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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

The Ice House Restaurant – New Castle, New Hampshire

The Ice House’s lobster roll is in my book, Lobster Rolls of New England!!

lobster coveredited

Hampton Beach Seafood Festival – Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

Atwoods of Maine

Atwoods of Maine – Probably my favorite and as far as I can tell, this is the only place you can get this lobster roll.

I love it when I can try many lobster rolls in one place.  I had tried quite a few of the vendors here, but no harm in eating them again.  This is a festival on Ocean Ave along one of the prettiest beaches in New England (the outer cape are the only better ones, in my opinLe Bec lobster rollion).  A word of advice is to walk along the beach side of the tents wherever possible.  Much more scenic, and it you don’t need to get into bob and weave shape for getting through dense crowds, like I do, a more pleasant walk.  The Big E opens the following week and I needed to get into weaving practice.  This huge crowd is a great opportunity.  There is some great people watching to be had here, but you may feel a bit left out if you don’t have a large, colorful tattoo.

I should say that I don’t really consider festivals an “official” Lobster Gal review of the lobster roll since what they serve at festivals is often quite different from what they serve at the actual venue.  Also, I can’t easily use my scale.  That said, if one stinks at a flobster roll 180estival, I am less likely to spend more time and money trying it in the real world.  The first lobster roll I tried was La Bec Rouge.  I believe they were the sponsor of the lobster roll eating contest.  I tried to make it there in time to witness the spectacle, but mercifully, I arrived too late.  Watching people eat is disgusting.  That’s why I never take pictures of half eaten food items.  Just in case you were wondering, no, Lobster Gal is not cut out to be a contender in the lobster roll eating contest.  I’m more about a small amount of many lobster rolls than a large amount of one.  The Le Bec roll was the priciest at $12, but good, had a light lemon flavor.

Then on to the 180 Restaurant and bar for their adorable lobster sliders on a brioche bun.  They weren’t as good as they looked.  Next was Petey’s, whose lobster roll I have enjoyed before, but I actually think I like their festival version better thPeteys lobster rollan their actual.  Very good lobster roll, super friendly folk, the bun here was not grilled or top split if that’s your thing and it’s a round bakery bun at their actual location, butter grilled.  The did however have my beloved “lobster on a stick”.  I sure do love this concoction, just whole lobster tail dipped in butter on a stick.  It’s the best replacement for a cooked whole lobster without the wait or the mess.  I wanted the scallops wrapped in bacon, but there’s only so much stomach space.  Next up Rye Harbor Lobster Pound, it was a hot one with butter sherry topping.  Yuck, not a fan, had the weird flavor lobster gets when it sits hot for a very long time, also rubbery and dry.  Last was Atwood’s of Maine, whiRye lobster rollch said they won the freshest catch award last year.  The man was right there picking the fresh meat, looked fantastic.  He was tearing the tail meat into chunks, not cutting, nice technique and he seemed to be having fun with it.  I never realized how much I really don’t like miracle whip until this lobster roll, that stuff is terrible.  The meat was every bit as good as it looked and certainly the freshest of the ones I tried.  I ended up eating the meat out of the bun and wiping it off.  The meat was still really good.  I would go eat it in it’s natural habitat, but turns out they are only an online retailer.  I left thoroughly stuffed with enough beach and lobster to keep me through the long winter.  Or at least until next weekend.

Atwoods of Maine
Atwoods of Maine - Probably my favorite and as far as I can tell, this is the only place you can get this lobster roll.
Le Bec lobster roll
lobster roll 180
Peteys lobster roll
Rye lobster roll

Visited September 2012

Brown’s – Seabrook, New Hampshire

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

lobster coveredited

Markey’s Lobster Pool – Seabrook, NH

markeys lobster roll

The deck at Markey’s is so close to the calm water of the salt marsh (maybe it’s called something else, not sure, I’m no marine expert) that you could literally dip your toes in while you eat.  There is actually a “no swimming” sign on the deck. The water gives a very tranquil vibe to the whole place.  It’s a great place to take in the wide view of leaf season.  From the deck, it looks so secluded you barely notice the few buildings you can see.  They also have a nice full bar available here to help enhance the view.

They do indeed cook and pick the lobster meat fresh here and it shows in the flavor.  To be honest, when I got this lobster roll, I was not impressed.  This roll is not a looker, to say the least.  Looks like a big mayo mush stuffed in a bun.  Don’t judge a lobster roll by its cover, or something like that.  This is a darn tasty lobster roll.  The mush look is a result of the fact that they do incorporate shreds and small chunks with a generous amount of mayo.  But the result is very delish and is actually mixed with quite a lot of large chunks of both tail and claw, despite what it may look like.  The bun is buttery grilled and the whole thing weighs in at a hearty just over 8 oz.

Inevitably, someone is going to ask how does it compare to Brown’s across the street. Honestly, I really don’t like to rank and compare individual and very different lobster rolls to each other. Both are fresh cooked and picked in-house, both use a standard bun, both are very good, putting them in the same lobster roll fighting class, for me.  Try them both, see which you like better.  I would absolutely eat both again.

Weighed in at 8.1 oz.

Visited October 2012

Markey's Lobster Pool :) on Urbanspoon