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Lobster Shack – Ogunquit, Maine

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lobster shack roll

The Lobster Shack is located in perhaps one of the busiest locations on the Maine coast, Perkins Cove in Ogunquit.  Don’t believe me, try parking there in the summer, or I should say, getting anywhere near it.  It is popular for good reason, it’s packed with fantastic restaurants, shops and galleries.  If that weren’t enough, it overlooks the ocean and there is about a mile walk along the coastline with gorgeous views.  Fortunately, for me, a few places started opening in April before the mobs hit, which is the time for me.  Lobster shack has a curious location because it actually shares a wall with another lobster shack, Footbridge Lobster, right next door.  It would be easy to think, as I did at first that Footbridge is the takeout window for Lobster Shack, but they are completely separate entities.  Both of which serve a great, fresh lobster roll.  It would only be right to eat both if you made it all the way into Perkin’s Cove.  I’m not a fan of the other lobster roll hot spot in Perkins Cove, Barnacle Billy’s, but they do have the best view of the three.

The inside of Lobster Shack has a very cozy, warm feel.  It was cold on the day I visited, so that’s a positive.  It’s all pine wood benches, tables and walls.  I should also mention that they have something that I don’t see often, but all lobster places should have, a sink for washing your hands without waiting to go to the bathroom, genius.

When I asked if they cook the meat fresh themselves for the lobster rolls, the friendly gentleman at the counter said that they sure do, several times throughout the day, and pointed to a tank of live lobsters.  Which of course made me feel guilty because I don’t like meeting my meals while they are alive.  Hypocritical, I know.  The lobster roll here is really fantastic.  The fresh picked meat, lightly coated in mayo just melts in your mouth and the standard split top bun, which I, at first thought was burnt, actually added a nice browned butter flavor that was quite nice.   Overall, this is a great spot to enjoy a top notch lobster roll.

Weighed in at 5.6 ounces

Visited April 2013

Lobster Shack website

Lobster Shack 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

Footbridge Lobster – Ogunquit, Maine

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

lobster coveredited

 

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