To make the lobster salad, chop lobster meat (tail, knuckle, and claws) into ½- to ¾ -inch chunks. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lobster meat, celery, mayonnaise, lemon, and salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Cover the mixture and store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It will last up to 2 days.
To prepare the bun, in a small sauté pan over low to medium heat, melt the butter. Place the hot dog buns on their sides in the butter. Flip the buns a couple of times so that both sides soak up an equal amount of butter and brown evenly. Remove the buns from the pan and place them on a large plate.
Fill the toasted buns with lobster salad. Sprinkle with chives and serve with a salad, slaw or shoestring fries.
(Variation: For a shrimp roll, substitute 2 pounds of shrimp, cooked, peeled, and sliced in half lengthwise.)
Everything here is delicious. I love the lobster roll , gem salad, oysters, and of course the bouillabaisse. Don't forget the daily veggie, and the chocolate mousse quenelle for dessert.
Others will see how you vote!
- Joy G.
- New York, NY
- 1327 friends
- 958 reviews
- 339 photos
- Elite ’21
We came on a super cold, rainy post-holiday afternoon for lunch and ended up being the only table. The waitress couldn't be nicer and even brought out a little portable speaker so we could have some ambiance. Even though we were cold and shivering, I do appreciate the measures they took to make things more covid-friendly, including spacing the tables far apart and hanging up heat lamps.
Ordered a ton of oysters, the shrimp cocktail and the Caesar salad. I've been missing oysters and these hit the spot - briny, fresh, flavorful. Shrimp and Caesar salad were par for the course, though I will say that the dressing they used was extremely garlicky, so much so that it's been a few hours and I'll sniff at the air, wondering where the stink is coming from and realize it's emanating from my pores.
I'd want to come back and try more of their seafood offerings, including the legendary lobster roll and the skate.
Others will see how you vote!
- Jo L.
- Manhattan, NY
- 126 friends
- 37 reviews
- 8 photos
Food is great. Love the lobster rolls ! Just one change please. Can you change fries to be thicker instead of shoestring?
Others will see how you vote!
- Radojica K.
- Fresh Meadows, NY
- 25 friends
- 12 reviews
- 2 photos
Was craving some oysters so I decided to check out this place.
It was a great decision! Service was impeccable, food was top notch (we had oysters and the lobster roll )! Will definitely go back again!
Others will see how you vote!
- Elise J.
- West Lafayette, IN
- 18 friends
- 32 reviews
- 50 photos
Love love love the food here. Tried the mussels and lobster roll . Those fries are BOMB. Quiet but cozy outdoor settings.
Others will see how you vote!
- David M.
- Hoboken, NJ
- 30 friends
- 40 reviews
- 2 photos
This is the BEST seafood restaurant in New York, if not the world! Their fried oysters are so good I order them every time I go. The lobster roll is unforgettable--you will never be able to eat another lobster roll again without thinking of Pearl Oyster. It's true this in not the place you want to go for a leisurely meal, but the service is fast, warm and wonderful, the meal always comes to the table hot, and the food is world class.
Oh, I forgot the mention the fried skate is scrumptious! I often go with my wife, and I order the lobster roll , and she orders the skate, so we get the best of both worlds.
I LOVE YOU, Pearl Oyster Bar!
Others will see how you vote!
- Walter T.
- Brooklyn, NY
- 97 friends
- 79 reviews
- 291 photos
Base on coming here January 9, 2013 ago , I came here for lunch which ends last sitting at 2:30pm so go before obviously. I get a glass of wine and Mussels w/ some bread in the side . I seat at bar .they have beer on draft the kitchen is floor level in the back so everything is made to order , Thay have a great lobster roll too .My lunch was Perfectly great time . In the evenings at 6pm there's a line to get in for dinner . it has a back room also Bar in front . Probably definitely will be back . I say it's ($$ ) out of 4 here , but it's worth the wait and Price too
Others will see how you vote!
Wine delicious. Fried oysters fantastic. Steamers tasty. Caesar salad well chopped and tasty. Lobster roll as good as any I've had in Maine. Chocolate mouse sublime. Service excellent and pleasant.
I grew up on the shore, so I've had seafood my entire life. Who would have guessed it was this great without the waves crashing outside?
Monday night is always a winner in NYC.
Others will see how you vote!
- Will S.
- San Diego, CA
- 6 friends
- 51 reviews
- 20 photos
The place is located in a great little neighborhood and the wait staff is awesome. Add to that the food is amazing. A must eatery if you want the king of all Lobster Rolls !
Others will see how you vote!
- Danielle M.
- New York, NY
- 413 friends
- 577 reviews
- 41 photos
- Elite ’21
Cozy seafood restaurant tucked away in the West Village. Love the vibes and authenticity of the place. After a short wait, we were seated at the bar (our preferred arrangement) and shared a number of plates.
Lobster roll with shoestring fries
Everything was fresh & good, but my favorites of the night were the fried oysters and clam chowder. And of course, we finished our evening with a slice of blueberry pie a la mode. Not rushing to come back, but certainly glad we came!
Others will see how you vote!
- Kingston B.
- Fallston, MD
- 37 friends
- 144 reviews
- 138 photos
Great dinner! Such a great place.
Lots of great seafood choices. The specials were great.
Halibut was perfect. Salmon was awesome. The Lobster Roll was like we were on Cape Cod. Fried Oysters & shrimp cocktail as starters.
Service is great. Lane Koivu was the best we have encountered. Took care of us all night long.
Others will see how you vote!
- P M.
- New York, NY
- 15 friends
- 208 reviews
- 2 photos
I feel sad to say I'd never come back here nor would I recommend this place. Because their fried oysters are reeeeeally good. As is their grilled lobster and blueberry crumble. Not a fan of their lobster roll . Way too much thick mayo slathered on there. Tastes nothing like a proper New England lobsta roll . The service is AWFUL. Also, we were put in a back room with no windows - far from "cozy"- and I was asked to push my seat back by our server, as far as it would go, and he literally shoved the table in till it pushed into my chest because he apparently needed to make room to walk around to serve other tables. They didn't bus our table so we just had to keep putting glasses and plates on the floor to make space on our table. We were so cramped, and when they moved the table, my friend's wine spilled. They wouldn't even clean it up. Just plopped our food right on top of the mess. Half the time we were looking for our waiter for water and more drinks. He was so unfriendly.
