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Woodman’s – Essex, Massachusetts

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Lobster Roll Woodman's Essex, Massachusetts

Had never heard of this spot, though I must confess, I haven’t done a great deal of research on the north shore of Mass (I think that’s how people refer to it, but again, I’m no expert).  I actually saw a photo of this roll when some man posted on twitter and it looked like a lobster roll I had to have.  When we arrived to this sleepy little town, I thought we might be in for a quick visit.  No chance, turns out this place is quite a destination.  Giant parking lot, masses of outdoor picnic tables overlooking the pretty marsh, two stories of tables and a line out the door.  Best and most ingenious of all, they have a whole setup in front with lots of cooked lobsters all layed out for you to choose your fave, get it dropped in the water for an additional heat up, pay, and be on your way.  No waiting for a half hour for your lobster to cook.  The person who orders the full lobster can eat it at the same time as the person who orders the lobster roll.  On the down side, you have to wait in line twice if you want anything besides a lobster, but people seem to work out a system with friends.  They also serve booze in a separate line, draft beer, wine, liquor and all, delightful.  This spot has been serving up lobster and clams since the early 1900’s, love the history, nostalgia, memorabilia and photo of the original old man Woodman and the little lady photo on the wall.  I like a place with history, shows they’re real innovators.  The lobster roll really was everything I hoped it could be from the twitter pic.  The bread was a real standout.  This was not from the Sysco distributor or any cousin of the mass produced wonder roll so loved throughout the lobster roll community.  It was indeed a top split hot dog bun, grilled, though mysteriously not very hot, but this tasted to be some sort of bakery, small batch, fresh, unique roll.  First, it was quite wide and sturdy at the bottom.  Despite a generous portion of lobster, this puppy was not going to topple.  The flavor was part potato roll, part sweet challah.  The texture was sturdy but light.  It was the kind of partner that a filling of the integrity of fresh lobster meat deserves to be with.  The meat was fresh, tender, perfectly flavorful, ideal sized chunks, not too small or large, tail, knuckle, claw, no spongie, lightly mayoed.  It was really the perfect marriage of bread and lobster that makes a great lobster roll.  I wish the bread had been a bit more buttery grilled, and I wish they had a warm buttered meat lobster roll option, but that’s it.  This one was a real winner.  Thanks mysterious twitter guy.

Weighed in at 7.7 oz.  (still trying to figure out the new scale settings in the photo)

Visited May 2012

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2 Responses »

  1. RT-1A is known as the “Clam Highway” as designated by Yankee Magazine especially on the North Shore of MA. Something about the mud flats and tidal flows in the Ipswich, MA area produce some of the sweetest clams on the East Coast. Of course if you have clam shacks you’ll have lobster shacks and vice versa or combination of both. RT-1A from ME to MA, RI, CT, NY and NJ you will find great seafood restaurants along the coast. Woodman’s claims to invented the fried clam; the Clam Box says they perfected it and Yankee Magazine proclaimed Clam Box “Best Fried Clams in New England” along with a lot of other magazines and TV shows. I consider J.T. Farnham’s a very close second for fried clams and I like both of their lobster rolls.

  2. Pingback: » Bite Into Maine – Cape Elizabeth, Maine Lobster Gal

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