Who has the best lobster rolls in the region? The Day's readers decide.
Never mind popsicles: lobster rolls are the food of the summer in southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island. We seafood fans take our choices seriously, and you can get in some spirited discussions over which restaurant or lobster joint serves the best one.
The Day has stepped up to ask readers to weigh in on their faves. We started out with a bracket of 64 venues. Out of all the votes cast, four restaurants attracted the biggest totals.
The lobster lovers among you probably aren’t too shocked by the four finalists: Abbott’s Lobster in Noank; Ford’s Lobster, also in Noank; Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock in New London; and Flanders Fish Market in East Lyme.
And the winner is (drumroll, please!): Flanders Fish Market.
Here is what writers from The Day experienced when they went to each location recently.
Flanders Fish Market
22 Chesterfield Road, East Lyme
Hot lobster roll ($27)
Opening my take-out container was like lifting the lid on a treasure chest.
Eureka! A buttered roll sitting atop lettuce and a slice of lemon. A pile of sinful-looking fries. And a plastic container filled with lobster bathed in butter.
It was a LOT of lobster. When I tried to wedge it into the roll, it tumbled over the edges.
The lobster, accented by the Flanders Fish Market mix of butter, scallions and sherry, was succulent and delectable. (I left some of the butter “sauce” in the plastic tub — it was wonderfully flavorful without my needing to use all of it.) The roll might be a little too buttery for some, but it was right up my alley. The fries were worth the calories.
The reason I sampled the hot (instead of cold) lobster roll is because I regularly purchase FFM’s lobster slider, which boasts a cold lobster salad. My repeat business tells you all you need to know about how I feel about that offering.
— Kristina Dorsey
Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough
117 Pearl St., Noank
Hot ($19.95) and cold ($18.95)
I’m a diehard believer that a hot buttered lobster roll is always superior to a chilled lobster roll. But a visit to Abbott’s in the Rough to try one of each swayed my loyalty — the cold lobster roll at Abbott’s was flavorful, refreshing and is now at the top of my list.
The hot and cold rolls were each overflowing with massive pieces of lobster meat, but the hot roll was almost a bit too full to hold in its hamburger bun without making a mess, making the delicious cold roll on a hot dog bun the clear winner for me.
Both were worth the trip and the long, long, long line at this legendary lobster spot.
— Taylor Hartz
15 Riverview Ave., Noank
Cold lobster roll ($24, including chips and coleslaw)
This past year was the one where lobster rolls became a year-round fixture for me. Living alone and working at home throughout the pandemic, I would occasionally think, “I’m sad! I must go get a hot lobster roll,” and off I’d march to Seafood Etc in Pawcatuck.
But there’s nothing like getting a lobster roll outside on a summer day, and with seating optimized so that much of it is overlooking the water, Ford’s Lobsters is a great choice.
I stepped outside my comfort zone and ordered a cold lobster roll instead of a hot one. I may be a convert: It was far better than I remembered cold lobster rolls being, with the ample lobster meat lightly coated in mayo rather than excessively doused. The bread was appropriately crisp around the edges, and there was good variety in the pieces of lobster.
Sitting outside for lunch on a 73-degree day, I finished my lobster roll in 15 minutes. This is a testament to its quality, as those who know me well will tell you that I’m generally the world’s slowest eater.
— Erica Moser
Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock
80 Hamilton St., New London
Hot lobster roll ($20 with choice of chips or coleslaw)
In the past four years that I’ve lived in Connecticut, lobster rolls have become my favorite New England delicacy. Coming from the South, they were always such a strange yet enticing prospect to me. I’ve tried cold lobster rolls in Maine and Boston and hot lobster rolls in Connecticut. Call it bias for living in Connecticut, but I’ve come to prefer hot lobster rolls.
New to New London, I tried the large hot lobster roll at Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock for the first time. I went during sunset on a Friday, a rather perfect combination for a busy night, although waiting in the long line gave me time to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere — families taking photos in front of the boat docks and water, the train passing by, and the seagulls mewing overhead.
By the time I got my lobster roll, I was more than ready to eat it. The large pile of delicious lobster gaped at me from the crevice of the toasted hot dog bun. Although the bottom of the bun was a bit too soggy from the roll’s juices, it was thoroughly pleasant and I definitely took my time to savor it.
— Johana Vazquez