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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

J.T. Farnham’s – Essex, Massachussets

J T Farnham lobster roll

This is the perfect place to take in leaf peeping season while enjoying a tasty lobster roll.  This house-like establishment is situated overlooking a salt marsh, parking is a little sparse, but not a concern in the afternoon in October.  I love that instead of being open three months a year, as many lobster roll spots are, this is only closed three months a year.  Closes end of November and reopens the first week of March.

Walking into J.T. Farnhams feels like walking into your great aunt’s country house kitchen, circa 1950, in a very good way.  The kitchen floor is large checkerboard tile, the fairly large dining room is furnished with pine wood booths and the whole room has wrap around windows to take in the view, very cozy warm, friendly vibe.  The ladies working there are just sweet as pie, and the serve beer and wine, always a plus in my book.  As I ordered, I found out that they do indeed cook and pick the lobster meat fresh daily, and, upon ordering my butter side, I also found that you can order the lobster any way you like because it is mixed to order, love it.

The lobster roll did not disappoint, it was just as tasty tail and claw meat as I expected, generous portion, with a side of great onion rings.  Establishments in this area are known for their fried whole belly clams.  Since I’m not a fan of much fried, the onion rings were as close as I’m getting to the fame.  The lobster meat was more chopped than I usually go for, but it worked, minimal mayo, but remember, you can order it your way.  The bun was buttery grilled standard split bun.  To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the bread.  The place just had such a family, homey vibe, I guess I was expecting fresh baked bread.  I know, my fault, it’s so rare an occurrence that I in no way take off points for the standard bun, but I do add points on the rare, rare day that I encounter one.  So, overall, great place, great schedule, beautiful view, fantastic, customizable lobster roll.  Top notch spot, I’ll be back for sure.

Weighed in at 7.1 oz.

Visited October 2012

J.T. Farnham's on Urbanspoon

The Clam Box – Ipswich, Massachusetts

Clam Box lobster roll

When a place is world famous for having the best of one dish, as Clam Box is for their fried, whole belly clams, chances are excellent that is the thing to order.  Such is the case with Clam Box, at least I assume.  I don’t actually eat much in the fry food group and haven’t developed a taste for the whole belly, so I can’t personally vouch for them.  But, judging by the line I’ve seen multiple times here, they must be good.  I’m glad I found a day with a minimal line, because if I had waited for this lobster roll for over an hour, I think I may have felt a bit like the woman in front of me at Red’s who ordered a grilled cheese…stupid.

I knew when I got to the window to place my order and asked my questions that I was glad I hadn’t been in line too long.  The lobster meat is not cooked or picked there and yes, it is previously frozen lobster meat…  I was still holding out hope that it would be the good kind of frozen meat.  I mean, frozen meat, to me, has never been as good as fresh, but it can be decent.  For $18, ($3-$5 more than I’d paid for fresh picked that very same day) I expected at least decent.  As I took it into their cozy, mid-century, not modern, but cute cape cod, knobby pine vibe dining room, I still thought it sure looked like a good lobster roll.  The standard bun was buttery grilled, but one bite told me, this lobster roll was not for me.  What was curious was that the meat actually had lots of large chunks of tail meat in addition to claw, highly unusual with frozen meat.  In fact, I can’t remember ever encountering frozen tail meat in a lobster roll, this is a first.  Unfortunately, this tail meat seemed to take on an unpleasant, grainy texture, and none of it had much flavor at all.  It had minimal mayo, but in this case, I think more may have helped.

On the up side the onion rings were tasty.  Apparently, they change their frying oil at least once during the day, impressive.  The clam chowder was truly amazing, not to be missed.  As I should have expected, order what they are known for, fresh clams and fried food, skip the lobster roll.

Weighed in at 7.6 oz.

Visited October 2012

Clam Box of Ipswich (Reopens Feb. 16) on Urbanspoon

Nunan’s Lobster Hut – Cape Porpoise, Maine

Waitress service, menus, silverware, booze service, Nunan’s is very high end for a lobster shack.  Clam chowder, maybe one of the best we’ve had, Ken says best.  Roll overall fine, a little tough, a bit over mayoy.  Not enough tail for my taste.  Roll your average white bread roll, grilled.  Paprika sprinkle.  Ginormous clams in the chowder, I would totally come back for this stuff.  Probably wouldn’t return for the roll.  Good, but not memorable.  Restroom VERY clean, and it was almost closing time, always a good sign. 

Nunan's Lobster Hut Cape Porpoise, Maine

Visited July 2010

Nunan's Lobster Hut on Urbanspoon