June 15th is National Lobster Day and in honor of such, we take a look at the New England Lobster Roll, or Lobsta roll as we Yankees say.
In the Northeast, we have a love affair with lobster. But it was not always that way. In North America, the American lobster did not achieve popularity until about 1860. Before that they were considered the poor man’s chicken, was fed to pigs and goats, and only eaten by paupers. Dirt-cheap and plentiful, lobsters were routinely fed to prisoners, slaves and children during the colonial era. In Massachusetts, some servants allegedly sought to avoid lobster-heavy diets by including stipulations in their contracts that they would only be served the shellfish twice a week. Lobsters live 45 to 50 years. According to Guinness World Records, the largest lobster ever caught was in Nova Scotia, Canada, weighing 44.4 lbs. and measured 42 inches long.
Traditional New England restaurants serve lobster rolls with a side of potato chips or french fries. There are two kinds of Lobster rolls, hot and cold. The hot has chunks of lobster meat slathered in butter and the cold is mixed with mayo, celery and perhaps some spice. Both are on a toasted bun. Maine lobster rolls are usually served on toasted hamburger rolls and Massachusetts and New Hampshire lobster rolls are usually served on a toasted New England hot dog bun.
Our list is primarily casual restaurants or shacks, many open seasonally and many accepting cash only. Keep in mind, if you look at 10 lists of the 10 best lobster rolls, you will probably get 80+ different ones. Enjoy!
THE BEACH PLUM, 3 NH LOCATIONS (HAMPTON, PORTSMOUTH AND EPPING)
The Hampton location is open from April-Oct and only offers outdoor seating. The other two locations have indoor and outdoor seating and are open year round. Their LOBSTA ROLLS have won many awards, year after year and they are known for their over-stuffed Rolls. They come in the following sizes: 6 oz, 8 oz or 10 oz in regular size roll (17.99-25.99) and 12 oz, 16 oz, or 20 oz in foot-long roll (33.99 – 49.99). The beach plum has a fairly large menu with seafood, sandwiches, chowder, and salads. They offer a huge selection of ice cream flavors in both hard and soft serve. www.thebeachplum.net
KELLY’S ROAST BEEF, 5 MA LOCATIONS (NATICK, MEDFORD, SAUGUS, DANVERS AND REVERE BEACH)
Since their 1951 Revere Beach, Massachusetts, origins, Kelly’s Roast Beef has expanded to include five Massachusetts locations. They’ve won numerous awards including Boston’s best lobster roll, renowned roast beef, and tastiest clam chowder. LOBSTER ROLL is reasonably priced at 21.95 and full of lobster with just a touch of celery and mayo. Each roll contains 8oz of lobster which is the meat from 2 1lb. lobsters. The menu also includes seafood plates, salads, sandwiches, and ice cream. The fried clams are excellent. www.kellysroastbeef.com
NEPTUNE OYSTER, BOSTON
Consistently on everyone’s Best Lobster Roll and clam chowder list. Neptune serves either hot (bathed in hot butter) or cold (with just a hint of mayo) on a toasted brioche bun. The roll has a combination of tail, claws and knuckle meat and while their roll isn’t cheap, they do fill it nicely. This is a very small restaurant and the wait is routinely 2 hours. They take your phone number and give you a call you when your name is close. Forget about going with a big party. Neptune has a wide oyster selection from both coasts and they give you a sheet profiling each oyster for you. This is very helpful if you do not know your oysters. The menu has appetizers, salads and entrees and their fried clams are delightful. Located at 63 Salem St, Boston, MA www.neptuneoyster.com
YANKEE LOBSTER CO., BOSTON, MA
This internationally known fish market makes a locally beloved lobster roll. Light mayo and tarragon complement the claw/knuckle meat and griddled bun. For a slight variation order the lobster club; it’s got bacon in the mix and as we know, bacon makes everything better. Yankee offers 4 different Lobster rolls; hot, cold, fried and the lobster club. They are all priced around 25$ and served on a toasted New England roll. The Zanti family, owners of Yankee Lobster Company have been in the fishing business for many generations and they still run their own lobster boats today. The clam Chowder is some of the best that you will find. It is nice and thick, hearty with bacon and full of clams. The smell of fresh fish is in the air as soon as you walk in. It is a typical New England fish shack/market. You place your order at the counter and the staff will deliver your food to you. The market also sells fresh lobsters, seafood and fish. 300 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210 www.yankeelobstercompany.com
