Monday November 21, 2011
It's not every day I wake up craving lobster. And even if I did, I don't typically roll with the platinum expense account crew, so decadent lunches of lobster, bananas foster, double martinis and cigars aren't a common occurence. Fortunately for me, I awoke in Connecticut on a recent trip to the Northeast, rendering my morning lobster dreams attainable. The day's ultimate destination was the beach - an idyllic day at Hammonassett State Park in Madison, CT on the Long Island Sound. The more important mission of the day, however: finding the best possible lobster roll en route to the beach. After a little lobster-roll-related legwork on the interwebs, my dining companions and I determined we would hit up Lobster Landing in nearby Clinton, CT.
A run-down little sea shanty with a Lobster Landing sign - including an intentionally off-kilter "o" in Lobster for added charm - indicated we were in the right place. The shack merely served as a gift shop/landmark though, as the cooking, assembly and dining all took place outside and overlooking the water. All lobster rolls are certainly not created equal. A common rendition uses lobster salad with varying amounts of mayo (the less, the better in my book). Some use mostly lobster meat with a slathering of mayo on the roll. And some lobster rolls will set you back $40, regardless of the amount of actual lobster meat (NYC, I'm looking at you on this one). The Lobster Landing rendition was as simple and delicious as they come: a heaping helping of lobster meat (large meaty pieces, not just end bits) on a crusty, thoroughly buttered roll. No mayo entered the equation (no complaints here). And with apologies to the fine people at the Mars candy company, this sandwich was far more worthy of the "melt-in-your-mouth" description than any food item I've ever had the pleasure of ingesting. At $15, it felt like a steal given the amount of quality lobster meat. To sweeten the (lobster) pot, Lobster Landing is BYO. So with a six-pack of I.P.A. and a lobster roll at a picnic table looking out over the ocean, my companions and I couldn't find much to complain about. The remainder of the day spent at the beach was almost disappointing by comparison. Not really. It's still the damn beach.
For your dining edification, here are some other great lobster roll restaurants along the eastern seaboard. It's generally a good idea to call for seasonal hours.
Neptune Oyster (Boston, MA)
Portland Lobster Company (Portland, ME)
Mabel's Lobster Claw (Kennebunkport, ME)
Pearl Oyster Bar (New York, NY)
Essex Seafood (Essex, MA)
Mary's Fish Camp (New York, NY)
Bill's Seafood (Westbrook, CT)
Lobster Shack at Two Lights (Cape Elizabeth, ME)