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The Best Lobster Roll

What Makes a Great Lobster Roll

I’ve eaten lobster rolls on Cape Cod, along the Connecticut Coast and the rocky shores of Maine. Here’s a few things I’ve learned:

  • If you want a top quality lobster roll, $19.99 is the starting price.
  • The best lobster rolls are made to order.
  • It’s not a question of mayo or butter, but the right amount of both.
  • The roll should be toasted.
  • A microwave should not be involved.
  • Eating outdoors or in a lobster shack with a view of water is necessary — but atmosphere cannot save a mediocre roll.

That list sums up the sad and sodden lobster rolls I’ve eaten — prepared ahead of time and sold in a refrigerator case in one over-lauded spot on Martha’s Vineyard.

The Best Lobster Roll

Clam Shack, Kennebunkport

Served on a butter-griddled soft, round bun spread with mayonnaise, and piled with nuggets of knuckle, tail and claw, drizzled with butter, this lobster roll has the perfect balance and texture, with the freshness of  pink and white lobster starring. A wedge of lemon is served on the side.

The lobster is local, and the owner says he boils them in Maine sea water, and never freezes it.

There’s just one drawback: lines. I hate lines. Just won’t do it. And The Clam Shack, which sells between 200 to 500 lobster rolls a day when open during the season, is famous for its lines. We were driving from Connecticut to meet friends at a house we’d rented for the weekend in Kennebunkport. Our GPS insisted upon upon a mystifying three-hours-long journey along Route One. By the time we reached Kennebunkport it was dark, approaching 9 p.m. We spotted the iconic Clam Shack, and screeched to a halt. Actually, we drove in a circle looking for a parking spot in the downtown crowded with  plump summer tourists.

Sometimes, the journey’s lead us to the right place at the right moment. We found a parking spot. Walked to the Clam Shack. And there wasn’t a line!


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