasted buttered bun of course.