We tipped accordingly. And then he started his passive aggressive remarks and let us know someone else was waiting for the table. He didn't ask about the service or anything. He seemed like such a miserable human being and he could have ruined our evening. BUT the food was great. And the company was great. So he was more like the gnat that annoyed our dinner that evening.
The Best Lobster Rolls In the US: TPG Staff Favorites
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To celebrate the first Friday of each month and the lucrative 3x points on dining on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, we&rsquore excited to kick off a monthly dining roundup. To get things started, we&rsquore sharing our picks for the best lobster rolls around the country. Summer may be coming to an end, but lobster rolls are timeless.
We took the lead from Creative Director Adam Daniel Weiss who&rsquos proudly attended Tasting Table&rsquos Lobster Roll Rumble in New York the past four years in a row. &ldquoIt&rsquos my favorite foodie day of the year!&rdquo he exclaims.
Hungry crowds line up for The Clam Shack
The Clam Shack, Kennebunkport, ME
The Roll: The Clam Shack lobster roll ($16.75) won the Travel Channel&rsquos Food Wars&ndashand for good reason. The roll includes fresh picked meat from a one pound lobster on a New England style hot dog roll.
The Restaurant: A Maine summer staple, this fish shack is situated on the banks of the Kennebunkport River. Don&rsquot expect fine dining here, as all dishes are take out, literally. All seating is outside, so diners can enjoy the fresh breeze and the delectable fish while sitting on lobster crates and picnic benches. Can&rsquot stop craving their world famous lobster rolls? Then pick up a kit of your own. For $75, you can get one pound of fresh picked Maine lobster meat, mayo, a half dozen New England style hot dog rolls, a recipe and a greeting card send to yourself or a loved one&mdashshipping included! &mdashLori Zaino
Stephanie&rsquos on Newbury
Stephanie&rsquos on Newbury, Boston, MA
The Roll: The legendary Lobster Salad Roll (market price) features huge chunks of Maine lobster tossed in just a smidge of mayo and dijon mustard, then generously layered on a toasted brioche roll. Crunchy-fresh coleslaw provides a green, refreshing contrast, and though the fries are crispy, thin and lightly salted, they&rsquore unlikely to steal any of the Salad Roll&rsquos spotlight.
The Restaurant: There&rsquos been a wait for a table ever since this wildly popular Back Bay spot opened in in 1994&ndashespecially on the see-and-be-seen, fenced-in patio on Newbury Street, one of Boston&rsquos best shopping avenues. Housed in an unassuming brick building, the warm interior decor has a traditional New England feel with a fireplace and leather-upholstered chairs in the bar and lounge. Open seven days a week, some of the biggest draws on the menu are generous, pricey entrée salads (the Asian Yellow Fin Tuna Salad costs $22) and comfort foods like a creamy lobster pot pie. The bar features a revolving choice of seasonal sangrias by the glass or pitcher. If you want to skip the crowd at the flagship location, visit the newest outpost of Stephanie&rsquos at Logan airport&rsquos stylish new Terminal B. &ndash Melanie Wynne
Oysters are a natural choice at Eventide Oyster Bar
Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME
The Roll: At Eventide Oyster Co., you can choose to dress your lobster roll ($10) in Hollandaise sauce, specialty house mayo, or a brown butter vinaigrette. The lobster is placed atop a warm bun, and not just your run of the mill New England hot dog bun, but an Asian-style bun, steamed to perfection.
The Restaurant: This raw bar features over 20 different oyster varieties with a menu that changes daily based on what happens to be the freshest catch. Highlights beyond the famous lobster roll and the raw oysters include the lobster stew (seasoned with sherry and paprika) and the New England Clam Back, a medley of steamers, mussels, lobster, potatoes, salt pork and a hard-boiled egg in a bed of rock seaweed. The drink list is extensive, including homemade cocktails, a selection of beers and ales around the world. They even have beer that&rsquos actually brewed with oysters called Dirty Pearl, a collaboration between Eventide and the Bunker Brewing Company. &mdashLZ
The onion soupe is another must try at L&rsquoEchon
L&rsquoEchon Brasserie, Miami Beach
The Roll: Come for lunch (served daily noon to 3 p.m.) for this classic Maine lobster roll ($26) on a brioche butter bun prepared with crème de citron, tarragon and celery with your choice salad or fries.
The Restaurant: The latest restaurant concept from Miami&rsquos uber-successful and hyper-local Pubbelly Group, L&rsquoEchon Brasserie is their spin on French bistro fare. With a focus on small plates, creative deconstructions and reverence of the swine as a key ingredient in many dishes, the menu&rsquos influences manage to span the European continent (pan con tomate, moule frites, tagliatelle a la truffle noire) and Asia (hamachi crudo) while presenting a united front to your palate. Located inside the newly opened Hilton Cabana, they&rsquore open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. One French bistro staple not to miss, the soupe d&rsquoOignan with emmental cheese and a dash of sherry. &ndashShayne Benowitz
The decks of Grand Banks awaits for lobster roll (and oyster) heaven
Grand Banks, New York
The Roll: This classic lobster roll ($25) is made with Maine lobster in a tarragon paprika mayo with &ldquoboat-made&rdquo pickles on a lightly toasted bun and served with a side of Old Bay seasoned potato chips.
