Every springtime, city restaurants battle it out to craft the best lobster roll around — and New Yorkers reap the benefits. The results are seemingly endless variations on the New England specialty, all of which are pleasing to the palate. No longer a menu item found only at swanky haunts, lobster rolls are now served in fast-casual eateries and even from food trucks. Here is our list of 2013’s best lobster rolls.
The Sea Fire Grill
158 E 48th Street
The Sea Fire Grill is launching their new bar menu — complete with an original Lobster Roll Flight. This dish offers a trio of meaty lobster rolls which will accommodate fans of every lobster flavor. There is The Nantucket, which is the traditional butter preparation with tail meat and lettuce smothered in melted butter, The Maine, which is another traditional preparation where the tail meat is mixed with mayonnaise and celery, and The Tempura, which is a tempura lobster claw with wasabi crème fraîche and Asian-inspired slaw, something to switch up the age old battle of butter vs mayo when it comes to Lobster Roll purity. All are served on toasted potato buns for $26.
250 W 50th St
It’s the summer of lobster at The Palm. The restaurant boasts several offerings starring the succulent crustacean — and while it’s not a traditional lobster roll, we are loving the Nova Scotia Lobster BLT, found on the venue’s ‘Power Lunch’ menu. The secret is in the Green Goddess dressing – made with mayo, basil, parsley, garlic, scallions, creme fraiche and anchovy – smeared across marble rye bread (toasted old-school, in a pan with butter). Tomatoes are marinated and oven dried, and the sandwich is completed with the addition of crispy bacon strips.
BLT Fish Shack
21 West 17th Street
New York, N.Y.
With a name like BLT Fish Shack, you better find some good seafood at this Flatiron spot — and the venue doesn’t disappoint. At $28, the Lobster Roll is one of the pricier selections on this list served, but the fresh fish sandwich (served with french fries and coleslaw) consistently receives rave reviews from patrons. This downstairs addition to the elegant BLT Fish is so much a “shack” as much as an upscale location on its own.
Ed’s Lobster Bar
The lobster roll at Ed’s has made headlines for years — and was even named the best by Iron Chef Michael Symon on Food Network’s Food Feud. To us it’s no surprise: Ed uses fresh lobsters from Maine and cooks on premises. Unlike Luke’s Lobster, which only uses the crustacean’s claws and knuckles, Ed uses the whole lobster—knuckles, claws and tail, and adds celery, mayo and a bit of lemon. Ed is serious about his lobster — in fact, he loves lobster so much he has one tattooed on his arm.
Fairway Café, Red Hook
480 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
The Fairway café in Red Hook has two claims to being a dining destination: its waterside location with close-up views of the passing container ships and its wonderful, inexpensive ($11) lobster roll. Cool chunks of premium seafood come tossed in a dressing so light it’s barely mayo, speckled with cracked black peppercorns, and wrapped in a sweet, puffy roll. Plus coleslaw and chips.
The shop owned by Maine transplants features old-fashioned tile floors and buoys in the window — and a mean lobster roll. At Luke’s, fresh Maine lobster is tossed with a small amount of Hellman’s mayonnaise, an added dash of celery salt, oregano and thyme, and slapped on a white-bread bun. Have it alone for $15 or with a Maine Root soda and chips for $17. Luke’s Lobster’s had several city outposts on the UWS, UES and in the East Village. For those working in the Financial District, Luke’s opened an easy pick-up location downtown, where suits can pop-in and pick up a seafood sammy to-go.
Mary’s Fish Camp, Brooklyn Fish Camp
162 Fifth Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217
These two playful, happening dining rooms, one in Park Slope, the other in the West Village sometimes serve a wonderful lobster roll. It’s lobster tossed with a little mayo, diced celery, lemon, salt and pepper, and served on a Pepperidge Farm hot dog bun, with shoestring fries. If you see it on the menu, seize the day.
Pearl Oyster Bar
18 Cornelia St
New York, NY 10014
Pearl’s cheerful, blond-wood space in the West Village serves the gold standard for a traditional lobster roll. Chef Rebecca Charles whips up a creamy concotion of lobster, celery and Hellmann’s, served on a Pepperidge Farm bun and accompanied by a toothsome thatch of shoestring fries.
Red Hook Lobster Pound
284 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(646) 326 7650
Couple Ralph Gorman and Susan Povich started this seat-of-the-pants operation in an unused storefront on Van Brunt street in 2009. He drives what they say are the city’s freshest lobsters down from Maine, she makes the mix—blushing-red whole-claw chunks, homemade mayo, paprika, scallions, celery, all stuffed into a J.J Nissen bun. The Lobster Pound also recently rolled out a Lobster Truck.