JAMES HOOK & CO., Boston
James Hook & Co. is a family business managed by four siblings of the third generation of the Hook Family. The company runs their own lobster boats. James Hook offers a cold version of the roll with Fresh lobster, light mayo, and celery on a buttered toasted roll. It has amazing big chunks of really fresh meat and it’s affordable at 19$ fora small and 24$ for large. The storefront is a little shack strategically situated right at the harbor. There are a few small tables inside and some outside as well. The menu is simple; Lobster Rolls, Crab Cakes, and chowders. Order at the counter and they will call your name to pick it up. The retail store ships over 50 thousand pounds of lobsters every year. You can buy fresh lobsters, seafood and fish to take home with you. 440 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA www.jameshooklobster.com
TUCKAWAY TAVERN AND RESTAURANT, Raymond NH
Tuckaway is a full service restaurant with a huge menu. There is also an award winning butcher shop and store attached to the restaurant. On Mondays and Tuesdays they offer 2 for 1 lobster rolls for 24$ that you can get either hot with butter or cold with mayo. They use frozen knuckle and claw meat. The wait can be extremely long, even during the day for lunch. Your best bet is to sit at the bar, which is open seating. You just have to wait for someone to get up. Tuckaway has won many awards: Best Steakhouse, Best Burger, Best Lobster, and Best Butcher Shop. 58 Route 27, Raymond, NH www.thetuckaway.com
RYE HARBOR LOBSTER POUND, RYE NH
Located down by the town dock in Rye Harbor is the Rye Harbor Lobster Pound. It is a tiny shack serving lobster Rolls, clam chowder and other seafood. From lobster Gazpacho to lobster Pizza, there’s plenty to try here. However, Don’t miss the hot lobster roll with the meat bathed in a warm butter and sherry sauce and served on a buttered toasted split-top bun. There’s also a cold roll with mayo, a touch of celery, and a hint of lemon. They will steam lobsters for you to take home and prepared meals are available to take home. At 14.50, it is a very reasonably priced lobster roll. You may add extra lobster meat for 2$. Rye Harbor, Rye NH www.facebook.com/pg/ryeharborlobsterpound
BOB’S CLAM HUT, Kittery ME
Bob’s Clam Hut is consistently on Best Lobster roll lists year after year. They opened in 1956 and still do things the way Bob did in 1956. Bob’s has won multiple awards for their fried clams. They are fantastic and the tartar sauce is very good! You can order the lobster rolls hot (with butter) or cold (with mayo) on grilled rolls and they come with fries. The 20$ price is pretty reasonable. Customer favorites include Bob’s New England clam chowder, Lobster Stew, the traditional Bob’s fried clams, and the Lillian fried clams. This place is no frills. Finding seats is a bit of a hassle if it is busy. You wait in line to place an order, they give you a number and then you wait in another line to pick up your food. I suggest having someone in the party get a seat while you’re waiting for the food. There is a station where you can get sauces, water, utensils, napkins, etc. 315 US Route 1, Kittery ME www.bobsclamhut.com
Red’s Eats is perhaps the most famous restaurant on Route 1 in Maine. Located on Main Street they opened 78 years ago. The building resembles little more than a red caboose hauled uphill from the railroad tracks down below. It is known far and wide as one of the best lobster rolls in Maine. Red’s is open from mid-April through Columbus Day weekend. With tail, claw, and knuckle meat from a 1+/-pound lobster, this roll is bigger than most and is available with mayo, warm butter, neither, or both. Butter comes on the side rather than directly in your roll. This lets you control how much you use and also keeps the roll from getting soggy. You can usually expect an hour plus wait in line. Note that this place is cash only, but there is an ATM available. 41 Water Street, Wiscasset ME www.redseatsmaine.com
