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New England Lobster Rolls

Someone put a post up earlier with a link to a blog of their lobster roll adventures this summer. I had commented on it and came back just now to reference it but cant find the post!? There was a lot of great photos and info in it. Does anyone have that url? I dont know why it would have disappeared!?

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    1. re: CapeCodGuy

      thankyou! Has anyone else been to the Gallery Rest & pub, his #1 pick? I had not even heard of it before.Looks like the #1 for the boston area was Alive & Kicking. I will have to try some of these.
      Interesting that they had such a bad experience at Neptune which is usually rated pretty high here on Chowhound. Although, I notice Kellys rated highly on Chowhound too and i find their rolls disgusting.

      1. re: hargau

        My parents have a place in Naples and go once a week and LOVE it.

        1. re: hargau

          I'd have to agree on Neptunes. After reading such great reviews here, we went, along with another couple. Such a teeny tiny amount of claw meat on a New England bun...we expected it to be enough to share. What a joke. It was totally laughable to the point of complaining to management, but right then and there we decided never to return. To put 1-2 tablespoons of filling on a roll is just inexcusable.

          1. re: shopgirl

            What!? Something went wrong. I can barely finish the Neptune lobster roll, and I don't even eat all the bread. I don't blame you for not going back, given your experience, but what you describe is not remotely typical.

            1. re: Alcachofa

              doesn't come anywhere near to my experience,either. I ate about one third of the meat and one quarter of the bread. the fries were delicious and ate about one third of those. granted, I am a light eater, but I was there with a huge eater friend who ate his own chowder, entree, and much of my lobster roll and we still left some behind. It was a staggering amount of lobster.

              1. re: Alcachofa

                Here's a snap from our visit. Our issue wasn't as much quantity as it was quality, which was really pretty bad.

                1. re: LobsterRollChronicle

                  wow. doesn't look at all like the two I've had in the past. And the quality of mine was superb and I got, I'd estimate, almost twice as much of both lobster and fries.

                  That looks like something from the 99.....although the bread looks better! Like others, I can understand why you wouldn't want to go back. I hope to go back in the next month and while I won't order the lobster roll, look around and see what gets delivered to others. Personally I love the fried oysters on the Berkshire pork and I really want to try the cuttlefish. If I manage to get there, I'll report back on what I see.

                  1. re: Madrid

                    and served witha side of snotty attitude! what could be better?

                    a sharp atick in the eye.

                    1. re: hyde

                      I've had the Neptune roll twice. The first time it was overflowing with tender chunks of buttery goodness. The second time had less lobster, although still a healthy portion, but it was very chewy and the roll was soaking in a pool of butter/pinkish water, which even after just a few bites hit my stomach like a ton of bricks and stayed there for much of the afternoon. I wouldn't return, although I received friendly service at the bar with none of the attitude you mention.

          2. re: CapeCodGuy

            Happy to see Hook's rated so highly. I am a longtime fan and had 1 yesterday,.great value for Boston and wouldn't expect them to measure uo to Maine's best.

            In the high end category, some friends had the butter version at Mare and raved about it.

            1. re: CapeCodGuy

              Capecodguy: thanks for the link. The article gets a lot of credibility with it's awful remark to Neptune oyster.

              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                Has anyone tried the roll at Kuckleheads in New Bedford? I saw it on some Food Network show featuring their 1 lb roll which i think was only $15 or so.. Looked good on tv..

              2. I saw it yesterday. It was a very nice and colorful writeup but it is tough to put much stock in something that is one person's assessment. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to lobster rolls. For example, the reviewer rated The Galley's lobster roll as the best based on the addition of the lemon pepper seasoning at the top. For me, this would ruin the entire sandwich.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LockerNumber28

                  True! But isnt everything written here 1 persons assessment? Theirs is just more colorful/nicer. For me its the photos that can help me determine (i hope).. I can tell just by looking that some of those , i would enjoy more than others. Of course you cant always go by that either as the taste is of course the deciding factor!

                2. hargau, you might also enjoy this particular blog, whose singular focus is this subject:


                  I often use it as a resource when driving around New England, as I particularly like her analytical style, and attention to detail - she discloses the standards by which she evaluates:


                  There's at least one burgerblog out there that could take a tip or two from this approach.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Nab

                    Cool. I like how she includes a tape measure and weight too, that is hardcore! Interesting that her "Gold Standard" is also the same as the #2 on the above blog.

                  2. I think Belle Isle has a great lobster roll for short money. Ever been?

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: treb

                      Hard to believe Belle Isle was skipped, when it seems to rank as most folks' #1 or #2.

