While at the Lot on Tap the other night I decided to give The Red Hook Lobster Pound a try. They offer two lobster rolls, Maine style (cold lobster with mayo) or Connecticut style (lobster and butter). I opted for Maine style as I like mayo in my lobster rolls and I like my lobster rolls cold.

I was unimpressed. This was the blandest lobster roll I’ve ever had. The roll consists of lobster, homemade mayo, celery, and undefined spices, yet none of these items give the rolls any flavor. The top of the sandwich was littered with a brown spice that added nothing to the roll other than discoloring it, thus making it look unappetizing. The roll easily fell apart, which made me eat a good portion with my fingers (I didn’t think to grab a fork for this sandwich).

After one bite it looked like there was no lobster in the bun itself, rather, all of the meat was placed on top of the roll. After careful inspection, that was the case. Barely any lobster meat was actually placed inside the bun; all of it was on top.

What’s the point of a sandwich if the meat isn’t going to be between the bread?

The staff was surly, to say the least. My roll-maker didn’t say one word to me and seemed bothered by the fact that he had to do his job and make me a lobster roll.

It’s been suggested that maybe I just don’t like lobster rolls, but I know that’s not the case. I love lobster rolls, I just hate wasting money on crappy ones. And this was an overrated, tasteless lobster roll that was not worth $16. Maybe next time, if there is a next time, I’ll try Connecticut style, maybe that’s the way to go.

This Red Hook Lobster Pound truck was located at the Lot on Tap at 30th st. and 10th Avenue. There are multiple other locations throughout Manhattan (http://redhooklobsterpound.com).


The Urban Lobster Shack

January 12, 2011

The Urban Lobster Shack was one of the more disappointing lobster roll experiences I’ve ever had. The lobster is so finely diced and flavorless that tastes like it came out of a can.

The web site states that the sandwiches are made with “a touch of Hellman’s Mayo as a binder”. By “touch” they mean a whole lot, as the sandwich is not just bound together by the mayo, it is 80% mayo. The excessive amount of mayo and the overall coldness of the sandwich also mask the sandwich’s flavor, as in there isn’t any real flavor to speak of. The sandwich is so white from all of the mayo that you can’t tell where the good bits of lobster. Then again, there are no good bits of lobster (There are no chunks of claw, tail, or any other recognizable part), so it’s really not missing anything.

It was a cold, lifeless sandwich that tasted like nothing on the palate.

The sandwich came with a “salad”. Salad is in quotes because it consisted of lettuce and 1 strip of onion. Not even a cherry tomato or half a cucumber. This was one of the worst salads I have ever seen, tasted, or smelt. The lettuce was dirty and greasy. I had one bite and then threw the container away for fear of getting sick.

There are better, fresher lobster roll options out there, so don’t bother yourself with these.

The Urban Lobster Shack is located at 15 Stone St # 1. (www.urbanlobstershack.com/index2.html)

Lobster Rolls

September 9, 2010

The New York City sandwich craze for the summer of 2010 was Lobster Rolls. I joined the craze and tried to track down as many as I could. Sadly, I only had three. Lack of time as well as the high costs and scattered locations were factors hindering my quest.

The Underground Lobster Pound (Moving Target, Williamsburg, NY)

The simplest of the rolls, these consist of only lobster, Hellman’s mayonnaise, and Old Bay, all on a toasted bun. Although tasty, I could have used more flavoring. There was a solid amount of lobster (I counted three claws), but either more mayo or Old Bay would have greatly enhanced the flavor. Also, the bun was extremely mushy, but I could expect nothing less from a sandwich wrapped in Aluminum foil and then transported back to NYC (estimated 40 minute transit time). The lobster stayed fresh, the bun didn’t.

Others have defined these lobster rolls as “lobster heaven” and “lobster perfection.” I thought it was an overrated hot dog for $14.

Getting these sandwiches is a pain in the ass. You have to wait for the chef to contact you via Facebook, then you text him your order, and then you’re given a location and a time to pick your sandwiches up. It was exciting at first but it became more of an irritation than anything. It also didn’t help that we were scolded for being “too loud” in a residential neighbor. You also need exact change as he doesn’t provide change. Thus, if you only have a twenty, that’s how much your sandwich will cost.

NOTE: The NYC DOH shut this operation down in August, not for health violations, but for running a food service establishment out of a home/basement. He vows to return.

Luke’s Lobster (93 E. 7th St. with other locations in NYC)

Luke's Lobster Roll

Luke’s is perfect for diehard lobster roll fans and tourists, as well as lobster roll newbies (such as myself). The lobster is fresh and tender but also a tad stringy. You could barely taste the seasoning (a sprinkling of celery salt, oregano, and thyme) or the mayo which allowed you to taste more lobster than anything else. However, it’s a great tasting Maine lobster).

Like a good crab cake, the mayo seemed to be there to hold the lobster together rather than for additional flavoring. Thus, there was a minimal amount. There were also large chunks of lobster. The Schooner Special is the way to go, for  $16) you got the roll, potato chips (I chose BBQ), and a soda (I chose Root Beer).

Even when there’s a line it goes by quickly because Luke’s is a well-oiled machine with a friendly, efficient staff.

Pearl’s Oyster Bar (18 Cornelia St.)

One of the main difference between Pearl’s rolls and the rolls above is the large amounts of mayonnaise and seasoning. Because of this, you can’t tell what part of the lobster you’re going to get with any given bite. You can’t aim for a tail or a claw or whatever your favorite piece is, you just eat the roll from front to back. The bartender referred to it as the “Lobster roll dance”, and a dance it was. The sandwich is very, very messy due to the mayo, and you’re constantly licking your fingers clean and wiping them on your napkin. The large amount of mayo makes the bun get soggy quickly, which, in turn, means you have to eat the roll quickly before it falls apart on you.  And fall apart it does. You’ll need a fork for the pieces that fall out. And pieces fall out almost every bite because there is so much lobster.

Another factor that makes this roll different from the others is you can tell when you get a nice piece of tail. However, because of the mayo, you can’t tell where the tail is, so it’s nice surprise when you do find it.

The speed with which the lobster roll is delivered makes you think they’re produced via assembly line, but that doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the roll.