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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

The Lobster Shack at Two Lights – Cape Elizabeth, Maine

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two lights lobster roll

This is one of the more famous lobster rolls in the state of Maine.  In fact, when people find out I eat a lot of lobster rolls and write about it, I would say I get asked if I’ve tried Two Lights most often, more so than even Red’s.  When I arrived at this location, it was immediately clear why this place is famous and I suspected it wasn’t for the actual lobster roll.  This is truly THE most stunning view in the state of Maine that is accompanied by a lobster roll.  Sure there are other gorgeous views, Five Islands, Stewman’s and Dolphin immediately come to mind.  Those examples may not be the best, because Five Islands is a rare convergence of a stunning Maine view and the best of the best lobster roll.  Dolphin has a very good lobster roll and Stewman’s is decent.  But, I guess a red flag always goes up for me when a place I’ve heard has a great lobster roll has an amazing view.  People tend to color their opinions with the entire experience, which, I suppose is normal.  I mean when you’re in Maine wanting a lobster roll, ideally it should be the whole ocean/lobster experience.  I get the opposite phenomenon when I pull up to a lobster roll place and it’s a total dump with a view of a highway and I’ve heard it has a great lobster roll.  In those cases, I get super excited because I know this lobster roll is likely to be a real life changing eating experience because the lobster roll is biased in no way by the ambiance.  Fisherman’s Grill, I’m looking at you.

Two Lights lobster roll did indeed live up to my expectations or I should say, lived down to.  I had seen photos of this roll and couldn’t for the life of me imagine how what was in the picture could possibly be good, let alone great.  Every picture I had seen involved what looked like a hot dog bun, half of which was covered with a giant blob of mayo and the other half with a pickle slice.  Yuck, I couldn’t imagine how that could be right, there must be some amazing stuff under that, but it looked like only enough lobster to barely show through.  I can say one thing for them, they are consistent.  What I received looked exactly like every picture I had seen.  I found the mayo blob much more confusing once I actually had it in hand.  The pickle can easily be removed without leaving much pickle residue.  But, what are you really supposed to do with that blob?  If you really like mayo, do you just smear it across the top?  You certainly can’t toss it so every piece is equally coated, as is ideal.  It seems like trying to spread it around would just make for a huge mess and cause the lobster to fall out.  I chose to scrape it off, but this had its challenges too.  These are pieces of lobster, so even scraping it off leaves a rather significant amount still caught in the pieces.  The only way I could think to remedy this would be to remove and wipe off every piece with a napkin of knife, but that seemed unsanitary.  So, I proceeded to eat a half completely dry lobster roll and a half mayo chunky lobster roll, just weird.  Actually, to be truthful, after trying the disappointing combo of dry and mayo, I went to the counter and got a cup of butter to dip the whole thing into.  Everything is much better that way.  The lobster amount in this roll is rather skimpy and on the low-end of average lobster roll weight after I removed the mayo blob and pickle for weighing.  The meat is fresh picked every day here and they include both tail and claw, which is always good, and it is tasty but they sure don’t give you much of it.  I have a system of moving all of the lobster meat down the bread so that I always get an ideal meat:bread ratio in each bite, regardless of the overall ratio.  Using this system, I had a full half of the empty bun left over.  The bread is your standard split top bun, the grilling technique leaves some butter and crunch to be desired.

I wouldn’t say this is a bad lobster roll, just disappointing because it is so far away from matching the beyond stunning view that accompanies it.  They do home-baked desserts here.  I think I would get that when I return.    And yes, I will absolutely return.  This truly is exactly what you picture when you think of the Maine coast.  The cute, cozy, creatively decorated, very comfortable on a cold day, dining room has wrap around windows overlooking the ocean.  The picnic table area is right on the ocean on a flat area with evenly spaced, very clean, bright red picnic tables interspersed with a very comfortable amount of trash cans to keep it clean.  This is in every way, a top-notch quintessentially Maine, seaside seafood shack.  Clean, efficient, well maintained, bright, cheery outside, cozy inside and all this is on one of the best spots of real estate where lobster is served on the Maine coast.  I really can’t say enough good things about the actual location and the restaurant itself.  Except the lobster roll, it’s the only thing that just doesn’t measure up.

Weighed in at 5 oz.

Two Lights website

Visited April 2012

Lobster Shack on Urbanspoon

 

The Clam Shack – Kennebunk, Maine

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

lobster coveredited

Roy Moore Lobster Co. – Rockport, Massachusetts

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

lobster coveredited