                      My next Lobster Roll Road Trip has sure been moved up thanks to this report, though!

                      1. re: L2k

                        For what it is worth, Lobstergal reviewed Belle Isle and disliked their roll. I have never been. Her fav in the Boston area was Alive and Kicking in Cambridge. You may or may not agree with her reviews but her blog or website is awesome, great pictures of lobster rolls at about 50 locales around New England and NYC.

                        1. re: bakerboyz

                          Only problem is Alive n Kicking is not a lobster roll. It's a darned fine sangwich but it's a different beast. I do enjoy her scientific method though. And putting items in the pictures for scale is a helpful touch. I like to put a quarter next to a cheese steak myself. Then I feel bad and glutonous.

                          1. re: bakerboyz

                            LobsterGal has a great site. We've heard mixed reviews of Belle Isle. Louie's Alive & Kicking is really a great take, and one of our favorites. As far as we're concerned, the shape of the bread is secondary... kind of like saying you like penne better than ziti.

                            1. re: LobsterRollChronicle

                              I do like her site, but hers is the first negative I've ever seen about Belle Isle's lobster roll. The total lack of ambiance? Certainly heard that again and again. But never heard a discouraging word about the lobster roll.

                              And the Ambiance is stepping up shortly with their move across the bridge. Things can only get better!

                              1. re: L2k

                                L2K, you're making us want to visit Belle Isle ASAP to see what all the fuss is about. Are they seasonal, or open year round?

                                1. re: LobsterRollChronicle

                                  All year long. They are in the process of moving (about 100 yards), don't know if there's any chance that might cause a brief shutdown or not.

                                2. re: L2k

                                  Plenty of negative datapoints on Belle Isle.

                                  Excluding ambiance, I'm always a little surprised how LobsterGal's impressions align almost exactly with my own every time. My experiences with Belle Isle have netted zero flavour, despite the roll's aesthetics.

                                  1. re: Nab

                                    I'm a big Belle Isle fan and hit it every other week in the summer. It's a reasonably priced lobster roll that is stuffed with extra-large chunks. I actually like the ambiance of sitting out back near the water and watching the planes.

                                    Zero-flavor may have to do with my one complaint with Belle-Isle: lack of salt. Seriously, it's like they've never even heard of salt. Eating the onion rings or fried clams without adding your own seasoning can be disappointing. That said, we just bring our own salt and are happy to do it considering the proximity, reasonable price, large portions, freshness, and lack of major lines at Belle Isle.

                                    1. re: Klunco

                                      I also like eating out back in my car, especially when I can have a cold one which enhances the lobster roll greatly. Again, no ambiance but, I've always said that it doesn't add to the product.

                                      1. re: Klunco

                                        For people w/ high blood pressure, the lack of salt is ok. You can always add it. You can't take it out of something that is totally oversalted or "seasoned" as people nowadays call it :-P

                                        And FWIW, I thought the lobster and crab rolls at Belle Isle had plenty of flavor the first time we tried it this year...

                                  2. re: LobsterRollChronicle

                                    Thanks for all the Belle Isle recommendations. We hit them today and have posted a write-up on our blog and Facebook pages. Here's an excerpt.

                                    "The lobster meat itself was truly fresh and delicious – some of the best we’ve had. But we both noticed that, aside from a couple of lettuce leaves, the roll was naked – that is, no salt, no pepper, not nothing. Usually this is no big deal because the butter-grilled roll typically delivers a light dose of salt, as well as a buttery rich bottom. In this case, because the roll was so lightly toasted and seemed to lack any butter, and because the roll was otherwise plain, despite its high-quality lobster meat this role left us wishing for just a bit more taste."

                                    1. re: LobsterRollChronicle

                                      I'd say that's a pretty spot on review.

                                  3. re: bakerboyz

                                    Alive 'n Kicking is my favorite as well - I can sub out the roll for the scali as long as the lobster is lovely, unmessed with, and the scali is tasty and toasted properly.

                              2. Thanks guys! In Boston, I also like James Hook, apparently they toast their bread now. For the Cape, I'm a fan of Chatham Pier Fish Market (pictured, don't be distracted by the paprika, weighed in at 10.7 tasty ounces), Eastwind Lobster in Bourne (not technically the Cape, but still) and Moby Dick's in Wellfleet.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: LobsterGal

                                  What up with that paprika!!?? And that roll isn't grilled or even toasted!! Oh bother. It's the little things that say lobster roll to me. But I appreciate what you do!!

