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Ruth and Wimpy’s – Hancock, Maine

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lobster roll ruth wimpy

I never actually imagined I would be trying this place so soon.  I mean, it’s north of Bar Harbor, which is of course kind of no man’s land.  It was on my list as it had been in the lobster shack book I love to reference and for some reason I think it was on some food show.  So, imagine my surprise as we headed up Rt 1 on Easter Sunday to see it right there, not far from Elsworth and shock of all shocks, open on Easter Sunday, until 8pm!  Since my stomach was in no mood for lunch at the time, I just stopped in to confirm that they had a lobster roll and that it was fresh picked by them, never frozen.  Sure enough, in fact the waitress I asked actually gave me a bit of a friendly eye roll, like, of course it’s fresh picked, why would it be anything else, that’s ridiculous?  I agree.  So, we stopped back by for dinner, and by dinner after poking around the coast and the “other” Acadia.  Worth seeing, by the way, if you have not.

The evening shift didn’t seem quite as on the ball as the lunch shift.  After standing there for a few minutes, a waitress told me to have a seat anywhere.  I did, then a lady sitting at another table informed me that the table I had chosen was reserved.  Once settled in at an approved table with menus, it took a rather significant amount of time before I was able to place an order, longer for water, the food came fairly soon after placing the order, but the check was another wait.  I don’t like to color my judgement of the lobster roll at a location because of the service, but this gal really made it challenging.  On the other hand, the owner (I assume she was the owner) was an exceedingly friendly woman, who was having a great time making the rounds to the tables and being the Easter bunny.  You could pick out an egg from her basket and you won candy or other menu items, every egg was a winner.  I saw a guy win a shrimp cocktail app.  It really was fun and a nice touch, she even noticed when Ken came in and joined me, some time after I had sat down.  I did win a lovely bag full of Easter candy and received it, well before I got water or saw my waitress, so that happened.

Ruth and Wimpy’s really is quite a unique place.  Kind of like a museum of Americana/diner/lobstering establishment.  I quite liked it.  Outside, there is a guy with steaming pots in brick ovens where you can walk up on a boat and watch him work.  I’m not entirely sure what he was doing that day since it seemed to be mostly locals and I didn’t actually see any whole lobsters come out.  There is a classic car parked across the front and apparently there is usually a huge lobster statue, but I guess he hadn’t made it out this early in the season.  The inside is quite cute, pine walls, diner booths, toy car collection covering one wall (if you collect them, I assume you don’t call them toys, but I don’t know what to call them).  License plates covering the other walls, quite kitschy in a fun way.

I ordered the regular and the jumbo lobster rolls.  The regular was good size, standard buttery bun, could have been better grilled, fresh picked tail, claw, knuckle lightly coated in mayo.  It was decent, but I felt like Tracey’s, farther up Rt 1 was way better.  But, to be perfectly honest, it could have been my mood from sitting at a table for 45+ minutes before food arrived.  The jumbo was really something to behold.  It really was a bun the size of a large hoagie, filled with lobster and shredded iceberg.  It was also good, but pulling of a good meat:bread:lettuce ratio would be impossible without putting in so much meat that you would have to charge $50+.  It was more of a sub experience than a lobster roll, but still good and worth trying.  The weight really, is mostly the dense bread.  I, of course, pushed the meat down the bun until I had the meat:bread ratio the way I like it, but Ken thought it was quite good as is, and liked that it was more filling.  Ruth and Wimpy’s is certainly worth a try, and is obviously very popular with the locals, which is always a good thing.  Maybe I’ll try it again, but judging by how crowded they were on Easter Sunday, this place must be a mad house in the summer.  On the other hand, maybe they have a take out window then, which could only be a good thing.

Regular weighed in at 4.8 oz., jumbo weighed in at 13.9 oz.

Ruth and Wimpy’s website

Visited March 2013

Ruth & Wimpy's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tracey’s Seafood – Sullivan, Maine

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Tracey’s lobster roll is in my book, Lobster Rolls of New England!!

lobster coveredited

The Lobster Shack at Two Lights – Cape Elizabeth, Maine

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two lights lobster roll

This is one of the more famous lobster rolls in the state of Maine.  In fact, when people find out I eat a lot of lobster rolls and write about it, I would say I get asked if I’ve tried Two Lights most often, more so than even Red’s.  When I arrived at this location, it was immediately clear why this place is famous and I suspected it wasn’t for the actual lobster roll.  This is truly THE most stunning view in the state of Maine that is accompanied by a lobster roll.  Sure there are other gorgeous views, Five Islands, Stewman’s and Dolphin immediately come to mind.  Those examples may not be the best, because Five Islands is a rare convergence of a stunning Maine view and the best of the best lobster roll.  Dolphin has a very good lobster roll and Stewman’s is decent.  But, I guess a red flag always goes up for me when a place I’ve heard has a great lobster roll has an amazing view.  People tend to color their opinions with the entire experience, which, I suppose is normal.  I mean when you’re in Maine wanting a lobster roll, ideally it should be the whole ocean/lobster experience.  I get the opposite phenomenon when I pull up to a lobster roll place and it’s a total dump with a view of a highway and I’ve heard it has a great lobster roll.  In those cases, I get super excited because I know this lobster roll is likely to be a real life changing eating experience because the lobster roll is biased in no way by the ambiance.  Fisherman’s Grill, I’m looking at you.

