recap: lobster roll rumble 2012

there is really nothing i like better than lobster rolls, and this year’s lobster roll rumble was a great opportunity to try 20 different rolls from contenders around the country.

i had purposely skipped lunch in anticipation of the event, and arrived at metropolitan pavilion starving and excited to sink my teeth into tons and tons of lobster.  and that’s exactly what i did.  20 lobster rolls doesn’t sound like a lot, but after i’d enthusiastically tried 5 delicious rolls, i started to lose steam.

needless to say, i ended up trying 15 different lobster rolls.  i’m sure the remaining 5 would have been fantastic, but i honestly couldn’t look at another lobster roll, let alone take another bite.

you may think that all lobster rolls are the same – chunks of lobster salad on a bun – but i quickly learned that this is not the case.  its not only about the freshness of the lobster, but also the size of the pieces, the lobster to mayo ratio (too much or too little can ruin the roll), the spices/herbs, and the bread.  the bread is actually just as important as the lobster.  you need the right amount of butter and toastedness.  no one wants the perfect lobster on soggy or too-buttery bread.

below are some of the highlights from the evening:

brooklyn, new york  - this lobster roll had a toast-like bun filled with fresh-tasting, tender lobster.  not too much or too little mayo.  a yummy, classic new england-style lobster roll.


boston, massachusetts – more like a crostini than a lobster roll, the lobster meat in this roll was tossed with diced pickles, giving it a light, fresh taste.


atlanta, georgia – this roll had a nice buttery bun and lobster seasoned with mayo, lemon, shallots and chive.  though a bit heavy on the sauce, the legs were a cute touch (although i couldn’t figure out how, or if, i was supposed to eat them).


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kennebunkport, maine – people were going absolutely crazy for this maine-style lobster roll.  the line was the longest of all the restaurants, and the roll won the ‘fan favorite’ award.  though it didn’t gain my personal fan favorite vote, the round bun was wonderful, and the overall taste was pretty darn good.

if you want to give this lobster roll a try and have no upcoming travel plans to maine, the clam shack offers lobster roll kits on their website, complete with all the ingredients to make a delicious lobster roll from the comfort of your own home.


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new york, new york – this lobster roll won the ‘editor’s choice award’ and featured lots of spices, including chunks of celery which made it a little unique from the other rolls.  lots of sauce also made it a tad messy to eat.


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new york, new york – combining two of the best foods out there – lobster and bacon – this roll was surprisingly tasty, fun, and easy-t0-eat.  who knew that lobster could be so good with bacon and diced tomatoes mixed into it.


baltimore, maryland – the bread on this lobster roll reminded me of the toast you would have on a grilled cheese, which is a good thing.  fresh cold-water maine lobster combined with a good amount of dressing made this a solid roll.  i also liked the cucumbers on the side.


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new york, new york – my absolute favorite lobster roll is from luke’s lobster, which has a few locations throughout the city, including my favorite location in the east village.  although i’ve had their rolls many times, i was still excited to see them at this event.  large chunks of buttery lobster on a perfecly-toasted bun make this roll irresistibly good, and it ended up getting my fan favorite vote.  if you haven’t had luke’s, i suggest you go there as soon as possible.

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