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Ford’s Lobster – Noank, Connecticut

Ford's lobster roll

I felt like I had really reached some inner circle of lobster roll status when some folks who saw my Lobster Gal interview on NBC 30 passed on this tip to me.  I had literally never, ever heard of Ford’s Lobster in Noank, not on any boards, searches, articles, nothing.  As you may know, I’m not really a fan of the popular Connecticut lobster roll spots, also in Noank, Abbott’s and Costello’s, so to hear that there was another lobster roll establishment in Noank for those in the know came as quite a surprise.  Even writing about it now feels a bit like letting the cat out of the bag and sharing some sort of lobster roll state secret.  Much as I would love to keep this spot all to myself and those few in the inner circle, this venue deserves to be known, much more widely.

It’s not easy to find.  Frankly, it wasn’t even easy to find the address on a google search, all lending more to the exciting, clandestine nature of Ford’s.  Once my GPS finally figured things out and led us down a tiny, windy road to the water, there it was.  Nothing more than a quiet lobster sign with the word Ford’s marked that you had arrived.  There is was, down by the water, just two little shacks covered in lobster buoys and a deck overlooking one of the prettiest views with lobster in Connecticut.

The menu is fairly basic, at this BYOB establishment, but they were clearly getting quite creative and much more high-end than a shack with their specials list.  Then I saw it on the menu, the lobster roll I dream about and often put together myself, the lobster bisque option in addition to a hot with butter and a cold with mayo.  We decided to go with one cold and one bisque, it was a warm day, and frankly, Abbots had recently turned me off from the hot version.  I asked and the meat here is indeed fresh picked, not at Ford’s, but at another local facility every morning.  She did say that the lobster was Canadian, not Connecticut lobster.  I respected and thanked her for her thorough honesty on the lobster source, that’s very important info to me and not something every place is willing to part with.  Honestly, ideally, I always prefer local lobster, not Maine, but whatever state we are in when eating the lobster roll.  I think it lends to the authenticity, freshness and it always feels good to be a lobster locavore.  But, I will take fresh picked lobster however I can get it as it is not very common anywhere and less often in Connecticut.

I actually forgot to ask about the previously frozen, fresh picked status before ordering, but once I bit into this one, I knew immediately, that this was not previously frozen.  The fresh, briny, tender flavor was there and if you happen to have just eaten a suspected frozen, then you eat a definitely fresh picked, the difference is obvious.  Ford’s uses large chunks of tail and claw, tender, the cold version is tossed in minimal mayo and has celery chunks, which I could do without and mostly picked out, but I didn’t really mind because the meat was so tasty.  They also seem to mix to order, so I’m sure you could request sans celery.  The bisque version is warm and has the very thick bisque poured on top.  I would really prefer it to be tossed in the bisque.  The large blob on top makes it a bit unwieldy and the bisque doesn’t move into the whole sandwich, equally distributing itself in each bite.  The bun is not your standard top split bun, it’s more of a hearty hot dog bun, somewhat larger and more dense.  The flavor is similar to the standard white bun, but it has a bit more flavor, freshness and I suspect possibly bakery fresh.  The bun is not toasted or grilled.  I happen to like it this way, but I know it’s not for everybody.  They are so nice here though, I suspect they would grill it for you if you asked. The Ford’s lobster roll is certainly among the best in Connecticut, fresh hearty meat served on fresh bread on the ocean, doesn’t get much better.  They also had something curious on the menu called a lobster bomb.  I assumed this just a jumbo lobster roll, but our waitress explained that it was kind of a hollowed out bread bowl, filled with lobster.  Wow, this is definitely something I need to try out.

As it happens and I actually had trouble believing at first, Ford’s is open year round, Wednesday – Saturday.  I say hard to believe, because I’m still not sure where they put people inside, but sure enough on their Facebook page, lots of specials and pictures going on through the winter.  I fully intend to make my way down there this winter and report back.  I’m thinking a hot lobster roll in the winter, on the ocean, would be just heaven.

