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The Best Lobster Roll Joints

Here’s our list of favorite places for lobster rolls in Maine (where it all began), Boston, New York and LA, for those times when you can’t make a lobster roll yourself.


Maine


Five Islands Lobster Co.

1447 Five Islands Rd., Georgetown | 207.371.2990


Five Islands picks their lobster meat daily from local waters, adds a kiss of mayo, and serves it on a buttered, grilled bun lined with Romaine. Eat on one of the green picnic tables overlooking the water for full effect.

Photo: Lisa Corson/The Wall Street Journal

Red’s Eats

41 Water St., Wiscasset | 207.882.6128


Get in line (and be prepared to wait) for the very worth it rolls at this roadside shack. Each one boasts a whole lobster’s worth of meat that’s so fresh and sweet they leave it unadorned (though they provide mayo and butter if you’d like to dress it up).

Photo: roadfood.com


The Clam Shack

2 Western Ave., Kennebunk | 207.967.2560


This little stand on the bridge connecting Kennebunk and Kennebunkport bakes round, airy buns they’ve been using since the ’70s—plus, they cook their lobsters in fresh ocean water.

Photo: Robert Dennis


Boston


James Hook & Co.

15-17 Northern Ave. | 617.423.5501


James Hook on the Boston waterfront serves one of the best, no-nonsense lobster rolls in town, with claw and knuckle meat on a cold split-top bun. Picnic tables and tanks complete the super casual vibe that keeps the lobster fresh and prices low.

Photo: bridgeandtunnelclub.com


Neptune Oyster

63 Salem St. | 617.742.3474


Hot with butter or cold with mayo on a brioche bun, Neptune is the place in Boston for a fancy lobster roll.

Photo: Penny Cherubino


Yankee Lobster Co.

300 Northern Ave. | 617.345.9799


Having been around for over 50 years, this shack in the fish market knows how to make a lobster roll: Traditional with thick chunks of meat and just a smear of mayo on a lightly toasted split-top bun.


New York


Pearl Oyster Bar

18 Cornelia St. | 212.691.8211


The lobster roll that was ahead of the trend in New York many years ago is still one of our favorites, made with a generous amount of fresh lobster salad (Hellmann’s mayo, lemon, and chives) on a crunchy griddled bun.

Photo: Paul Wagtouicz


Grand Central Oyster Bar

89 E. 42nd St. | 212.490.6650


This very cool, old-New York restaurant (almost 100-years-running—complete with vaulted ceilings, myriad oyster varieties, and a great lobster roll—is located on the lower level of Grand Central Station. Grab one at the counter before hopping on your train or head to the cavernous saloon and stay a while.

Photo: loco2.com


Red Hook Lobster Pound

284 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn | 718.858.7650


Specializing in fresh-catch lobster, these guys offer an awesome, no-frills roll in two styles: Maine (cold with mayo) or Connecticut (warm with butter). If you can’t get to Red Hook, they now have trucks that travel around the city.


Ed’s Lobster Bar

222 Lafayette St. | 212.343.3236


This casual New England style lobster bar serves the dressiest of rolls, which is notoriously similar to Pearl’s—big chunks of lobster, lightly seasoned, and then tossed with the perfect amount of mayo on a soft, buttery brioche bun.


Mary’s Fish Camp

64 Charles St. | 646.486.2185


The simple recipe (much like Patrick’s perfect roll) includes fresh hunks of lobster, Hellmann’s mayo, super-fine celery, and a whisper of scallion on a Pepperidge Farm bun. Delish.


Luke’s Lobster

93 E. 7th St. | 212.387.8487


Large chunks of claw and knuckle meat are mixed with just a touch of mayo at Luke’s, which now has outposts all around town. The casual environs, counter seating, and wholesale connections (Luke’s dad is in the Maine lobster biz) keep prices around $10 cheaper than the restaurant competition. They also offer half rolls, if you’re just up for a snack.


Los Angeles


Son of a Gun

8370 W. 3rd St. | 323.782.9033


The menu changes daily here, but one thing that stays the same is their amazing (mini) lobster roll, made with celery and lemon aioli, and topped with crispy chips and chives on a buttery brioche bun. It’s hands down one of the best rolls we’ve ever eaten.

Photo: Scout Magazine


Lobsta Truck

Location Varies


Inspired by a trip to New England, these guys brought the East Coast back to LA…in a truck. The rolls are simple and delicious and served with all the regional trimmings (Cape Cod chips, clam chowder, etc.).


Water Grill

544 S. Grand Ave.


Downtown’s bustling seafood bistro serves a true Connecticut-style lobster roll, warm and oozing with butter (no mayo) on a warm split brioche bun, served with crispy fries and pickles. Enjoy at the beautiful marble bar, overlooking the open kitchen or next to the impressive raw bar.

Photo: gastronomyblog.com

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