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Category Archives: Open Year Round

Seawell Seafood – Pawcatuck, Connecticut

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lobster roll seawell

I haven’t the foggiest idea how I found this place.  I was just browsing online a list of seafood markets in Mystic after I saw that Seawell was a seafood source for Kitchen Little and I decided to call Seawell to find out if they have lobster rolls.  As luck would have it, they have both mayo and butter!  Seawell is located in Pawcatuck, which is literally inches from the Rhode Island border.  But, Connecticut gets credit for this fantastic lobster roll.  Seawell is actually a seafood market and one of the most authentic feeling ones I have been in.  You really get the feeling that this fish was swimming in the sea a few hours ago and came straight to this store with no middle man.  They list the source of each fish, most of which is Stonington (of which Pawcatuck is a segment I found out) and it looks so fresh you might want to eat it raw, or not.

They also have a homeade soups, a little selection of groceries and, of course, lobsters.  But, not just the normal collection of barely moving 1 and half pounders you see everywhere else.  Their lobster selection has the look and size selection of a Maine lobster wharf.  And they also had something I had never seen before, a blue lobster, alive.  I thought these were super rare, but there he was, for sale with the other 10+ pounders.  That’s something you won’t ever see in Maine as they have a size limit of 4 pounds to keep the lobster population vibrant.  I almost felt like buying the big blue guy just to release him back into the ocean.  Hypocritical of a gal who makes eating lobster her life mission, I know, but what can I say, I’m a sucker for the ones that are still alive.  But, I didn’t, I just took a picture of him and ordered a buttered lobster roll.

The lobster meat is fresh picked right there, can be bought by the pound and that’s the same stuff they use to make your buttered lobster roll to order.  To be honest, that’s why I didn’t order the mayo version because the gal behind the counter pointed proudly to a bin of very chopped up, very mayoed lobster “salad” she had just made up with the same meat.  I’m sure it was good, but it just looked to me like she ruined that great lobster.

I was getting frustrated driving around looking for a flat spot to do my weigh-in because there is no seating in Seawell and no flat spots on my car.  Grumpiness usually negatively colors my opinion of a lobster roll, but wow, on my first bite, all negativity melted away.  This was honestly one of the best bites of a lobster roll I have experienced and as you know, I have quite a bit of experience.  The meat on this lobster roll is without a doubt world class flavor and rivals most in Maine.  The fresh from the sea flavor can only be experienced and explaining it is beyond my skill.  The meat is served cold, with melted butter dizzled on, which can go wrong since melted butter, turns non melted when it hits cold meat.  The re-solidified butter even managed to taste incredible with the meat, quite a feat if you’ve tried that a before.  They add green onions, which, while pretty, I was skeptical of, but they were somehow perfect.  I wouldn’t request without next time.  The lobster roll is served on a potato roll, which is not grilled and a good buttery grilling is probably the only improvement I could suggest.  I’m not sure I’ve ever actually had one on a potato roll but it was the right answer.

I honestly feel like this is THE best lobster roll in Connecticut.  I don’t say that lightly, there are a few that I’m a big fan of, Ford’s, my previous best, and still incredible is where to go for a view and beverage.  High Tide Gourmet truck, Kitchen Little, Deepwater Lobster and Captain Scott’s are all favorites, but the meat in the Seawell lobster roll puts it above all of them.  I’m bringing a cooler next time I come to get picked lobster meat and some of that fish, which I’m betting is even better than it looks.  What a find!!

Weighed in at 4.8 ounces

Seawell Facebook page

Visited July 2013

Kitchen Little – Mystic, Connecticut

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lobster roll kitchen little

This lobster roll has been eluding me for quite some time.  Mainly because they only serve it before 2pm on weekdays, never on weekends, that’s always breakfast only and when I called, I was told that it’s not available at their new venture into dinner either.  It has however, been high on my list because they claim to use local, fresh seafood only and seem to be known for home cooking.  They recently moved from their tiny, “little” shack near Mystic Seaport to a much more off the beaten track, but so worth the effort, location at the Mystic marina, (if you knew that existed).  Their website says turn right and follow that road all the way back, which sounds easy enough, but actually involves quite a few twists, splits and drives through residential streets.  But, finally you arrive at the marina and head to the second floor to one of the most gorgeous views in Connecticut overlooking the water.  The second floor view really is a great place to watch the boats go by and relax watching the sun on the water.  We went on probably the hottest day on record in CT and fully expected to melt, but we took a table outside on the deck and found it to be extremely breezy and pleasant.  So, I can imagine it’s even better on a less sweltering day.