The Restaurant: There may be no saltier place in New York to bite into a lobster roll than on deck the newly opened Grand Banks. Located aboard a historic 142&rsquo schooner, the F/V Sherman Zwicker, and rafted up to TriBeCa&rsquos Pier 25 on the Hudson River, Grand Banks is a chic maritime dining (and imbibing) destination. Come early to snag a spot at a table or at the bar and order a dozen oysters and a specialty cocktail of the day (with clever names like Death in the Gulf Stream) to accompany your roll. Just be sure to swing by before season is over on October 31 when the ship plans to motor south. &ndashSB
Sam&rsquos Chowder House
Sam&rsquos Chowder House, Half Moon Bay, CA
The Roll: So tasty that it&rsquos been named one of the Today Show&rsquos Five Best Sandwiches in America, the star attraction of the Famous Maine Lobster Roll ($22.95) is perfectly poached lobster tossed with just the barest hint of butter, chives and sea salt, then layered on a plain white, lightly toasted bun. Served with a fresh cabbage-and-carrot coleslaw and kettle-cooked potato chips, this roll can offer a hit of summer even on the foggiest Northern California days.
The Restaurant: Since its debut in 2006, this cliff-top hangout with amazing Pacific views has been lauded as one of the best outdoor dining spots in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are heat lamps out on the deck, a fireplace just inside and Adirondack chairs on the dog-friendly patio. Sam&rsquos is known for its hearty clam chowder, but don&rsquot pass up the fresh fish specials &ndash the nearby waters are teeming with options. For those who want to skip the 45-minute drive south from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay, Sam&rsquos bright red Chowdermobile delivers its lobster rolls and other seafood specialties to different locations around the City by the Bay. &ndash MW
Bite into this roll at The Lobster Place
The Lobster Place, New York
The Roll: Stop by C&P Galley at Chelsea Market for The Lobster Place&rsquos takeaway Maine-style Lobster Roll ($16.95) with pieces of fresh claw and tail meat served chilled with celery, scallions, lemon and mayonnaise, packed on a toasted, buttered split-top roll with a pickle and potato chips on the side.
The Restaurant: Whether you&rsquore looking for a whole-steamed lobster, takeaway seafood items, or a sit-down restaurant, The Lobster Place has all three. The wholesale seafood market features up to 650 different types of seafood throughout the year, as well as prepared items, stove-top clambakes, and a full sushi bar. Next door, The Lobster Place&rsquos sit-down oyster bar, Cull & Pistol, incorporates seafood from the wholesale market into their dishes, and is open seven days a week for lunch, and Monday through Saturday for dinner. For a takeaway alternative, C&P Galley serves up items like crab cake sandwiches, oyster po&rsquoboys, lobster bisque and fried shrimp. Be sure to try one of the picnic boxes with one of the sandwich staples, like the Tarragon Shrimp Roll filled with sweet shrimp, tarragon, capers, cornichons, parsley, chives and mayo, served with a bag of chips, homemade cookie and a root beer ($12.95). &ndashLane Nieset
Bite into this buttery brioche roll at Lure Fishbar. Image: Lure Fishbar
Lure Fishbar, Miami Beach (also New York)
The Roll: Another classic lobster roll ($30) served on a brioche bun with slaw and salt and vinegar chips.
The Restaurant: This New York transplant set up shop at South Beach&rsquos Loews Hotel in April 2014 and the accolades just keep pouring in. Named Best Seafood Restaurant by Miami New Times, you can enjoy your lobster in more than just a brioche roll here (lobster tempura sushi roll, lobster spring roll, lobster bisque and a two-pound Maine lobster). You can also feast on tuna, salmon, yellowtail snapper, crab and any other seafood delight you can dream up in a creative and mouth-watering preparation. Don&rsquot miss the crispy rice cakes with tuna tartare and wasabi aioli, yellowtail carpaccio and their selection of dressed oysters. For an entee, the bucatini pasta with butter poached crab and uni crema is truly special. &ndashSB
Todd English P.U.B. offers quite the spread with its brown butter lobster roll. Image: Todd English P.U.B.
Todd English P.U.B., Las Vegas (also Birmingham)
The Roll: Celeb chef Todd English puts his signature spin on the lobster roll with his Brown Butter Lobster Roll ($24) sautéed in aioli and served with housemade slaw and kettle chips on a buttery brioche roll.
The Restaurant: A high-octane gastropub at Aria Resort & Casino&rsquos Crystals shopping center, Todd English P.U.B. is a casual, yet stylish place to grab a pint (their craft beer selection is extensive and ever-changing) and a hearty meal surrounded by big screen televisions ideal for catching the game. The dining menu ranges from appetizers (beer battered pickles), burgers (hand-chopped ahi tuna), salads (iceberg wedge) and entrees (cioppino) all with a gourmet spin on typical pub grub. Reserve a draft table for a special occasion where you can fill your pints directly from the taps at your table with your choice of two craft beers. &ndashSB
A lobster roll dish at River House
River House, Portsmouth, NH
The Roll: The traditional River House Lobster Roll ($19.95) features shredded lobster from neighboring Kittery, Maine tossed in a light dressing of citrus-mayo and diced celery, layered on a grilled brioche bun with green-leaf lettuce and paired with ridge-cut pickle chips and thick, golden fries.
The Restaurant: Set right on the Portsmouth Harbor waterfront with two lamp-heated balconies boasting views of vintage tugboats and the arched Piscataqua River Bridge, this local favorite is as New England as it gets. The interior is all aged brick and dark wood, the lower balcony is paved with weather-greyed planks, and the upper is covered on chilly or wet days. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. , this casual, tourist-friendly spot is known for warm, efficient service and a lively bar scene at happy hour, as well as one of Portsmouth&rsquos most extensive gluten-free menus. Locally-caught seafood is the star here, most notably in a cream-based seafood chowder (brimming with lobster, scallops, shrimp, clams and haddock) that&rsquos consistently been voted New England&rsquos best by viewers of New England Cable News. &ndash MW
The Chic dining room at The Dutch Miami. Image: The Dutch Miami/Noah Fecks
The Dutch, Miami Beach (also New York)
The Roll: Chef de Cuisine Conor Hanlon prepares a killer New England lobster roll ($24) on the lunch menu at The Dutch Miami. Made with celery and tarragon and served on a potato bun, it hits the spot for a midday meal.