Weighed in at 6.3 oz. for the bisque and 6.1 oz. for the cold lobster roll.

Ford’s Lobster Facebook Page

Visited September 2012

Ford's Lobster on Urbanspoon

Dolphin Marina and Restaurant – Harpswell, Maine

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

lobster coveredited


Erica’s Seafood – Harpswell, Maine

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

lobster coveredited

Lobster Pool – Rockport, Massachusetts

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

lobster coveredited

The Beach Plum – North Hampton, New Hampshire

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Lobster Roll The Beach Plum North Hampton, New Hampshire

This is the third time I’ve been to this spot, but I didn’t get around to writing about the last time so I’ll fold that in too.  I kind of love this place.  It doesn’t serve the best lobster roll, it does serve the biggest, and it is really quite good despite the fact that they use a mix if fresh and frozen claw meat.  Found out that factoid thanks to Ken’s cousin, Zach, who lives in Portsmouth and is easily the most valuable lobster gal team member I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating lobster rolls with.  He asks all the questions, ones I didn’t even think of, and even finds out who is the right person to talk to about these things.  He even found out that the get the lobster meat from Ipswich, MA.  We have only ever had lobster rolls with him at Beach Plum, but I really could learn a lot if I could get him to join the lobster roll quest more often.  He even got me a behind the scenes tour of the kitchen where they showed me how they actually weigh out each lobster roll.  10 oz isn’t just a guestimate here.  The Portsmouth location, where Zach and the fam joined us is open year round and really has more of a super crowded McDonalds vibe to it.  You get your food, then be prepared to fight to the death to get a table or work out a deal with a table that looks almost finished as we ended up doing after I got cut off at the pass three times by stroller weilding moms.  I like the vibe at the North Hampton location much better.  It’s a takeout window and I guess the table fighting is roughly the same, but here you can take your food across the street and sit at the lovely beach.  I really do like this lobster roll.  The standard bun is very buttery grilled and filled like a mountain with cool, lightly mayoed fresh and frozen mix of claw and knuckle meat.  I know, as with anything, there must be different levels of quality with frozen lobster meat.  Or, maybe they do something special to it, but it is quite good and full of flavor in a way that most bland, watery frozen meat doesn’t.  Not so with the hot lobster roll they serve at the Portland location in the winter.  I was picturing a hot, buttery version of their cold lobster roll, not so.  The hot version is just whole claws, clearly frozen, spongies and all, plopped on the bun.  It’s just not very good, skip this one until they start taking the exact same meat in the cold version, warm it up, not sautee or cook it, then toss it with melted butter somewhat cooled so that it sticks to the meat and doesn’t just soak into the bun.  Sorry, just had to share that fantasy, it could be so great.  Or a version with their lobster bisque could be fantastic too.  You should order the lobster biquue, very good and seems to have an amount of meat comparable to their lobster rolls.  Ok, enough sharing how people should run their obviously successful business.  The have a great product, the cold lobster roll, don’t miss it.  Worth noting, their ice cream is also worth saving plenty of room for.  They have tons of creative flavors, huge servings, as is their trademark, very tasty stuff.  Ideally, I love their pumpkin ice cream with butterscotch topping but, it is seasonal and the banana and the blueberry are also winners.  Yes, I love me some fruit flavored ice cream to top off my lobster rolls.

P.S. – For some strange reason, Ken decided to order the foot long lobster roll, which is really two regular sized rolls, which he didn’t finish, obviously.  So, we wrapped it up, put it and the cooler to take home.  I must say, the lobster roll was also very delish the next day.  Of course, the bread wasn’t crisp like the day before, but not dried out or anything, still very good.  So, order the foot long and take one home.  Nothing beats having another lobster roll at home the day after a trip.

These photos are from the North Hampton location in May 2012.  Lobster roll weighed in at 10.9 oz.  Photos from the Portsmouth location in separate post.

Visited March and May 2012

The Beach Plum on Urbanspoon