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Dolphin Marina and Restaurant – Harpswell, Maine

Dolphin lobster roll

If I’ve had a lobster roll at a more beautiful location, I honestly can’t remember.  I know I have said that before but that was before I had eaten at the Dolphin in Harpswell.  Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few beautiful locations with lobster rolls, but this is a real standout.  This spot is at the end of a very long thin peninsula out to Harpswell point.  You keep thinking you are almost there, but not quite.  Then, as you finally reach the dirt road where the paving ends, the world opens up and you are surrounded by a panoramic view on all sides of the ocean, boats and islands in the distance, just stunning.  If all that weren’t enough, I would have been thrilled to eat a lobster roll on the grass here, but the Dolphin is a lovely, very new, enclosed but with a desk, full service, full menu, full bar restaurant with wrap around picture windows and a view from every table.

We managed to sneak in here right under the wire, one hour before closing on Columbus Day, lucky us.  Frankly, I kind of think it’s a crime against humanity that a full service, fully enclosed restaurant with this great a view and food is closed at least five months a year.  You might think that a restaurant this nice would have more of a fancy, overdone lobster roll, not really authentic, you would be wrong.  This lobster roll has all the street cred of the best lobster shacks on the ocean.  It’s just a much nicer shack.  This is the place you bring your Grandma, who wants the lobster shack experience, but isn’t going to sit outside on a picnic table at a place with a port-a-potty and eat with a plastic fork and no bourbon.  We were greeted on arrival by a super friendly black lab who later hung out with us and Ginger on our walk around the property, playing with sticks, rolling around, super cute pup.  I love a dog greeter/concierge.

The lobster roll looked pretty standard upon arrival, top-split wondertype bun, nicely grilled.  Large chunks of tail, claw and knuckle.  Menu and waitress said the lobster is fresh picked there everyday.  But, the first bite told me that this was indeed a contender with some of the great, gritty shack rolls run by lobstermen.  The meat was melt in your mouth tender, full of sea flavor, minimal mayo.  I suspect maybe this spot is run by a lobsterman, the shack part just got a major makeover.  I got this rec from my pal and lobster team member Lucy.  Her parents live in Maine and are regulars here.  I should have known it would be great, her mom Mary is a bit of a lobster connoisseur herself.  I did see a flower on the lobster roll photo Lucy had sent me, but I guess no flower when you are possibly the last lobster roll served of the season.  Also ordered the lobster stew, very tasty with lots of huge chunks of tail and claw that didn’t taste like they had been simmering too long.  If all this wasn’t enough, it comes with a delish blueberry muffin.  It seems like someone here likes to bake as they also had a full homemade dessert menu.  Wish I had room.  I also wish the great baker would make a nice, fresh, top split bun to take the lobster roll to the elite tier.  This is a fantastic place with a gorgeous view and a top notch lobster roll, worth driving from anywhere for the Maine lobster shack experience, but the cushy version.

Weighed in at 5.3 oz.

Visited October 2012

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3 Responses »

  1. Linda Litchfield

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this place! Have been going for years when it was attached to the Marina. I say, ‘Don’t mess with perfection’! A must-do when you’re in the Brunswick area.

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