The Restaurant: Originally an outpost in SoHo by mega-chef Andrew Carmellini, the W Hotel South Beach location is going strong with an ever-changing local, seasonal menu highlighting fresh fish and produce. Start with a fried little oyster sandwich as your amuse bouche and scan the menu for whatever your tummy desires, from light selections like a corvina ceviche or yellowtail crudo to heartier fare, like steak tartare in a truffle vinaigrette topped with a quail egg to downright filling homemade papardelle with lamb ragu, sheep&rsquos milk ricotta and mint. Craving lobster at dinnertime? An exquisite lobster pot pie is currently on the menu in a warm puff pastry with the requisite carrots and peas. &ndashSB
A succulent lobster roll at B & G
B & G Oysters, Boston
The Roll: The 2014 winner of PBS affiliate WGBH&rsquos award for Boston&rsquos best lobster roll, B & G&rsquos Maine Lobster Roll ($23 at lunch, $29 at dinner) features lobster claw meat gently tossed with a light, zingy dab of lemon aioli, a bit of minced celery and a sprinkling of chives, then cozied into a split-top, toasted and butter-brushed roll and served with sides of skin-on fries and bread-and-butter pickles.
The Restaurant: The South End mainstay of James Beard-award-winning chef Barbara Lynch since 2003, this subterranean local hangout has is renowned for its extensive raw bar and friendly bar scene. Grey ceiling tiles, blue-grey walls and unpolished wooden floors create a cool, laid-back vibe that evokes the nearby Atlantic Ocean, and the best seats in the house are at the marble-topped bar surrounding an open kitchen, which gleams with stainless steel. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, menu highlights include 12 varieties of oysters and a huge lobster BLT that sparked a Beantown sandwich trend. &ndash MW
Lobster rolls at Red Hook Lobster Pound
Red Hook Lobster Pound, New York
The Roll: Find the NYC food truck or take a seat at the Manhattan restaurant for this popular Maine-Style lobster roll ($16) stuffed with a quarter pound of fresh-caught Maine lobster prepared with homemade mayo and served inside a grilled, split-top hot dog bun with a Brooklyn Brine pickle on the side.
The Restaurant: Taking its namesake from the spot where husband-and-wife duo Ralph and Susan opened their lobster pound, Red Hook Lobster Pound has brought its lobster rolls from markets in Brooklyn to restaurants and food trucks in Washington, D.C., Montauk and New York City. Red Hook focuses on sustainable and fresh caught lobster from Maine with simple rolls of claw and knuckle meat that allow the lobster&rsquos fresh flavor to really stand out. The newest outpost in Manhattan is tucked away at the end of Extra Place Alley in the East Village and is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. When the weather gets cooler, the Connecticut-Style lobster roll ($16), served hot with butter and lemon, is a must-have. &ndashLN
Succulent lobster rolls served up at Thames Street Oyster House
Thames Street Oyster House, Baltimore
The Roll: Winner of &ldquoFan Favorite&rdquo at Tasting Table&rsquos 2014 Lobster Rumble, the New England Lobster Roll ($23) is a decadent dish of simple beauty: great big, intact chunks of lobster tail and claw meat brushed with butter, set on a butter-brushed, toasted white roll, and served with a side of yet more butter. The three pairing choices are a salad of vinegary-sweet cucumber slices sprinkled with chives, a ramekin of lima beans baked in brown sugar, or a pile of boardwalk-style fries spiked with Old Bay Seasoning.
The Restaurant: Since its opening in 2011 in a former 1700s storehouse in the historic Fells Point district, this tavern has attracted a crowd of Baltimore chefs and raw bar aficionados. Reservations are recommended for the upstairs dining room (especially popular for its views of the Patapsco River) and when it&rsquos warm, for the iron bistro tables on the enclosed back patio. The downstairs is dominated by a carved-mahogany bar that offers seasonally&ndashinspired cocktails (like the autumn/winter Hot Buttered Rum) and beers that include bottles from Maryland breweries, such as Baltimore&rsquos Heavy Seas and Frederick&rsquos Flying Dog. If you still have room after a lobster roll, try the Lord Baltimore raw bar combo (a relative steal at $50) or the decadent lobster mac-n-cheese with aged gouda. &ndash MW
Ironside Fish & Oyster in San Diego
Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar, San Diego
The Roll: Arguably the best lobster roll in Southern California &ndash where this East Coast specialty is still an uncommon find &ndash Ironside&rsquos enormous version ($19) was created by Michelin-starred chef Jason McLeod. It features a full pound of lobster-tail meat strewn with a crispy tangle of fried shoestring onions and a dusting of diced chives, served on a buttery, house-made brioche, and paired with a mound of dark-golden fries and a luscious side of lemon aioli.
The Restaurant: Designed by local hospitality group CH Projects (Craft & Commerce, UnderBelly) to look like an early 1900s ocean liner, this Little Italy seafood hotspot has a soaring dining space decorated with whimsical octopus-arm sconces and a wall lined with real piranha skeletons, as well as copper-topped tables, leather chairs edged with brass studs, and arches of theater lights over the splashy and seemingly endless bar. The cocktail menu is wildly inspired with everything from delicate Champagne concoctions to tipples spiked with small-batch whiskies and bourbons. Aim to arrive before 7 p.m. to catch the one dollar oysters at happy hour, and enjoy beer-braised mussels and a citrusy shrimp-and-scallop ceviche with California avocado. &ndash MW
Yankee Lobster Co.
Yankee Lobster Co., Boston
The Roll: Swing by Boston&rsquos Seaport District and try the much-talked-about Maine lobster roll ($18.99), served on a split-top bun stuffed with a generous portion of fresh claw and knuckle lobster meat, diced celery and herbed mayo with sides of coleslaw and fries.