After an extremely slow start (probably 15 minutes before we saw an actual waitress), our waitress proved to be extremely helpful, friendly and entertaining.  They cook and pick the lobster meat right there, every day for both the hot and cold versions of the lobster roll.  We, of course, ordered both and I really couldn’t decide which I liked better.  The cold didn’t look very picture ready when it arrived with two giant pieces of lettuce and the meat kind of falling out.  But, that didn’t keep me from seeing the large chunks of tail and claw meat used with a fairly minimal amount of mayo.  They use a mix of fresh chopped herbs in both the hot and cold versions and the subtle flavor addition really adds a pleasant, fresh twist.  The meat is fantastic and the hot version managed to not be overcooked as is a common pitfall of the hot, buttered lobster roll.  The bun was your standard split top and could benefit from a more aggressive buttering and grilling, it was more toasted than grilled.  But overall, these lobster rolls are among the best in Connecticut and once you factor in the gorgeous view, this really is a must try.

As Lobster Gal doesn’t do very well with getting an early start, we were there the last people there after their 2pm closing time and got to chatting with our waitress.  She was lamenting the fact that they really aren’t very busy and that they may be ending the dinner service if it doesn’t pick up.  It’s on the water, they serve beer and wine at dinner and top notch, fresh seafood.  Since I’ve discovered it, I’m really hoping they stay open more hours.  I asked if I could get the lobster roll on evenings or weekends and she said yes, if they have the ingredients and aren’t too busy.  Well, when I called, I was told in no uncertain terms that I could only get the lobster roll at lunch on weekdays, so I guess it depends on who you ask, which isn’t good.

I didn’t tell her, but if I were going to offer Kitchen Little some advice on how to maximize their significant assets, my first piece of advice would be to serve those lobster rolls whenever they are open.  I would also suggest they get rid of their restrictive menu policy of no lunch on weekends and no sandwiches at dinner.  It’s off-putting when a restaurant appears as if it isn’t accommodating of what diners want to eat.  I noticed on Tripadvisor and Yelp that I wasn’t the only one who thought so, not everybody at a table wants breakfast after noon.  You have a great menu, let people order off of it, all of it, all the time.  I would also say they need to trim down the menu a bit, it takes a week to read through and doesn’t emphasize the fresh seafood nearly enough.  I get that somebody in charge here really wants to lead with breakfast, but I would suggest they lead with seafood and also let people know they serve beer and wine.  I would have enjoyed a glass of wine with lunch, maybe it just got lost in the menu, but I saw no mention of it.  They also could use some work on the service issues.  Some more prominent signage along the road back wouldn’t hurt either, it’s not easy to find.

I’m certainly going to make my way down there for dinner, not just to support them so they keep doing it, but because it honestly is one of the best lobster rolls in Connecticut and it is accompanied by one of the best water views on the Connecticut shoreline.  It doesn’t get much better than that, well, it could get better and I sure hope it does, or at least opens up the lobster roll availability.

Cold weighed in at 5.5 ounces

Hot weighed in at 5.1 ounces

Kitchen Little website

Visited July 2013

Kitchen Little on Urbanspoon

Petey’s – Rye, New Hampshire

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peteys lobster roll

This is a beautiful location right on the New Hampshire ocean, but if you want to see the view, you need to hit this one in summer because that’s when the upstairs deck is open.  There is a nice view of the marsh behind from the inside of the restaurant, but no ocean view.  To be honest, if you’re looking for a view and the comforts of indoor dining with waitress service, I would head up the road to Ray’s where you can have probably the best view possible year round while eating lobster.  But, if it’s lobster rolls that are on your mind, each of these spots offer very different versions.

I’ve been to Petey’s several times and quite liked it.  It is a major hot spot, year round.  Even on a Sunday afternoon in February people were parked far down the road.  My very favorite item here is the “lobster on a stick”.  I absolutely love it, probably more than quite a few lobster rolls.  I like it better than their lobster roll, but that doesn’t mean the lobster roll here isn’t great, it’s just that having an entire fresh lobster tail, on a stick, warm, dipped in butter may be one of the most genius creations ever.  Sadly, when I went this last time they were out of them, I nearly cried.  But, have no fear, I drowned my sorrows in lobster rolls, well, and also beer.

I had the version of the lobster roll that Petey’s offers at the Hampton Beach Seafood Fest and it is quite different than what they offer at the restaurant.  I think I like the Fest version better, it was actually one of my favorites there.  They offer a regular size and a jumbo size lobster roll at the restaurant.  I, of course, ordered both and when she delivered them, I actually had to ask which was which.  They really looked exactly the same, an illusion of the round bun perhaps.  The weights were indeed quite different, and the bread, despite identical appearance was different.  The regular sized bun had more of an airy brioche texture and less flavor and the jumbo was a heartier bread, more potato like dense texture and quite flavorful.  The both tasted bakery fresh or at least innovative, which I strongly admire.  I much preferred the jumbo bun as a complement to the lobster and hey, it comes with more lobster, so it’s an easy decision in the future.  The lobster meat is fresh caught and picked here and it tastes great.  They give a generous amount, but not as generous as the weight, including mayo and a hearty bun, might suggest.  However, I feel like they use a smidge too much mayo.  To look at the pictures, you might say way too much, but no.  It tastes like nearly the right combo, just a tiny bit over on the mayo.  One reason may be that they cut the meat into rather small chunks, which provides more surface area for mayo to stick to.  This is probably because I have found that when using a round bun, large chunks are not the right answer, they fall right out.  Either go uncut, ala Clam Shack, or cut small for a round bun.  There is also shredded lettuce involved.  You can’t pick off shredded lettuce, it just gets into every bite.  Ken quite liked it’s inclusion, but I would request without in the future.  Overall, this is a very good lobster roll with a fabulous view, particularly in the summer.  But, for me, the main attraction remains the “lobster on a stick”, the greatest seafood innovation since the lobster roll.

