The most highbrow sandwich ever to hit the East Coast, the lobster roll is the summery indulgence you deserve during the hottest time of year. NYC’s seafood shacks and spendy restaurants have decent takes, but an excellent lobster roll is harder to find. The lobster must be substantial, never shredded like canned tuna. The mayo should be gentle (this isn’t chicken salad!). And the bun needs to be hefty enough to serve as a proper shellfish vehicle without competing with its raison d’être. Achieving each humble but necessary requirement, these are the five best lobster rolls in NYC.
Greenpoint Lodged into a narrow space a few blocks from the G train, slipping into this sustainable seafood market, oyster bar and restaurant transports you to a nautical realm, which, remarkably, doesn’t smell at all like fish (the sign of a good seafood spot). The lobster roll here (plated with pickles, fries and a citrusy slaw) is generous enough to share, but you won’t want to, with succulent hand-picked chunks of lobster meat, diced celery for crunch and a light dressing of mayo, lemon and tarragon for some zing, all tucked into a split brioche bun.
Red Hook For the mayo-phobic, Red Hook’s Connecticut style lobster roll is an essential lobster treat. Served warm, claw and knuckle meat is poached in butter and lemon and cushioned on a roll garnished with paprika and scallions, offering all the indulgence of a lobster dinner, without any of the tricky de-shelling work. Other unusual renditions include a Tuscan-style lobster roll with meat tossed in basil vinaigrette, and a crisp fried lobster roll, garnished with a generous squirt of kewpie mayo.
Multiple locations Luke’s whips up a refined version of the beachside meal, lightly dressing hunks of meat in slightly seasoned mayo and piling the bright red claws into a soft hot dog bun. Upgrade to a jumbo size.
West Village Known as the raw bar that re-launched Manhattan’s obsession with uncooked seafood, this East Coast seafood spot in the heart of the ritzy village caters to a weekday crowd who wishes they were in the Hamptons, and weekend groups happily in the city, splurging a little on seafood for brunch. The lobster roll here is more mayo-forward, with the creamy stuff coating roughly an entire lobster spiked with some celery shards and scooped into a plush white bread hot dog bun. Though simple, the high quality lobster stands out.
Crown Heights & Fort Greene Mash-up pastries had their moment, but it’s time for New York to obsess about another obvious combo that melds two excellent dishes into one: The Clobster Roll. Half lobster meat, half crab, this hot sandwich marries the richness, sweetness and saltiness of both meats with a generous dose of melted garlic butter and a cozy home in a potato bun.
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