NEW BEDFORD – Summer isn’t complete unless you’ve eaten at least one overly filled, delicious lobster bun. Whether you enjoy it hot or cold, smothered in mayo or soaked in butter, Massachusetts is the founder of this delicacy.
In the 1980s, Boston, Massachusetts, chef Jasper White was credited with creating the lobster roll, according to LobsterAnywhere.com. White’s “dressed” sandwich was a landmark in his waterfront restaurant, Jasper’s. (Although fish stalls on Route 1 in Maine began offering similar menus, dating back to the 1950s.)
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However, it wasn’t until 1996 when New York-born Rebecca Charles served lobster rolls at her Pearl Oyster Bar restaurant when the crustacean delicacy went viral. Their lobster bun preparation consisted of steamed lobster meat stacked in a butter-grilled Pepperidge Farm bun, then lightly coated in Hellmann’s mayonnaise and garnished with chives.
It seems that most restaurants have their own take on how to perfectly serve lobster meat on a bun. Regardless, here are eight SouthCoast “lobstars” worth checking out this summer.
Bay Surf & Turf (New Bedford)
Owned by a mother-and-son team, Deborah and Jesse DeSouza opened Cove Surf & Turf on Cove Road by Hurricane Barrier and across from Dairy Maid in June 2014. The restaurant offers food, takeaway, and delivery services, and offers fresh dishes from salmon, shrimp, and oysters to New England clams and steamers, fried clams, scallops, and fish and chips.
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The twin lobster rolls are two quarter-pounders of fresh, whole lobster meat, tossed in celery and mayonnaise with lettuce, wrapped in buttery New England-style grilled rolls with a cucumber and house lettuce served as a side dish. Guests can also order the Lobster Rolls Family Tray, which features 10 quarter pounders of fresh lobster meat salad on buttery, grilled dog buns.
A second choice for lobster lovers: The lobster salad and mayo wrap is half a pound of fresh, whole lobster meat rolled in celery and mayo, in a tomato and basil tortilla with a crispy iceberg, spring mix, and tomato slices.
The galley grill at White’s of Westport (Westport)
The Galley Grille says they serve the freshest seafood caught in their casual restaurant with nightly entertainment. Owner Richard LaFrance says his guests come first. The 80-seat restaurant has been open for over 65 years and has a large custom bar, large lounge area, banquet seating and modern floor tiles.
The lobster roll has celery, a hint of lemon and mayonnaise and is served on a buttered, toasted roll with french fries, coleslaw and pickles.
A second choice for lobster lovers: The seafood casserole features lobster, shrimp, scrod, and scallops with seasoned breadcrumbs.
The Black Whale (New Bedford)
The Black Whale was created by New Bedford locals to honor the seafaring heritage and world famous fishing port. Owner Steve Silverstein comes from a family that has been part of the New Bedford Business Industry for over 100 years.
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Silverstein grew up in New Bedford and worked as a scallop during the summer while developing a deep love for the whaling town’s rich maritime history – particularly the fishing industry. The black whale lobster roll is served on a buttered brioche with french fries and cole slaw. The sandwich can traditionally be served with celery, chives, lemon and mayo or warmed in brown butter.
A second choice for lobster lovers: The lobster sushi roll consists of lobster meat with cucumber, avocado, wasabi yuzu and tobiko.
The vertebrae (Westport)
For Season 21, The Back Eddy restaurant’s mission is to promote locally produced produce, in keeping with Westport’s rich heritage of food-growing, growing and catching workers.
Located on the Westport River, owner Sal Liotta recently added the lobster roll to the menu after the lobster was banned because it began a “distinctive culinary identity that began with Liotta’s original partner, award-winning James Beard chef Chris Schlesinger,” said an earlier Standard Times interview.
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Called “handpicked” lobster bun, it is lobster meat with a hint of mayo, served on a buttered brioche bun with hand-cut french fries, coleslaw and pickles.
A second choice for lobster lovers: Guests can order a pound and a half naked lobster served with real butter.
Quahog Republic Whaler’s Tavern (New Bedford)
Located on North Water Street, entering this warm and cozy place up the street from the harbor and behind the New Bedford Whaling Museum definitely feels like a whaling tavern.
Established in Falmouth in 2008, New Bedford opened in June 2015. Owners Erik Bevans and Tom Hughes grew up enjoying Cape Cod fishing, boating, and digging for quahogs. The “Monsta Lobster Roll” is a pile of tail and claw meat, lightly arranged in mayo and served on a buttered, roasted brioche roll with lettuce, warm butter and Parmesan truffle fries.
A second choice for lobster lovers: The grilled cheese “Lobsta” is ¼ pound warm, tender lobster meat on white or wheat bread with Fontina, Swiss and Cheddar cheese.
Tipsy Toboggan (Fall River)
Tipsy Toboggan opened in 2012 and remains a fan favorite in Fall River. The restaurant has elkhorn chandeliers, multiple fireplaces including outdoor copper fireballs, dining rooms on the first and second floors … and yes, there are sleds.
The outdoor area – also known as the “magical beer garden” – is surrounded by large rocks, flowers, fountains and other sophisticated structures.
Owner Karl Pelletier, a native of Fall River, took ownership after buying it from his brother-in-law, Mike Lund. Pelletier has a long history in the hospitality industry, having previously worked at Darden, Oliver Garden and Legal Seafood.
The Toboggan Lobster Roll can be poached in melted butter or served with a citrus aioli with romaine on a buttered brioche.
A second choice for lobster lovers: The fried lobster rice consists of pieces of lobster with white rice, sugar peas, asparagus, bean sprouts, egg, ginger soy sauce, spring onion curls and chilli threads.
The airport grill (New Bedford)
At New Bedford Regional Airport, guests can enjoy a lobster roll while the planes take off right on the runway at The Airport Grille. Owners Troy and Ryan Demelo, who also own the End Zone Sports Pub on Coggeshall Street, have a “modern big city” atmosphere in their restaurant.
The award-winning lobster roll is served on a toasted brioche roll with optionally pulled butter or served cold with lemon and garlic aioli.
A second choice for lobster lovers: The Litl Rhody Lobster Ravioli is an entrée with tender pieces of lobster and asparagus in a light cream sauce.
Merrill’s on the Waterfront (New Bedford)
Also known as New Bedford’s Lobstah Roll, the harbor restaurant offers guests a front row seat to the whaling town’s spectacular fishing port. In a previous Standard Times interview, co-owner Charles Fellows said, “When you look out the window, you feel like you’re on a boat. You’re sitting right on the water. “
Merrill’s chunky tail and claw meat, used in the “Lobstah” roll, is served with salad on a buttered brioche roll and served with spiced French fries.
A second choice for lobster lovers: The lobster quesadilla is packed with lobster meat, cheddar jack cheese, red onions, corn salsa, and citrus aioli – and perfect to share with others or enjoy on your own.
Standard Times representative, Seth Chitwood, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard Times today.