There’s no way around it: lobster is expensive. It can be tough to fork over $15 for a lobster roll, and that $15 starts to look like a steal compared to the $30 rolls around town. This quintessential taste of summer, piled high on a butter-griddled top-split New England-style roll, is best eaten with your hands (and some pickles or chips on the side). If you can’t escape to a New England seafood shack this summer, these lobster rolls — on both sides of the coin — are mighty fine alternatives.
••• SPLURGE •••
Lobster roll at Ed’s Lobster Bar, market price, recently $29
Piled high with claw, tail and knuckle meat, this lobster roll comes with perfectly crispy fries and pickles on the side (the “save” lobster rolls are all a la carte). If you prefer a plate and a place to sit, this is a cozy place to devour the summer’s first lobster roll. Consistently one of the meatiest in the city, Ed’s lobster roll nails the buttered top-split bun too. Those with serious appetites could start the meal with some raw oysters or little neck clams. 222 Lafayette St., 212-343-3236, lobsterbarnyc.com
Lobster roll at Mary’s Fish Camp, market rrice, recently $33
Since 2001, Mary Redding has provided an escape from the West Village with Mary’s Fish Camp. Inspired by the Florida seaside fish restaurants of her youth, this restaurant maximizes the atmosphere component of the ideal lobster roll experience. You could start a meal with tuna tartare or fritto misto before moving on to the signature lobster roll, served with a side of fries. 64 Charles St., 646-486-2185, marysfishcamp.com
••• STEAL •••
Lobster roll at Luke’s Lobster, $15
When you trade a proper table for a stool and a real plate for a paper one, the price of a lobster roll drops significantly. The East Village location is the original Luke’s Lobster, created by a former investment banker (and son of a lobster man) from Maine. The top-split griddled bun is filled with claw and knuckle meat and finished with a swipe of mayo, drizzle of lemon butter, and sprinkle of secret seasoning. It all comes together for a seriously satisfying sandwich. Multiple locations: East Village, FiDi, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, lukeslobster.com
Lobster roll at Red Hook Lobster Pound, $16
The journey to reach the original Red Hook location of the Red Hook Lobster Pound is half the fun. Open the front door, and big lobster tanks full of swimming specimens greet you. The lobster rolls are stuffed with tender claw and knuckle meat (extras like fries, $4.50, are separate). There’s a space next door with picnic tables for tucking into the overflowing rolls. If you aren’t up for a big food pilgrimage, check out the location of its food truck or head to the Manhattan location in the East Village. 284 Van Brunt Street (Red Hook location – There’s also a food truck and East Village location), 718-858-7650, redhooklobster.com
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