The Restaurant: The small, family-owned restaurant and fish market is a local favorite that has also caught national attention, thanks to an appearance on Food Network&rsquos Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. Set right on the water, the often-packed restaurant and patio has a laid-back vibe and fresh seafood dishes (the lobsters are held in tanks just out back), which can all be found on the blackboard menu boasting classic seafood and American fare&mdashthink fried oysters, crab cakes, hamburgers and chicken wings. Pull up a seat at one of the wooden tables inside for lunch or dinner, or snag a spot on the patio when the weather&rsquos nice. Top picks on the menu include the Yankee fish sandwich ($10.99), lobster mac and cheese ($13.99), and clam chowder ($4.24-$7.99), which pair well with a Harpoon IPA from the nearby New England brewery. &ndashLN
Always a classic, Pearl Oyster Bar
Pearl Oyster Bar, New York
The Roll: A classic Manhattan lobster roll (market price), Pearl&rsquos comes filled with chopped lobster on a toasted bun, enveloped in a mountain of shoestring fries.
The Restaurant: Pearl Oyster Bar opened in 1997 as a twenty seat seafood counter. Owner-chef Rebecca Charles explains that when she first opened the bar, &ldquothere wasn&rsquot a lobster roll to be found in Manhattan.&rdquo This Greenwich Village seafood spot is homey and comforting, and after you finish the lobster roll, order the blueberry pie for dessert to top it off. If your trip to Pearl has left you daydreaming for more, you can always order the cookbook with recipes and reminiscent stories about summers in Maine. &mdashLZ
Do you have a favorite lobster roll? Tell us where we can get it!
John Dory Oyster Bar’s Lobster Roll Recipe
Happy Lobster Roll Week! To celebrate this sweet, briny jewel of the summer sandwich menu, we're running five straight days of recipes, interviews, chefs' expert tips and pairings. If you thought you were craving a buttery bun stuffed with fresh lobster meat before this official celebration, it's about to get critical. This one comes straight from Chef April Bloomfield.
The John Dory Oyster Bar's lobster roll is April Bloomfield and chef de cuisine Josh Even's take on the classic sandwich. It's made with fresh Maine lobster meat warmed in lobster roe butter and tossed with celery seed mayo, dill, celery, red onion and white wine vinegar piled on a buttery, toasted roll from Orwasher's Bakery, made especially for the restaurant.
John Dory Oyster Bar’s Lobster Roll Recipe
- Prep Time: 1 hour plus chilling time
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Serving Size: 6
Lobster roe butter
Celery seed mayonnaise
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2-3 cups sunflower oil (vegetable oil will also work)
- 1 tablespoon celery seeds
- kosher salt, to taste
- 6 hot dog buns, split down the top, in the New England style
- 1/4 cup red onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1/2 cup celery, peeled and finely diced
- 2 tablespoons dill, roughly chopped
- 1/4 pound lobster roe butter or unsalted butter, plus a little extra soft, unsalted butter for brushing the buns
- sea salt, to taste
- cayenne pepper
For the lobster:
- You may either steam or boil the lobsters. At 1 1/4 pound each, the lobsters should take 8 minutes to cook. If you choose to boil the lobsters, use a pot large enough to comfortably fit all of the lobsters, or cook them in batches. The water should be salty, like the sea.
- Once cooked, chill the lobsters immediately in ice water. Leave them in the ice water only long enough to stop the cooking process.
- Remove them from the ice water and place in the fridge.
- When the lobsters have chilled all the way through, pick all of the meat from the shell and cut into rustic chunks, approximately 1-inch square. Make sure to get the deliciously sweet meat out of the knuckles! It&rsquos worth the hassle.
If there is any green lobster roe in any of the cooked lobsters &ndash it would be in the large head cavity where the tail meat starts &ndash scoop it out with a spoon and set aside in the refrigerator.
For the lobster roe butter:
Blend it all in a blender and then whisk it in a bowl over ice until it firms up.
For the celery seed mayonnaise:
In a food processor, combine the egg yolks, vinegar and celery seeds and blend until it looks airy and bubbly.
With the food processor still spinning, slowly stream in the oil, going nice and slowly until you have a nice thick and creamy mayonnaise.
With a rubber spatula, scoop the mayonnaise into a bowl over ice and whisk in salt to taste. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Note: If the mayonnaise begins to look glossy as you add the oil, stop and add a small bit of ice water until it goes matte again.
The NYC Essentials: Pearl Oyster Bar
In the original scroll of On the Road, Kerouac wrote, &ldquowhenever Spring comes to NY I can&rsquot stand the suggestions of the land that come blowing over the river from New Jersey and I&rsquove got to go.&rdquo When I feel the ineffable change of seasons in the air, the swell of anticipation as we hang on the cusp of spring, my thoughts turn to Maine. I know that every Memorial Day, as others fire up their grills and crowd the beaches from Sandy Hook to LBI, I&rsquoll be on my way to Bar Harbor with the windows down and hiking boots in the trunk.
Maybe that&rsquos why last week I found myself inexorably pulled into Greenwich Village, my body moving of its own accord, not taking me home to New Jersey as planned but instead boarding a downtown F train to Pearl Oyster Bar.
Of the many spots I frequent time and again in New York City, Pearl Oyster Bar is one of my most beloved. It&rsquos practically built for me, for one thing&mdashI&rsquom a bar-eater, preferring the intimacy of a barstool perch to even a small table, especially when eating alone. And no matter how many groups crowd the sidewalk on Cornelia Street on a July evening, when the two bay window seats are packed with couples waiting for their icy bowls of bivalves, there&rsquos always a spot at the bar at Pearl.
The restaurant consists of two whitewashed rowhouse rooms: that cool and coveted marble-topped bar and lunch counter, lined up back to back as you walk through the door into the original restaurant and off to the right, the expansion (almost a decade ago now!) into a traditional dining room packed with simple wooden tables. I&rsquove sat at those tables on a few occasions, demolishing a whole roasted dorade with Irene, splitting a caesar salad during a birthday lunch with Dan. But mostly I&rsquom at the bar, ordering the lobster roll.