                                  1. re: LobsterGal

                                    Confirmed, LobsterGal. Hook still has pre-made lobster rolls on ice in the display case, but they will also make you a butter-grilled roll on-demand!

                                    1. re: LobsterGal

                                      Good Cape choices LG. When in the area you need to try Sesuit Cafe in Dennis and Friendly Fisherman in Eastham.

                                      And the Cape was the Cape well before there was a canal so unlike many locals, I do consider Bourne to be "technically" on Cape!

                                    2. Any thoughts on Clam Box in Ipswich, JT Farnhams in Essex and The Fish Shack in Rockport? I'm debating my weekend plans, between North Shore Mass and hitting Boston to try Lobsta Love truck, B&G, Island Creek and Neptune (if the wait isn't 5 years long).

                                      23 Replies
                                      1. re: LobsterGal

                                        LG, Farnham's actually isn't bad. Slightly over-dressed, and the lobster meat is chopped into relatively small chunks. Overall a pretty good roll. (And if you like fried clams, Farnham's is the favorite of many, including us!). Roy Moore's Lobster Company has two locations in Rockport. His shack on Bear Skin Neck might be closed by now (seasonal business). These rolls a pre-made, kept in a cooler, and are relatively small (see photo, and compare size of the roll to the bag of chips). We've not had the roll from Roy's Fish Shack (which is just about 100 yards away, right in the center of Rockport).

                                        1. re: LobsterGal

                                          Very happy with the Farhham's lobster roll (and their clams, as LRC says). And you can't top the view anywhere. Only had the Clam Box one once, that's why we keep going to Farnham's when in the neighborhood with a hankering

                                          1. re: L2k

                                            Unfortunately, Farnhams uses Cains mayo which I hate. The lobster roll at The Clam Box is very very good.

                                            1. re: catsmeow

                                              You can also get a lobster roll at Farnham's . . . without the mayo! Just ask (we do)

                                              1. re: L2k

                                                kinda defeats the purpose of getting a lobster roll. IMO, use the best ingredients you can.

                                                1. re: treb

                                                  CM, you know we've been thinking about your Cain's mayo comment. There was definitely something different about the Farnham's roll that we couldn't put our finger on. You may have nailed it! If your report is true, then this might be that "certain something" that prevented Farnham's from scoring higher than 12th on our list. Nice call.

                                                  1. re: LobsterRollChronicle

                                                    They also use Cains mayo for their tarter sauce which is a shame. Their clams are very good, but the tarter sauce ruins them. I don't go there because of that.

                                                    1. re: catsmeow

                                                      Totally agree, we did a clam krawl a few years ago, Farnham's tartar sauce was the worst, actually putrid.

                                                      1. re: treb

                                                        We still contend Farnham's has the best fried clams, but the mayo controversy is really starting to make sense! Great data, CM.

                                                        1. re: LobsterRollChronicle

                                                          The krawl consensus was The Clam Box was tops, all others were not even close.

                                                  2. re: treb

                                                    Exactly. Lobster > Mayo, so why add mayo?

                                                2. re: catsmeow

                                                  Grosser yet - Linda Bean's in Freeport uses miracle whip (instead of mayo or hot melted butter) on their lobster rolls. A complete abomination, and the reason I'll never try one there.

                                                  1. re: steve999

                                                    You know, we skipped Linda Bean's because it's a chain. Not sure how we'd feel about a miracle roll...

                                                    1. re: steve999

                                                      I didn't think Linda Bean's was nearly as bad as I'd heard. I mean, it wasn't my favorite by any stretch, but perfectly adequate. Apparently, they do use Miracle Whip, but I really didn't taste sweet yuck that usually hits you with MW, so I don't think they use much. It's their "secret spice blend" that's weird to me. When in Freeport, Derosiers, about 5 stores down the street is much better, as long as you like tail meat, lots of it. I've had Linda Beans in Delray Beach too, and when you're having a need for a lobster roll in Florida, it hits the spot.

                                                      1. re: LobsterGal

                                                        Three more stops on the lobster roll express yesterday: Yankee Lobster Company, B&G Oysters, and Island Creek Oyster Bar. Any guesses on who scored big?

                                                        1. re: LobsterRollChronicle

                                                          I don't know which is which but the roll on the left to me looks the most appetizing.

                                                          1. re: bakerboyz

                                                            Winner winner, chicken dinner! That's ICOB! Surprisingly good role despite some nontraditional ingredients. We've already received a bit of flak based on our review, but we stand by our findings... very good role!

                                                            1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                              CCG, sorry for the typo. We were new to this, and were just trying to add to the community... but message received. Here's the review.

