Perhaps my expectations for Guilford Lobster Pound were too high, or maybe I was just mad at it for not being open the four previous times I tried to visit, but it just wasn’t as good as I had hoped. I should mention that you should call ahead and confirm with an actual person that they will still be open when you get there. They are only open Wednesday-Sunday, 12-6, May-Memorial Day. But, I have found out that those hours are a bit flexible, so is the May part. Guilford Lobster Pound is a little shingled building at the back of the parking lot for another restaurant with a wide deck with picnic tables and a glorious view of the water. Walk past the building to the deck where the lobster rolls, along with a minimalist menu including hot dogs, chowder and stuffed clams, are served. The pound is owned by an actual lobsterman who catches his own lobsters from his boat that is docked right there and they also run boat tours from there. As far as I’m aware, this is the only lobster pound in CT that is owned and run by a lobsterman and he sells his lobsters right there. I did not gather that you can order a lobster steamed and eat it on the deck, but maybe you do that inside the building, not sure, it wasn’t on the menu.
I assumed, but still asked if the lobster meat for the roll was cooked and picked there, by them and his wife confirmed that it was. The hot lobster roll was served to us at our table wrapped simply in foil. My first impression was that it looked very red and full of spongies for a lobsterman fresh roll. I have high expectations for a lobsterman’s roll, I guess I expect it too look like lazy man’s lobster, picked fresh out of the lobster, possibly cut up and served up on a bun. The color always sets of a “red” flag for me (pun intended). This is just a personal theory, but fresh meat usually looks white and pink, anything else usually has a very red color to it. I sometimes wonder if part of that might be fresh meat sitting around in butter instead of being tossed to order might have something to do with it. Bends in the spongies are another flag for me. When you pick a lobster, have you ever seen the spongies be anything but straight and flexible? So, when I see a fold set in the spongie, that makes me think it has been out of the shell and sitting in that position for quite some time. The flavor of the meat was fine, a little dry in texture and the butter didn’t sog up the bun. The bun was the best part in my opinion, it was perfectly buttery, crispy grilled and warm. As you may have figured out, I’m not a fan of spongies and I pulled a full 6 large spongies from my roll, which left a whole lot less edible meat on the bun. If this is fresh picked, what did they do with the tail meat? That’s always why I’m suspicious of claw/knuckle only rolls.
The chowder was really the high point of the meal, it was one of the best Rhode Island (broth) style chowders I have had the pleasure of eating. It was chock full of clams, briny, lots of herbs and red skin potatoes, good stuff. I was very disappointed with the lobster roll, it wasn’t bad, it’s just that I expected better. But, the view here is beyond stunning, the staff couldn’t be friendlier and they encourage you to byob. I would love to come back on a sunny afternoon with a bottle of wine and watch the boats go by with a cup of that chowder, and maybe a hot dog. I’m not really sure what a stuffed clam is, but perhaps I’ll find out.