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Lobster Rolls- The Dealbreaker When the Cooked Lobster is Outsourced?

I was just thinking about this.Lobster rolls are a big CH topic and a fav dish of tourists. I am a fan of the innovative food at Neptune Oyster (not the clam chowder) but from what i see when we dine there, i would guess that their best selling dish is their lobster roll, hot. I know that they buy their lobster pre-cooked (we were told upwards of 100 lbs p. week)because they have no kitchen capacity to prepare that much themselves. So, i would not be surprised to find that the vendor of their lobster is the same vendor for lobster at some other restnts. So what attributes would make their lobster rolls 'the best'? Portion, quality of roll and butter, knowledgeable handling-gentle heating/ not rubberizing the lobster? just curious.

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Neptune Oyster
63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

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  1. Curious which local purveyors of lobster rolls cook and pick their lobster in house.

    1. This is an excellent thread....I would like to know the same!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Science Chick

        from what i understand, it takes an amazing lot of ice and cold water, and space- to cool down the cooked lobsters- so i would guess that smaller restnts with high volume- simply can't do that themselves. some CHs have mentioned lobster shacks where you see the chefs cooking them.......

        1. re: opinionatedchef

          I wouldn't think that it necessarily matters whether the lobster is cooked in house or elsewhere. What really matters is the freshness and quality of the preparation. Obviously cooking and picking in house should benefit the freshness, but not necessarily the quality of the preparation.

          BTW, I just had an outstanding (although pricey -- $30) lobster roll at The Bristol Lounge. It's served with what the menu describes as "lemon sabayon," which I asked that they keep to a minimum because I guessed, correctly, that, being The Bristol Lounge and all, the lobster meat would be of high quality. It was served in an oversized roll (not Pepperidge Farm's) that had been grilled with a bit of butter, but not drenched in butter as some places do. They serve it with sweet potato fries, but I subbed in their wonderful regular fries, which were served with a salsa-like ketchup.

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          Bristol Lounge
          200 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

          1. re: Blumie

            I had that lobster roll at my one and only visit to the Bristol Lounge and I agree that it's really good. I also substituted the regular fries. Nothing abominable like celery in there, but I think there were a few minced shallots.

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            Bristol Lounge
            200 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

      2. maybe one point would be whether they use tail meat vs only claw and knuckle meat.

        4 Replies
        1. re: treb

          treb, that is an excellent thought.I have, btw, gained more accurate info on Neptune Oyster's particulars.
          We ate there again yesterday (gotta have us that vitello tonnato sandwich and scallops dish fix) and found out that it is 400-450 pounds (not 100) of lobster meat(lobster tail, claw and knuckle) that they go through in a week!!About 80% of their rolls are hot, w/ melted butter [140 lb of sweet butter a wk.; 1000 Iggy’s rolls]. With that kind of quantity, in that closet like kitchen space, you can see why daily delivery is essential.No day-old here. Man o man that is a LOT of bugs( about 1600-1800 lbs)!!! Can you imAgine?
          And french fries, fresh french fries, now that’s another story. 200 lb of potatoes a week (and if a vendor stored them too long,too cold, their starch converts to higher sugar levels and you end up with soggy fries.) whew. and btw, i now have a new benchmark for tough jobs. Lobsters are shelled .....by hand. so keep all that in mind next time you do your due dilligence so you can get your lobster roll fix at Neptune Oyster!!

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          Neptune Oyster
          63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

          1. re: opinionatedchef

            Prefer Alive 'n Kicking, where they are cooked in house, even though the "roll" is scali toast. But the price? I think it was 14.99 last time. And the lobster? Just grand.

            1. re: teezeetoo

              Is the lobster they use in the sandwich cooked in house? I ask because the loose tail meat for sale comes right out of a can from J Hook. I don't have a problem with this as it is great meat and saves me a trip to J Hook. However it would be sort of curious that they would cook bugs for their sandwich meat, but outsource for meat to sell.

              1. re: Gabatta

                you know, I don't know the answer. they've cooked my bugs for me and so I just made the assumption since they are cooking the little guys, they are doing that for the sandwiches. I have to admit I never asked. Oh well, there's that "assuming" cliche at work again.

        2. Not exactly directly on point, but commissary operations are common. Legal Sea Foods makes all its clam chowder at a commissary here and ships it to all restaurants.

          1. FYI, I purchased a pound of cooked lobster meat, vacuum sealed, this summer from a lobster pound in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and the lobsterman swore to me (and I believed him), that he supplied all of the lobster meat for the lobster rolls at Red Eats. Some may argue whether or not Reds has the best lobster rolls in the US (or even Maine) but it's still pretty damn good. I vary between making lobster rolls cold with a little mayo, celery and lemon and serving them warm with drawn butter. I find that so long as the lobster isn't overcooked and chewy to begin with then heating it up for 15 seconds or so doesn't rubberize the lobster.

            3 Replies
            1. re: bakerboyz

              For even more local in Wiscasset, a friend's boyfriend is a lobsterman in Westport Island and informed us to eat on the docks opposite where the lobsters were local, rather than Red's where they were not.

              1. re: bee

                we ate there last summer and it was truly disgusting. There is a good reason there is a 1hr line on one side on the road and not a soul on the other. That places exists purely on people who get tired of the line as we did. I think the most disgusting thing we got was their "fish roll" which was a hot dog bun with a fishstick in it! It gets good Yelp reviews so maybe it has changed or we just were unlucky...

                My fav in Wiscasset is The Sea Basket. Nice lobster rolls, homemade chowders and much much better fried foods than Reds. Reds lobster rolls are great but just about everything else on the menu is bad, especially the fried foods which all have really thick/bland/cake like batter. Better yet drive 15min more to Pemaquid Harbor and go to the Lobster Co-op there. Good lobster rolls, lobsters, fried foods in the rough with byob drinks and sides, etc.. beautiful view, no traffic, no waiting an hour. http://www.pemaquidlobstercoop.com/Re...

                1. re: bee

                  Actually, the lobster at Red's, if the lobsterman in Boothbay was to be believed, were local.