The ritual washes away any emotional slights and bruises of the day: I step across the threshold, and the host offers a glass of wine&mdashthere&rsquos always something white and crisp in the by-the-glass menu that pairs up well with crustaceans&mdashwhile I wait for my barstool to open up. She already knows I&rsquom ready for the lobster roll before I even sit down, so there&rsquos barely even time to rip open the bag of oyster crackers before the plate arrives, a few shoestring fries tumbling from their haystack pile onto the marble.
There&rsquos a whole lobster and then some stuffed into the bun&mdashchewy tail meat, satiny claws, it&rsquos all bound up in a light coating of mayo that heightens the lobster&rsquos natural sweetness, with handfuls of celery and chives thrown in for crunch. Should the bun be a split-top New Englander? Quibble if you want, but I find the Pepperidge Farm rolls buttery enough not to care too much. Plus, I end up forking nearly half the lobster out before I even pick the roll up, lest a precious chunk spill out onto the floor. There&rsquos no five-second rule at Pearl, especially when the barstools keep you so far off the ground.
That delicate mound of shoestring fries propped next to the roll, in my opinion, should always be doused with many healthy shakes of Heinz malt vinegar before they&rsquore systematically brought down to crumbs. (A few fries pushed neatly together into your fingertips also make an efficient vehicle for mopping up any stray bits of lobster or mayo.) On the other hand, that jaunty lettuce leaf peeking from the roll always gets tossed aside and abandoned. Often it&rsquos the only thing left on my plate, a green flag signaling another successful conquest.
The irony is that I&rsquod never eaten a lobster roll before I came to New York, nor had I ever set foot in the great state of Maine. Now both are fully entrenched in the &ldquoessentials&rdquo category of my life&mdashseparate but equally necessary, I&rsquove got to get my fix of each at least once a year. Pearl&rsquos lobster rolls are more citified than the ones I eat on a rocky outcropping at Two Lights or at a picnic table off the New Harbor wharf, but I treasure them all the more for their presence in the middle of Manhattan. They&rsquore my first lobster love. And when I slide onto that barstool on a sticky August day, take a first sip of Grüner, and wait for that sweet and overstuffed plate to slide under my nose, it&rsquos a moment that offers up the best of New York City and Maine.
TO GO A Rivalry Fought Out In Dueling Lobster Rolls
DO not invite Rebecca Charles and Mary Redding to the same clambake.
They opened the snug but sparkling Pearl Oyster Bar together in Greenwich Village in 1997, but bitterly dissolved their partnership, with Ms. Charles retaining sole ownership of Pearl. Ms. Redding then opened her own place, Mary's Fish Camp, a few blocks away, offering virtually the same menu of New England-inspired seafood specialties, in a slightly larger but equally cramped dining room.
All the elements of a great feud are in place, and accusations fly over who originated the recipes, who was the more creative partner, who the better chef. I say, let others argue authorship. For me, the important thing is, who makes the best lobster rolls?
Pearl was renowned for its glorious rolls, served with glistening chunks of mayonnaise-slathered lobster meat spilling out of the bun. Would the magic still be there, or had it moved west to Mary's?
A lobster roll, that archetypal expression of New England simplicity and frugality, is usually no more than lobster salad on a hot-dog bun. Neither Pearl's version nor Mary's veers from the classic recipe, blending lobster with mayonnaise, salt, pepper, lemon juice and maybe some chopped celery and chopped chives for garnish. In fact, the recipes are uncannily similar, right down to specifying both Hellmann's mayonnaise and Pepperidge Farm top-loading buns. Ms. Charles charges $17 for her roll, while Ms. Redding's is $18.
For those prices, you have a right to expect plenty of lobster, and neither roll disappoints. These are knife-and-fork testaments to excess. Both are served with a mountain of matchstick fries, irrelevant for the takeout diner because they turn into a soggy mass on the way home. But lobster rolls travel beautifully.
On first taste, the differences are clear. Pearl's is more lemony, with plenty of sweet, buttery lobster flavor. At Mary's, the lobster is more reticent, giving ground to the mayonnaise. Even though they use the same rolls, Mary's tastes sweeter, almost like a delicious brioche roll, perhaps because the restaurant uses a different butter.
Though both are top contenders, the verdict in this clawfest is clear: Pearl's. But Pearl's is still not the last word. The lobster roll was once the humble province of coastal clam shacks. The Lobster Place at Chelsea Market, a wholesale and retail seafood market, offers an urban variation on this experience.
At $8.95, it is a much more compact lobster roll. You can even eat it with your hands. The lobster salad is fresh, rich and adorned with scallions, with lots of buttery claw meat. It is even on the same Pepperidge Farm bun.
Near the entrance is an indoor picnic table. Across the way, a waterfall constructed of old pipes and industrial fittings gushes pleasantly. Close your eyes and it can sound like the seashore.
Pearl Oyster Bar, 18 Cornelia Street, near West Fourth Street (212) 691-8211. Mary's Fish Camp, 64 Charles Street, at West Fourth Street, (646) 486-2185. The Lobster Place, Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue, near 15th Street, (212) 255-5872. No deliveries.
Lobster rolls / Lobster buns
Makes 4-6 generous rolls. Inspired and adapted from Rebecca Charles of Pearl Oyster Bar and Deborah DiClementi: Lobster Rolls & Blueberry Pie.
Lobster meat (from a 1.5kg / 3½ lbs lobster or 4-5 smaller 560g / 1¼ lbs. lobsters)*
1 shallot, finely minced
1 celery rib, very finely chopped
mayonnaise (homemade or really good shop-bought like Maille Fine Gourmet)
salt & pepper
potato buns or rolls (alternative: light brioche, Milchbrötchen or hot dog buns)
*Which lobster? Get Atlantic lobster from Maine or the New England coast. Canadian lobster is mostly sold in Europe, please do not use a French lobster for a lobster roll that would be an (expensive) sacrilege. Unless you live on the coast of Brittany and they just jump uninvited into your boat.
