I was recently in a restaurant in Houston, TX where the bartender recommended the “lobster roll” as his favorite appetizer. He mentioned that it was served with pork and shrimp and pepper jack cheese. I was so confused – and when I searched for it on the menu I couldn’t find a “lobster roll.” Turns out what he was calling a “lobster roll” was actually a spring roll with lobster, shrimp, and pork. When I told him I was confused by his description he seemed to have an “aha moment” – and proclaimed “that makes sense – lots of people have said that is not what they expected when you said lobster roll.” I’m not sure he will change his way of describing the dish moving forward but what a lobster roll actually is – other than lobster in a roll – is actually open to much interpretation.
Not only is there is great debate about the origins of the lobster roll, there is even more about the proper way to make a lobster roll. According to John Mariani’s Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, the lobster roll may actually have originated at a restaurant named Perry’s, in Milford, CT. where it was created for a regular. The lobster was served warm with butter in a bun. Simple and Delicious! Bailey’s Lobster Pound claims to have served the first lobster roll in Maine while others claim it was the Nautilus Tea Room in Marblehead, Massachusetts that first came up with the idea.
The debate doesn’t stop at the origins. Should it be dressed in mayonnaise or butter? Does it need celery and paprika or is it better served plain? The most consistent features of a lobster roll are the flat sided, open topped “New England Style” hot dog bun that is buttered and toasted and the lobster chunks – never shredded – to maintain the delicate sweetness of the meat. Beyond that – there is great variety as to how a lobster roll is put together.
In our humble opinion – the simpler the better. We prefer the Connecticut Style Lobster Roll. Let the lobster shine as the star ingredient that it is – don’t mask it with mayo or other ingredients. But the great thing about this delicious dish is there is one for everyone tastes.
Check out the top lobster rolls in Maine and Massachusetts as determined by USA today 10 best readers.
Here are a few of our favorites.
What is your favorite Lobster Roll? Warm? Chilled? Butter? Mayo? Herbs? Celery? Here are two great recipes with contrasting styles for this delicious American Classic Sandwich.
The Connecticut Style Lobster Roll
One classic version of the Lobster Roll is often referred to as the “Connecticut Lobster Roll.” Served warm with melted butter on a toasted hot dog bun.
Here is a link to a great recipe for a warm lobster roll – often referred to as a Connecticut Style Lobster Roll – from Nutmeg Nanny.
Photo and recipe credit to Nutmeg Nanny.
The New England Style Lobster Roll
Another classic version of the Lobster Roll is often referred to as the “New England Lobster Roll.” It is often served chilled with a light dressing of mayo and herbs.
Here is a link to a great recipe for a New England Style Lobster Roll from a Family Feast.
Photo and recipe credit to a Family Feast.