Food & Drink

Why yes, this is the first Boston lobster roll crawl ever

Published On 08/08/2013 Published On 08/08/2013
boston thrillist lobster roll crawl

Back in May, we mapped out an epic 11-stop "Boston on the Big Screen" pub crawl of bars that've starred in popular Hub movies. This round, we're eschewing the silver screen for classic crustaceans. One afternoon, seven of the city's best lobster rolls. It's something you'll tell your grandkids about, as they play video games hidden in their sunglasses.

Dave Baldwin

Stop #1: Alive & Kicking
269 Putnam Ave; 617.876.0451
After hopping the Red Line to Central Square and meandering down River St, you'll kick things off in Cambridgeport, where -- after noting how you just don't hit Coast Cafe nearly enough -- you'll happen across another obscure culinary hole-in-the-wall on Putnam Ave: Alive & Kicking Lobsters. Grab a picnic table and a bottle of their signature raspberry lime soda before settling in to enjoy this light-on-the-mayo lobster "sandwich" on buttered scally bread that's been toasted in a convection oven.

Stop #2: Island Creek Oyster Bar
500 Commonwealth Ave; 617.532.5300
Head over the BU bridge and down Comm Ave to Kenmore Square, where you'll be rewarded with the gourmet stylings of Ethel's Lobster Roll, which's mixed with creme fraiche and dill pickles and served on a rosemary roll alongside kettle chips and cole slaw.

Dave Baldwin

Stop #3: Jasper White's Summer Shack
50 Dalton St; 617.867.9955
From here it's only a quick jaunt over to Dalton St, where you can bowl a few games at Kings before getting back to the task at hand: taking down Jasper's chopped cucumber-laced crustacean classic.

Pauli's North End

Stop #4: Pauli's North End
65 Salem St; 857.284.7064
Hop the Green Line to Haymarket (or do yourself a favor and walk off those first three rolls) and hit the North End, where Pauli's peddles New England's largest (and priciest) lobster roll: a 24in, 1.5lb battleship of a sandwich dubbed the U.S.S Lobstitution. Although, assuming you'd like to continue this crawl, perhaps you should opt for their traditional roll in a hot dog bug instead? Just a thought.

Stop #5: Neptune Oyster
63 Salem St; 617.742.3474
While you're in the 'hood, pop around the corner and enjoy quite possibly the Hub's most renowned lobster roll, which's served on a toasted brioche one of two ways: cold with mayo or hot with butter.

James Hook & Company

Stop #6: James Hook & Co.
15-17 Northern Ave; 617.423.5501
Meander along the waterfront until you run into this family-run-since-1925-just-don't-ask-about-the-sketchy-fire-a-few-years-back seafood stand on the Ft. Point Channel, where, despite the fact that they're shipping over 50,000lbs of lobster daily, they still have the time to whip up their simply dressed (a little mayo, a little celery) but nonetheless award-winning rolls.

Stop #7: Yankee Lobster Fish Market
300 Northern Ave; 617.345.9799
If somehow you're not currently throwing up into the Channel, roll down Northern Ave into the Seaport to your final stop, another long-standing, family-run landmark where you can enjoy a classic split-top lobster roll with fries and slaw -- or maybe mix it up with a lobster club sammie -- while soaking up some sun on their patio.

And now that you've had seven lobster rolls, perhaps you should go home. Immediately. You've had quite the day.

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1. Island Creek Oyster Bar 500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215 (Fenway Kenmore)

Everything about Island Creek’s modern, simple decor and comfortable atmosphere makes you think of an upscale coastal shanty, not to mention the shellfish is impeccable. The raw bar is the main draw here as some of the oysters are sourced directly from its farm of the same name in Duxbury Bay, but you can also get other local New England staples like, Chatham, Wellfleet, and Pearly White. You’ll find daily changing fresh fish options like, Maine Grilled Salmon with mustard spaetzle and apple purée, Falmouth Bluefish with delicata squash and chorizo, and Fried Ipswich Clams, plus brunch fare like, Salt Cod Cakes with house-made baked beans, a fried egg, and bacon.

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2. Summer Shack 50 Dalton St, Boston, MA 02215 (Back Bay)

This year-round seafoodery's got one of the Hub's best lobster rolls, plus chowder, oysters, and every other shellfish-y dish you can imagine.

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3. Pauli's Northend 65 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113 (North End)

This sandwich shop is serving up the biggest lobster roll you've ever seen, a 24oz monster that'll set you back $50 -- but be oh so worth it.

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4. Neptune Oyster 63 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113 (North End)

North End’s Neptune Oyster is one of the city’s most popular seafood counters, where bivalves are king and shucked front-and-center. The menu is classically New England with Italian influence, with dishes like an award-winning lobster roll (served cold with mayo or hot with butter), North End Cioppino, lobster spaghettini, and fried Ipswich clams on offer. Neptune draws hour-long waits of seafood-craving hopefuls to its Salem St. storefront, so be prepared to spend the afternoon traversing the neighborhood while you wait for your coveted seat at the marble bar.

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5. James Hook & Co. 15 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210 (Financial Dist Waterfront)

You can buy raw, fresh fish from this seafood purveyor, but you should definitely stick around for some of their cooked offerings, including the can't-miss lobster roll.

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6. Yankee Lobster Co. 300 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210 (Financial Dist Waterfront)

This market sells fresh fish, yes, but don't forgo its cooked food menu, which offers up the likes of stuffed scallops, fish and chips, and lobster rolls.

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7. Alive & Kicking Lobsters 269 Putnam Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

This locals-only, no-frills seafood market in Cambridge is known for its lobster sandwich (not roll), as well as its steamers, chowders, and daily fresh-caught fish. Instead of a split-top bun, Alive & Kicking packs its lobster salad -- a simple mixture dressed in light mayo, salt, and pepper -- between two pieces of Italian scali bread.

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