Regular weighed in at 8.8 oz.

Jumbo weighed in at 12.9 oz.

Visited May 2013

Petey’s website

Petey's Summertime Seafood on Urbanspoon

Port Lobster – Kennebunkport, Maine

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port lobster roll
For as many times as I’ve visited Kennebunkport, I’m really not sure why I didn’t even know that this unassuming little shop sold lobster rolls.  Port Lobster is a little brick building just outside of town by the Colony hotel.  Which, by the way is a great place to stay, particularly if you are looking for a dog friendly venue, and it’s one of the best places to have a beverage overlooking the ocean.  Port Lobster is a great fish shop for getting some fresh lobster that they will steam for you so you can go enjoy them someplace pretty.  I spotted the sign for the $9.99 lobster roll and needed to give it a try.  This may sound terrible, but I always expect a $10 lobster roll to be previously frozen meat.  I mean, lobster meat, fresh picked isn’t cheap so I usually assume that you can either have a fresh picked lobster roll or an inexpensive lobster roll.  Happily, such is not the case at Port Lobster.  They use fresh picked, by them, lobster meat, fresh picked that morning according to the gal at the counter.In addition to selling fresh lobster by the pound, they also sold frozen lobster by the pound, the price difference being $40 for fresh vs. $26 for frozen.  This is the reason that, without exception, I consider it a rip off when a lobster roll made with previously frozen meat is being sold for the same price or higher than fresh.  Even if it tastes not bad, they should still be charging less.  I asked the gal here at Port Lobster if the frozen meat would be acceptable to use when making a lobster roll.  She said absolutely not, the frozen meat is best used in cooked dishes, but when you are eating the meat straight, as in a lobster roll, it just isn’t very good if it’s frozen.  I couldn’t agree more.

So, the lobster roll at Port Lobster was quite a surprising delight.  Surprising because of the price and the fact that I had missed it all this time.  The meat is tasty, briny and most certainly fresh.  It is served in nicely sized chunks of both tail and claw/knuckle cold meat lightly tossed to order in minimal mayo.  But, since they mix to order, I’m sure you could request your desired amount of mayo.  The bun is the standard split top and can be toasted, but I went with un-toasted.  The size of the lobster roll is perfect, not too big, but perfect bread:meat ratio.  I didn’t have to move any meat down the bun to get an ideal bite.  I really quite enjoyed this lobster roll and at that price, I very well may need to order several next time!

Weighed in at 5.6 oz.

Port Lobster website

Visited May 2013

H.B. Provisions – Kennebunk, Maine

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provisions lobster rollThis place is a real lifesaver if you ever find yourself staying the night in Kennebunkport and needing something besides restaurant food or nautical interior design accessories.  It is a little market with just the right amount of stuff and a full aisle of wine.  It wasn’t until recently when I liked them on Facebook that I discovered that they also do lots of food, home baked goods, full breakfast, sandwiches, etc.  I guess the fact that it is essentially across the street from Clam Shack has resulted in me never actually going in there hungry.  So, I found out that they do a lobster roll, which they serve until 9pm and you can eat it at the cozy seating area they have and watch the old men do jigsaw puzzles.  It’s like a shop out of a bygone era, you might expect the horse drawn ice truck to go by, I love it.

I confirmed that the lobster meat is fresh picked and local, no specific names were given there.  The lobster roll is served on a round bun, which is not a grocery store style, more of a bakery fresh roll, very tasty.  Maybe a kaiser, potatoish combo flavor.  They grill the inside to a perfect buttery crunch.  The meat is all claw meat, no tail, a bit of a skimpy amount in my opinion, but very tasty meat.  The problem is that they spread a ton of mayo on both sides of the bun, but I’m guessing that could be remedied by asking for mayo on the side.  The mayo actually does taste like it may be a homemade type, not sure, but it tasted very creamy and not jelloey like most jarred mayo is.  So, it was good mayo, if you’re into that sort of thing.  They also involve lettuce and a tomato slice in the sandwich, a mistake which I quickly remedied by removing.  Overall, this was a very good lobster roll that could use less mayo and more meat.  No, it doesn’t compare to Clam Shack across the street, but few places do.  It’s unfortunate proximity to the greatest lobster roll on earth shouldn’t be held against it.  I am still craving that buttery crunchy bun, maybe I can request double meat next time.

Weighed in at 6.3 oz. after lettuce and tomato removed.

http://www.hbprovisions.com/

Visited May 2013