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Bayley’s Lobster Pound – Scarborough, Maine

bayleys lobster roll

So, apparently, this is the spot where the “Maine style” cold lobster roll was invented.  According to Mike Urban’s Lobster Shacks book, a fantastic guide, Steve Bayley would make what he called lobster sandwiches with leftover lobster meat, but he didn’t like bread crust, so his wife would cut them off for him.  Eventually, she got sick of doing this and started putting the lobster in split top buns and so the lobster roll was born.  They’ve been operating since 1915, but the actual invention date seems unclear.

I was very excited to try the true original lobster roll, to which technically, all others should be compared.  This is probably going to kill lobster roll purists, but it turns out that the original, and thus “real” Maine lobster roll has ungrilled bread.  Gasp!  That’s right, not grilled in butter on both sides, not toasted, and not even warmed up in any way.  This bun is made by the Amato’s bakery, a bit of a chain, but I’ll give credit for bakery fresh, it’s not grocery store.  Some might not even call it a split top bun.  It is technically a small Italian roll.  There is crustless bread on the side, but not the straight cut version we are used to seeing, it appears more torn.  I like it frankly.  It was an extremely soft, fresh roll with plain, Italian bread flavor.  Those who think that ungrilled bread is “doughy” are not going to care for this.  But, let’s be honest, if you think regular white bread buns should be used on a “real” lobster roll, that’s what white bread tastes like.  If you don’t like it, that should be admitted.  If it needs to be soaked in butter and grilled to taste good to you, you really don’t like this roll, you like butter.  I mean, who doesn’t, but you like butter, not that roll.

The meat is just as good as I had hoped.  It had a fresh, delicate flavor of perfectly cooked, not sitting in the fridge too long, fantastic lobster meat.  The texture was buttery perfect and it had both tail and claw meat, lightly coated with mayo, but you could order it as you like.  It seems they mix to order.  I also think the mix to order thing should be considered the only way to serve a “real” lobster roll.  They give it to you in a plastic bag, which makes it look like the lobster roll is suffocating.  Once I freed it, I really did find it to be an overall excellent lobster roll.  I think it could use a smidge more meat because the bun is somewhat larger than the regular hot dog bun.  But the price was particularly low and hey, you can always move the meat down the bun for perfect ratio bites.

Parking is pretty scarce here, but we caught a lucky arrival time.  The little shack is actually open year round, so that’s a huge plus.  They have a wrap around back porch with picnic tables overlooking the marsh area.  After walking the dog, Ken made me go look at the license plate on the truck next door – LBSTAH.  Wow, this place really must have invented the lobster roll!  If you’ve been to Maine, you know the popularity of the vanity tag, and I imagine this one is the number one most jealousy inducing.

Weighed in at 7 oz.

Visited August 2012

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