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Guilford Lobster Pound – Guilford, Connecticut

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lobster roll guilford

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.

Weighed in at 5.5 ounces
Guilford Lobster Pound website
Visited July 2013

Guilford Lobster Pound on Urbanspoon

Cape Neddick Lobster Pound – Cape Neddick, Maine

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neddick lobster roll

I find it so much more disappointing when a gorgeous view is accompanied by a mediocre lobster roll.  I guess I just think that all great views should be accompanied by outstanding food.  To do otherwise feels like a crime against humanity, or amazing views, or something.  I’m exceedingly sorry to say that Cape Neddick fell into this category.  Again, I feel really strangely bad reporting that it was not a lobster roll I will find myself craving.  When I have a lousy lobster roll at any other place, it doesn’t pain me to say I didn’t particularly like it, but with this view, ugh.

I was actually just going to do a quick takeout order and be on my way since this is a sit down restaurant and I really just want to try the lobster roll, not fool them into thinking I plan to engage in a whole dinner experience.  But, once I walked in and saw the expansive view through the wrap around, two story windows, looking out on the lovely river all around, I just had to stay.  They also have a full bar, being a full service restaurant and all, so that certainly didn’t hurt either.  We were seated at a cute table right by the window.  The tables here are all spread out enough that you don’t feel like other people’s conversations are invading your personal space, very pleasant.  Our waitress was great, super helpful, answered all my questions while staying very friendly.  She said that their lobster roll was amazing, huge and that the lobster meat for it was picked right there, right before the shift.  I was so excited I could barely contain myself, always a setup for a letdown.

The lobster roll arrived and well, it was indeed large, more of a foot long hot dog roll, not split top, but that’s fine by me.  However, it looked more like a crab roll.  That is to say, completely white, slathered in mayo and shredded.  Trying very hard not to judge a lobster roll by it’s cover, I have had some very tasty, ugly ones (Markey’s), I took a bite.  Sadly, it was exactly how it looked, tons of mayo, so much that I honestly can’t tell you how the tastiness of the meat was.  It was fully disguised in mayo and the chunks were so small, that wiping off the mayo for a taste was a futile effort.  There was also a piece of lettuce and chives or parsley mixed in.  I did confirm a piece of tail meat involved, so I believe her that it was fresh picked.  But, this just proves, that restaurants can manage to kill even the best setup.  The view, the very fresh picked meat, it still disappoints me just to talk about it.  I imagine the meat was probably excellent because I did still manage to eat a decent amount of it and it didn’t taste bad, just really, really mayoey.  I left feeling somewhat ill because that much mayo sits in my stomach like a rock.  Thank goodness they serve sav blanc, which did offset it somewhat.

All was not lost.  Ken’s swordfish tips were fantastic and very fresh.  The were also served with fiddlehead ferns.  If you’re not familiar with them, they are the greatest vegetable known to man and are only available in New England for about two weeks out of the year.  They’re a bit of a cross in flavor between asparagus and broccoli and look like a cute little swirly disk.  It really kills me that this lobster roll was what it was because everything else was so good, the view, the service, the fish, the fiddlehead ferns, even the onion rings.  This place is absolutely worth visiting, but not for the lobster roll, maybe I’ll order a lobster dinner next time and be disappointed that fiddlehead ferns are out of season ;-)

Weighed in at 9.8 oz.
http://www.capeneddick.com/
Visited May 2013

Cape Neddick Lobster Pound on Urbanspoon

Thurston’s Lobster Pound – Bernard, Maine

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Lobster Roll Thurston's Lobster Pound Bernard, Maine

Cool little lobster pound hidden back off a hidden road.  This is what you picture when you go to a lobster pound in Maine.  Steam coming out of the cooking area, very authentic.  It overlooks a lovely bay, but we went on a rainy day, which lends to the Maine ambiance, but isn’t quite as pictuesque, especially when everyone is squishing in to the indoor dining area.  It seemed a bit cut throat to get a table.  Thank goodness we arrived right before the dinner rush.  Obviously very fresh meat, large chunks of cold, nicely mayoed tail and claw.  They definitely could have used more lobster meat, it was a little skimpy.  When I moved over the meat to make an ideal meat:bread ratio, bread was left over, not ideal.  I would say that the standard hot dog roll was over grilled, crisp to the point that it was scratching the roof of my mouth with each bite.  I want to go back on a nice day to sit outside and try a lobster meal, but I wouldn’t bother with the lobster roll again, nothing special.

http://thurstonslobster.com/

Visited September 2011

Thurston's Lobster Pound on Urbanspoon

Stewman’s Lobster Pound – Bar Harbor, Maine

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Lobster Roll at Stewman's Lobster Pound Bar Harbor, Maine

Maybe one of the best views of maybe the prettiest spot on the east coast, in my opinion.  The Bar Harbor location of Stewmans overlooks Frenchman’s Bay, the only other view that rivals it is at Galyn’s.  One is indoor and the other outdoor, so I guess it depends on the weather.  The lobster roll here is an adequate roll.  It is all claw meat with a nice amount of mayo on a nicely grilled standard white hot dog roll.  I actually found it surprising that it was all claw since that seems not to be the standard in this slice of the world.  But, this spot seems really to be more of a tourist joint geared toward the mobs of cruise ship passengers.  Luckily, there was no ship in town the day we tried it out.  I wouldn’t come back here for the food, but the view is amazing and they have a rather extensive menu and serve booze.  Perfect spot to have a glass of wine while taking in maybe the best view in Maine. 

http://www.stewmanslobsterpound.com/

Visited September 2011

Stewmans Downtown on Urbanspoon

Down East Lobster Pound – Trenton, Maine

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Lobster Roll at Down East Lobster Pound Trenton, Maine

I liked this lobster roll so much I felt the need to take a photo of myself doing a thumbs up.  It was maybe my favorite of the MDI/Bar Harbor area and there is some stiff competition in this neck of the woods.  It’s a close call with Docksiders in Northwest Harbor.  It seems like the there is some sort of dividing line for Maine lobster rolls.  I think it’s somewhere north of Camden, where the overall quality starts to go way up.  You don’t find much frozen meat or lobster rolls without tail meat up here, high quality stuff.  I would say the only other region where you could go, stop anywhere, and have an excellent chance of getting a great lobster roll would be the New Hampshire coast.  Something weird happens between the Maine border and Camden where too many places seem to think it’s ok to serve frozen and/or shredded, low quality meat.  Anyway, back to Down East, the meat was very tender, briny, perfect tasting.  There were large chunks of tail, claw, knuckle and they were very generous about the portion, not quite so much that you need a fork, but right at the border, fantastic.  Just the right amount of mayo, paprika, but it didn’t bother me at all in this case.  The roll was the standard white hot dog roll, but it was grilled to buttery perfection.  There is somewhat of a water view from the picnic tables, but you have to look for it.  Great lobster roll, don’t miss it if you’re in the area. 

Visited September 2011

Down East Lobster Pond on Urbanspoon