EVENTIDE OYSTER CO., PORTLAND, ME
Eventide has risen to the top of the Best Oysters List and Best Lobster Roll List. This is a chef-driven restaurant and the menu is quite sophisticated. However, they still serve one of the best lobster rolls in the New England. They dress their lobster three ways: with house mayo, with hollandaise, and they have a unique non-traditional version with brown butter vinaigrette that has fans lining up to chow down. This buttery approach includes a little sea salt, some fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and a steamed house-made bao bun for a truly unique flavor combo. There is usually a wait but they take your phone number and call you when your table is ready so you don’t have to stick around. Instead you can walk around Old Port and do some shopping. Eventide does have plans to open a location in Boston. 86 Middle St, Portland ME
5th Annual Boston Jerkfest on Friday June 23rd and Saturday June 24th
The Boston JerkFest is an outdoor/indoor family-friendly Caribbean style foodie festival that features Jamaican jerk spiced food. Caribbean, international, and local spicy food is for sale, including: spicy meals, jams, nuts, and desserts, as well as traditional homemade drinks from the Caribbean. Performances include live entertainment and performances for the whole family. Chef demos include a Seafood Throwdown (Session 1) and Jerk Cook-off (Session 2). You can view the full event schedule on the web page. In addition, a Kids & Culture Zone with hands-on interactive activities for children of all ages is offered. Cocktail Demos featuring vendors stirring up the best “Irie” drinks are part of the fest. A Rum & Brew Tasting @ Boston JerkFest will take place on Friday, June 23, 2017. Tickets are 20$ for adults and 5$ for children. Tickets for the Rum and Brew tasting are 50$ for regular admission or 100$ for VIP admission. Check out the website for more info. JerkFest is being held at: Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, 41 Berkeley Street Boston www.bostonjerkfest.com
Woburn Greek Festival 2017, June 15th to June 18th
The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of Woburn hosts the Greek Festival. It features authentic Greek cooking, baking, shopping, and music. Enjoy succulent lamb, chicken souvlaki, gyro and all the traditional favorites. Don’t forget to save room their world famous pastries made from only the highest quality ingredients following recipes handed down from generation to generation. This year they are kicking off Festival Weekend with “GYRO NIGHT.” The Taverna (bar) will be open, the Salonica Boys will be playing the Greek music and there will be gyros for all. A large children’s area offers a bouncy house and sand art. Check the schedule for the Magic Show and Live Reptile Shows. Save room for some popcorn and cotton candy. Parking Shuttle Service is available both ways between Woburn High School and the festival during high volume times. Admission is free. Thursday June 15th through Sunday June 18th. See website for times. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of Woburn, 70 Montvale Avenue, Woburn MA www.mygreekfestival.com
Shirataki Noodles, What are they?
Shirataki noodles are made from an Asian tuber plant, the konjac yam. They are a source of glucomannan fiber which helps regulate insulin in your body. Asian companies make flour from the ground tubers. In Asia, they use this flour to make noodles, tofu, and snacks, as well as used in traditional Chinese medicine. Shirataki noodles are an option for pasta if you are on a low-carbohydrate, gluten-free, or vegan diet. While they don’t mimic the exact taste and texture of regular pasta—they’re gelatinous and mostly tasteless—they’re a great substitute that can take on the flavor of whatever sauce you’re preparing. Shirataki noodles have almost no calories, carbohydrates, fat, sugar, or protein. The noodles are watery and emanate a faint, fishy odor though they’re 100 percent vegan. Shirataki noodle manufacturers recommend rinsing, draining and drying the noodles before using them in dishes.