Two Lights lobster roll did indeed live up to my expectations or I should say, lived down to.  I had seen photos of this roll and couldn’t for the life of me imagine how what was in the picture could possibly be good, let alone great.  Every picture I had seen involved what looked like a hot dog bun, half of which was covered with a giant blob of mayo and the other half with a pickle slice.  Yuck, I couldn’t imagine how that could be right, there must be some amazing stuff under that, but it looked like only enough lobster to barely show through.  I can say one thing for them, they are consistent.  What I received looked exactly like every picture I had seen.  I found the mayo blob much more confusing once I actually had it in hand.  The pickle can easily be removed without leaving much pickle residue.  But, what are you really supposed to do with that blob?  If you really like mayo, do you just smear it across the top?  You certainly can’t toss it so every piece is equally coated, as is ideal.  It seems like trying to spread it around would just make for a huge mess and cause the lobster to fall out.  I chose to scrape it off, but this had its challenges too.  These are pieces of lobster, so even scraping it off leaves a rather significant amount still caught in the pieces.  The only way I could think to remedy this would be to remove and wipe off every piece with a napkin of knife, but that seemed unsanitary.  So, I proceeded to eat a half completely dry lobster roll and a half mayo chunky lobster roll, just weird.  Actually, to be truthful, after trying the disappointing combo of dry and mayo, I went to the counter and got a cup of butter to dip the whole thing into.  Everything is much better that way.  The lobster amount in this roll is rather skimpy and on the low-end of average lobster roll weight after I removed the mayo blob and pickle for weighing.  The meat is fresh picked every day here and they include both tail and claw, which is always good, and it is tasty but they sure don’t give you much of it.  I have a system of moving all of the lobster meat down the bread so that I always get an ideal meat:bread ratio in each bite, regardless of the overall ratio.  Using this system, I had a full half of the empty bun left over.  The bread is your standard split top bun, the grilling technique leaves some butter and crunch to be desired.

I wouldn’t say this is a bad lobster roll, just disappointing because it is so far away from matching the beyond stunning view that accompanies it.  They do home-baked desserts here.  I think I would get that when I return.    And yes, I will absolutely return.  This truly is exactly what you picture when you think of the Maine coast.  The cute, cozy, creatively decorated, very comfortable on a cold day, dining room has wrap around windows overlooking the ocean.  The picnic table area is right on the ocean on a flat area with evenly spaced, very clean, bright red picnic tables interspersed with a very comfortable amount of trash cans to keep it clean.  This is in every way, a top-notch quintessentially Maine, seaside seafood shack.  Clean, efficient, well maintained, bright, cheery outside, cozy inside and all this is on one of the best spots of real estate where lobster is served on the Maine coast.  I really can’t say enough good things about the actual location and the restaurant itself.  Except the lobster roll, it’s the only thing that just doesn’t measure up.

Weighed in at 5 oz.

Two Lights website

Visited April 2012

Lobster Shack on Urbanspoon

 

Bite Into Maine – Cape Elizabeth, Maine

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Bite into Maine’s lobster roll is in my book, Lobster Rolls of New England!!lobster coveredited

Day’s Crabmeat and Lobster – Yarmouth, Maine

day's lobster roll

This spot has been beckoning me from I-295 for quite some time.  But, it seems that we are always driving by in the off season and they are only open May-October.  This August, we finally caught them while they were open.  It is very easy to get to off of the highway.  This spot has a lot of authenticity, particularly for a place not on the water.  They have a history that goes back to the 1920’s when they started selling lobster rolls.  They don’t claim to have invented it or anything, but I have to assume this must be one of the oldest lobster roll purveyors in the state.  Day’s is a simple white building with a fairly large lobster sorting area and a takeout window with picnic tables around and behind the building overlooking a rather lovely marsh.  It has a very peaceful vibe going on.

The lobster roll is really very good.  The lobster meat is cooked there and fresh picked and you can tell as soon as you bite into it.  The meat has that fresh taste of the sea and is cooked to a perfect tenderness.  I’m guessing they cook it in seawater, it just has that great taste.  They have huge chunks of tail, claw and knuckle lightly coated in mayo and served on a perfectly buttery grilled bun.  There is also an option on the menu to order without mayo.  There are spongies, but as is the case with expertly cooked lobster, I felt no need to pick them out.  If I had one complaint, I think it could use more lobster, it was a little light.  I actually ate it all before Ken had a chance to get a bite, too bad for him.  Don’t miss the fresh baked molasses cookies.  Overall, I highly recommend this spot, it is exactly what you look for in a fresh Maine lobster roll with the convenience of being right of the highway.  Perfect for a fix when you’re driving to or from wherever you visit.  I’d like to try the cooked lobster dinner next time, I bet it’s great.

Weighed in at 5.4 oz.

http://dayscrabmeatandlobster.com

Visited August 2012

Days Crabmeat & Lobster on Urbanspoon