"It's not much but it's ours"

Friday, July 23, 2010


Road Trip USA 2010 has begun. In the next month I will head off on a trip which will take in New York, Chicago, St Louis, Louisville, Pigeon's Forge, Little Rock, Montgomery, Memphis, Nashiville and New Orleans. But, where else was there to start my exploration of the US other than the Big Apple?

For the last few days I have been in NYC. I am here primarily for work and have not had much, if any, time to go in search of great things to eat.

Today, however, I had a day off and decided to treat myself to lunch and cross off my list one America's true classic dishes, the lobster roll.

Lobster has an interesting history in the US. Like Oysters in the UK, it was often considered a poor man's food. It was fed to people in alms houses, children in orphanages and there are even records of prisoners rioting in protest at having to eat lobster three times a week. How times have changed and the lobster is now considered one of America's true luxury ingredients carrying with it a price that can make the eyes water.

The lobster roll is an East Coast thing and particularly associated, I am told with the state of Maine. I have tried a few in my time, but never very good ones. So, when I had a bit of time this afternoon, I ducked into Pearl Oyster Bar on Cornelia Street for what is considered one of the best lobster rolls in the city.

POB makes a very traditional lobster roll, which comprises of little more that a toasted split hot dog bun filled with big chunks of lobster claw and tail meat wrapped in plenty of mayonnaise and sprinkled with chopped chives. That, apart from a squeeze of lemon juice and a crack of pepper, appears to be about it. It is served with a couple of salad leaves and a mound of crisp, piping hot shoestring fries which remained largely untouched given the richness of the lobster roll.

The elevated culinary status of lobster means that this sandwich is no longer a cheap option and my bill with tip and a drink came to $35. But, it was worth it for a gloriously indulgent lunchtime treat.

If the rest of the road trip lives up to this beginning, I have some good eating ahead. Watch this space.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last time I was in N.Y.C. my cousin took me to the fairway supermarket (stay with me!) in Red Hook, Brooklyn. She told me about the lobster roll that goes for $6, not expecting much i ordered one from the canteen and couldn't believe the huge chunks of lobster doused in clarified butter in the perfectly steamed hot dog roll, lush! Best six dollars I have ever spent!


Ben the Chef


Friday, July 23, 2010 9:36:00 pm  
Blogger Patrick said...

Nice short-sock coordination on the man in the first picture.

Friday, July 23, 2010 9:42:00 pm  
Blogger Chris Pople said...

In Newfoundland (Canada), the McDonalds restaurants sell a McLobster roll. I'm not joking. It's CN$6 and is perfectly nice.

Friday, July 23, 2010 9:57:00 pm  
Anonymous Krista said...

When will you be in Chicago? I am moving back there on August 6th. I am still researching the scene but if our schedules overlap and if there's anywhere you want to go that you need a willing victim for, please do let me know!

Sunday, July 25, 2010 5:10:00 pm  
Anonymous Helen B said...

You have have HAVE to try them in Maine. Let me know if you're headed that way ever and I can recommend some brilliant ones which'll set you back considerably less than $35...the best of all being a ropey caravan down east called Bagaduce Lunch. From memory, it was $9 including a can of Moxie, the most ridiculous view, and seemingly an entire 1.25lbs lobster crammed inside in all its sweet, buttery glory.

Sunday, July 25, 2010 5:59:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

@Helen B. I do plan to head there, but perhaps not until next year.

@Krista I think we will just miss each other. I am leaving on the 2nd for the road trip

Sunday, July 25, 2010 9:56:00 pm  
Anonymous Helen B said...

Coolio. Well try to combine it with this then:

The Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland. Hilarious. Cod carrying competitions, lobster-dressed baby racing, fat kids in speed eating lobster of all though, they cook 20,000lbs of lobster dinners over the duration. By the end of each day, the water's almost pure lobster bisque and therefore infuses all the meat...heaven in a bib.

Monday, July 26, 2010 10:43:00 am  
Anonymous camgurl said...

Yes, Maine is the place for lobster rolls... But in NYC it is Ed's Lobster Shack! Try it, although there's so much amazing food in NYC I would not recommend eating the same thing twice! If you haven't already left, go to the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park for the best hotdog and milkshake lunch of your life. It's worth (very long) queue.

-c (a diehard NY foodie relocated to london)

Monday, July 26, 2010 1:53:00 pm  
Anonymous Andy K said...

Purple Pig's worth a trip in Chicago...

And Cochon in New Orleans...

Obviously you won't be short of choices in either place though!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 10:14:00 am  
Anonymous Marc V. said...

No visit to Boston/New England????

Friday, July 30, 2010 8:26:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That lobster roll has entirely too much mayo! The true Maine lobster roll has lobster with just a kiss of mayo, or none at all if served with drawn butter as at Red's Eats in Wiscasset. Really, it's wrong to eat a lobster roll outside of New England, and especially in NYC for $35. Safe travels!

Monday, August 16, 2010 2:14:00 pm  
Anonymous Sassy Fork said...

I want a lobster roll!!!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010 1:30:00 am  

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