Cook the lobster:
In Germany, the only legal method to kill a lobster (cause you need to get a live lobster) is to throw it head first into boiling water (rolling boil). Court bouillon (water, white wine, celery, carrot, onion, lemon, salt, herbs, bay leaf, pepper corn) is my choice here: it subtly seasons & perfumes the meat enhancing its flavour. Cover with a lid, bring back to a boil and cook according to the weight of your lobster. A 500g lobster will need 10 minutes while a bigger 1.5 kg lobster will need about 20 minutes (calculate 10 minutes for the first 500g, add 1 minute for every 100g). Stop the cooking process in an ice bath and leave to cool.
Steam the lobster:
Other countries allow different methods of cooking a lobster depending on your conscience, squeamishness and taste preferences, e.g. there is a fiercely fought debate in the Main(e) lobster headquarter about steaming versus cooking, where lobster afficionados proclaim the superior taste of a steamed crustacean. Steam a lobster (remember, not allowed in Germany) over at least 2 inches / 10cm of boiling salted water or court bouillon (see above) for 10 minutes for the first 1 lb. (454g) and another 2 minutes for each ¼ lb., which would be 12 minutes for 1¼ lobsters or around 28-30 minutes for a 1.5kg / 3½ pounder (steaming times according to GetMaineLobster).
Preparing the lobster:
Detach claws and legs and pull the tail from the head with a twist. Cut the tail in half, remove intestine. Bend the thumb off the claw, take the meat out and with a few fearless whacks by the blunt side of a heavy knife crack the thick claw, twist it once to pry open the shell and remove the claw meat in one piece. Take a lobster fork to extricate the knuckle meat while a thin lobster pick is good to work the thin legs. Chop into small bite sized pieces.
Make lobster rolls:
Mix lobster meat with shallot, celery and enough mayonnaise to hold together but not smother. Season with a squeeze of lemon juice, salt & pepper. Melt a little butter in a pan and gently fry the cut sides of your buns until buttery & toasted. Fill your buns or rolls with lobster filling and enjoy….
I Cheat Because I Care: Pearl Oyster Bar, (Red Bamboo), Chikalicious
Oh you dastardly website. Were it not for you, would I have said “yes” to Kirk yesterday and broken my four days of healthy, nutrtious eating to enjoy a lavish, wildly expensive and mayonaissey lobster roll at Pearl Oyster Bar?
Ok, yes, I would have. And it wasn’t Kirk’s idea—it was mine. But we don’t change our lifestyles overnight do we? Baby steps, people, baby steps. Four days of healthy eating, then a little cheating, and back on it. I was so back on it today—all my sins are forgiven. Enjoy my sins.
So Pearl Oyster Bar. Funny, remember how I said Bleeker Street was my favorite food street in New York? And that Cornelia was my favorite side street off my favorite food street? Well it ends up that Pearl Oyster Bar is ON Cornelia right next to Home where I went with my brother. I’ve walked past it 1000 times and never noticed it. Even when it was our destination, Kirk and I walked past it and had to call to see where it was. It’s kind of invisible there on the street. Here’s the doorway:
Amanda Hesser has a whole bit on Pearl Oyster Bar in “Cooking For Mr. Latte.” She has recipes for their Caesar salad and their lobster roll, I think. It’s supposed to be the best lobster roll in the city. I’ve read that other places too. Kirk heard that also. We anxiously anticipated the lobster roll.
On the menu it says: “Lobster Roll….MKT price.” On the chalkboard, it stated what that market price was: $22.
“Wow, that’s a mighty expensive lobster roll,” I said.
But Kirk and I were not dissuaded. We each ordered a lobster roll and pretty promptly they arrived:
When I told my mom about it today and how much it cost she asked, rather logically: “Well, was it the best you ever had?”
I thought about it and answered: “Yes.” It really was. I think Kirk thought so too. He said, “Damn, this is a really good lobster roll.”
I mean the meat was so fresh. Sometimes I’ve had lobster rolls where the meat was stringy and hard to bite through. This wasn’t the case here. And the mayonaisse herb mixture had a perfect balanace. The brioche roll was the perfect vehicle for everything. And the french fries were my favorite sort of fries—skinny and salty. I love skinny, salty fries.
So I loved my cheating lunch at Pearl Oyster Bar. If you’re going to cheat, why not cheat in style?
Then it was off to do work. I’m trying to write the first acts of two separate plays for next week. That’s a lot of work. I’m going slightly batty over it.
When dinner came around, I had plans with John. You know John, you met him in Chinatown. John recently returned from Iceland and he’s going to do a write-up of what he ate there for this site. (Sneak preview: he ate whale!)
We went to this place near his dorm called Red Bamboo. Everything that Zen Palate did wrong, Red Bamboo did right. Their food was great vegan food. This is the best fake chicken I’ve ever had:
Several times I said to John, “Are you sure this is fake chicken?”
“Yes,” he said, hitting me in the head with a fork.
The best things about this fake chicken are: (1) the marinade, and (2) how they cook it over coals. It says it on the menu. “Cooked over coals.” So you get all that magic of real chicken cooked over coals without all that chickeny evil vegans hate so much. I enjoyed it.
But now on to more cheating. That was a healthy dinner, you must admit. But then we were bored. We wanted dessert. We were walking to the East Village. A dark mischevious light bulb went off over my head: “Chikalicious!”
Chickalicious is my dream restaurant. A dessert lover by trade, this place was made for me. It’s two pastry chefs who give you a three course dessert “dinner” for $12. The place is tiny and you can watch the women work as you sit and chat—they’re the ones who serve it to you too:
When John and I arrived, there was no wait. We sat in a little booth and a friendly waiter man guided us through the menu.
Oh, so many choices! How to choose, how to choose. And the menu changes every three days. It’s not like you can come back and try the ones you rejected. So I made my choice (which you’ll see in a moment), John made his, and we were brought our amuse.