                                                              Profile: “ISLAND CREEK OYSTER BAR” in Boston, MA

                                                              We found Island Creek Oyster Bar in a roundabout way, twice over. First, we’d been to their Kenmore Square location back when it was a restaurant called Great Bay (in fact, it was our secret for Red Sox games – have some apps, valet your car, and they’d have it waiting and running as soon as the game got over. 30-minutes from last pitch to driveway!). But we’d also seen Island Creek Oysters featured on Andrew Zimmern‘s television show, Bizarre Foods. We realized neither of these points when we chose to make it the third of a three-roll day hoofing it around Boston. All we knew was two things: first, lots of people like ICOB. Second, they reportedly add all sorts of non-traditional nonsense into their roll. But what the heck… we figured we’d give them a try.

                                                              In some ways, ICOB is about as different from places like Red’s Eats and The Clam Shack as you can get. This is a high-end, glitzy restaurant with a mammoth bar and aforementioned valet guys who’ll happily park your car for you. Yet, the great equalizer is this bug from the deep we like to eat in a hot dog roll. So, despite the ambiance, we’re not sure how much of an advantage a fancy place really has over the little guys. The roll is what it is.

                                                              We asked about the rolls here, and our bartender Vik (who later turned out to be interested in our blog) said they were great. We told him we’d be splitting our role, which seemed fine with him.We waited the usual 10-15 minutes for our made-to-order order, and were pleased to see they actually took the time to cut our roll in half, and give each of us our own plate complete with our own orders of homemade potato chips and our own servings of coleslaw. NOTE TO FUTURE CHEFS OF AMERICA: this very small, cost-free gesture makes your customers feel like you care about them. It is, at the end of the day, pretty easy to delight your customers if you just think about it. But, we weren’t going to let this feel-good service influence our ratings.

                                                              This roll was very good. A beautifully buttered brioche roll contained a subtle complex of flavors which, in the hands of a less experienced chef, could have easily gotten out of hand. So let the controversy begin. If anyone had shared these ingredients with us in advance, we’d have been far less likely to drop by ICOB. But, confronted with this roll and nothing left to do but dig in, we were so happy nobody spilled the beans. The lobster meat was sweet, moist, and very fresh. It was dressed in light mayo (which we assume may have been scratch-made), as well as a touch of crème fraîche. This fancy tweak was so nice, and really rounded out the dressing-driven moistness while avoiding more inevitable greasy mayo twang. Tiny cubes of pickle and onion snuck up on us without being “in our face,” while salt, pepper, and a few other things we can’t remember rounded out the roll.

                                                              To repeat this was a very good roll! And, despite the laundry list of ingredients (which we’d never had noticed had we not read about them in advance) we are vary happy to award Island Creek Oyster Bar with a rating of HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Here’s how they stacked up (0-100):

                                                              T’s Rating: 92
                                                              P’s Rating: 91
                                                              AVERAGE: 91.5

                                                              Island Creek Oyster Bar is located at 500 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, MA. WEBSITE: http://islandcreekoysterbar.com. FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Island.... PHONE: 617.532.5300

                                                                1. re: LobsterRollChronicle

                                                                  usually you include the weight of the role, did you get it?

                                                                  1. re: treb

                                                                    Treb, it's Lobster Gal who brings a scale. We can tell you that this was a good sized roll.

                                                                  2. re: LobsterRollChronicle

                                                                    My two experiences with the ICOB roll were pretty disappointing. I didn't care for the small somewhat shredded pieces of meat or the all the bits of filler whose flavors overwhelmed the lobster. I'm also less of a fan of the brioche with lobster rolls.

                                                                    1. re: Gabatta

                                                                      Gabatta, although we've certainly had larger chunks of meat, this role still had pretty good sized chunks... although we do know what you mean. And we've heard several reports of exotic ingredients overpowering the ICOB roll. This was definitely was not the case during our visit. The exotics were "present" but not overpowering. From all the feedback we've gotten, we may well have hit them on a good day.

                                                  2. Stopped at Wood's, in Plymouth yesterday for the first time in 3-4 years. That used to be our "go to" place for lobster rolls, even driving down there special from MetroWest when we had a hankering. And then we found Belle Isle, and that stopped happening.

                                                    Have to say it was like turning back time. Place looks almost exactly the same, the wait for food is still just a bit too long, and the lobster roll looks and tastes the same as it did last time. But after being spoiled by Belle Isle, this just didn't quite cut it anymore.

                                                    I'd wager it's still a better lobster roll than 80% of the competition, but we've been spoiled by Belle Isle. We'll still stop here en route to/from the Cape, but no special trips.