This picture’s blurry and strange looking—-almost ethereal. Well that’s how it tasted: rosemary gelee and yogurt sorbet. What a weird combo but it totally worked. We both “mmmed” our way through it. The yogurt sorbet was creamy and luscious, the rosemary gelee subtle and only slightly perfumed with rosemary.
For my dessert choice I chose cinnamon baba au rum that came with cherries and some kind of cream:
Of course, it was delicious. I loved it. And small enough and subtle enough not to make me feel TERRIBLY guitly.
John had an apple dessert:
It was baked apple in some kind of pastry with creme fraiche and apple sorbet. His was tasty too.
I must tell you now, sadly, that the petit fors kind of sucked. Believe me, I wanted them to be delicious, but they weren’t:
I know, I know, they LOOK pretty. The coconut marshmallows were ok. But the little poppy seed cream thingies with orange peel on them didn’t taste like much of anything, and the banana cake slices tasted like someone pushed the “mute” button on flavor.
But still, by the end I was enchanted—I love Chikalicious, I’m totally going to go back. And if you have to cheat on your healthy healthy plans, this is the way to do. My penance will be a week of tofu and yoga. These are the things we do for lobster rolls and dessert.
Luke’s Lobster and Pearl Oyster Bar: The $15 Lobster Roll Versus the $29 Lobster Roll
When Fork in the Road caught up with Luke Holden of Luke’s Lobster last month, he (very politely) threw down the gauntlet on the subject of fancy $30 lobster rolls:
…seeking a $30 lobster roll was never an intention of mine when I moved to the city. It wasn’t until I decided to do this that I went around and visited Pearl and Mary’s — once I did that I realized, ‘Wow, I have to do this.’ The sandwiches are just different — they’re not a Maine lobster roll concept. Most are mayonnaise sandwiches with a little lobster here and there. It’s a different concept — it’s not that one’s better than the other, but this is how I like my lobster roll and how most Mainers like their lobster roll.
No one is a fan of shelling out $30 for a sandwich. But is Pearl Oyster Bar really selling a mostly-mayo treat? And how does Luke’s lobster roll stand up to Pearl’s? We decided to find out.
First, you’ve got to account for the fact that the two restaurants are very different places–Pearl is a sit-down restaurant with a full menu, wine, and beer. Luke’s is a much more casual venture, serving seafood rolls, soup, and ice cream, and offering counter service and a few stools to perch on. Both places do what they do ably.
Pearl’s lobster roll comes with a huge mound of shoestring fries, which are nice, but besides the point. It’s all about the lobster roll, and in any case, fries are cheap. The whole shebang rings up at exactly $29, although it’s subject to “market” price variances. Luke’s roll, which is listed as $14 but comes to $15 with tax, doesn’t come with sides.
For our purposes, let’s assume that you want simply know which has the better roll, and you don’t care about a glass of wine or table service.
Having eaten both rolls before, but never within 30 minutes of each other, I had never noticed that these rolls are ensconced on opposite ends of the mayo debate, perhaps to both of their detriments.
Here is my position on mayonnaise in lobster salad: It has to be there. But it shouldn’t be gloppy or overwhelming. The mayo’s job is to lightly bind the chunks of lobster together, and I don’t object to a bit of tiny-diced celery mixed in, too. But nothing else! While I’m pontificating, might as well get this out of the way: The lobster salad should be cool, the hot dog bun warm and toasted in butter. It’s actually very simple, not that you’d know it.
Pearl’s lobster roll is stuffed with a huge amount of lobster, so much so that it obscures the bun. You can’t pick it up, and least not until you’ve forked up the lobster overflow. (Mmmmm…lobster overflow.) The salad is augmented with diced celery and a sprinkle of chives.
But it is also drowning in mayo. It’s not as though Pearl’s is stingy with the lobster and uses mayo as filler–no, there’s plenty of lobster, from both tail and claw. But you can’t even see the color of the crustacean for all the white stuff. It’s plenty delicious, but when you try to eat the roll itself, mayo squishes out from all sides. The thing lands with a thud in your stomach. It does not feel like summer food.
And it is very expensive, especially when you take service into account. A 20% tip will bring it up to $34.80.
Luke’s Lobster, on the other hand, serves a tasty, manageably sized sandwich that’s chock-a-block with sweet lobster. The portion of crustacean is a bit smaller than it is at Pearl–probably by two ounces or so–but it certainly isn’t half the size of Pearl’s, while it is half the price. It really is a bargain.
But Luke’s doesn’t really doesn’t serve a lobster salad roll, in the New England tradition as I understand it, as the lobster is undressed. The bun is filled with excellent quality, cooked, chilled, bare lobster. The roll is properly buttered and toasted, and a bare slick of may is spread on the inside. The lobster needs to be tossed with that bit of mayo for it to be quite right. Otherwise, the condiment moistens the bottom of the bun instead of the crustacean.
The edge goes to Luke’s for delivering an extremely tasty roll at extremely fair prices. And because I suppose that not enough mayo is better than way too much mayo. But it really depends on what your position is on the mayo question (and the size of your bank account).
ED’S LOBSTER BAR
MAYO or BUTTER: Mayo
SECRET INGREDIENT: A side of Ed’s pickles.
BEST FOR: The lunch special—$44 for a lobster roll, soup or salad (go all-out with lobster bisque), and a glass of wine or beer.
PRICE: Market Price
Walking past Ed’s Lobster Bar in SoHo, you just might mistake the restaurant for a charming New England home by the water. But owner Ed Mcfarland is a native New Yorker who whips up one of the best rolls in the Tri-State area. His seafood sandwich is super simple—just a little salt and pepper, fresh lemon juice, and celery and chives. In addition to Maine-worthy lobster rolls, Ed’s menu boasts lobster burgers, lobster ravioli, and a plate of creamy lobster ravioli.
Ed’s Lobster Bar, 222 Lafayette St, New York 212-343-3236