100 Favorite Dishes 2013: No. 83, Lobster Roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches

lobsterrolll.jpg
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
There's a reason Maine-ly Sandwiches' lobster roll gets so much press. It's amazing.
This year, leading up to our annual Menu of Menus issue, Kaitlin Steinberg counts down her 100 favorite dishes as she eats her way through Houston. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most awesome, most creative and, of course, most delicious in town. It's a list of her personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that seem particularly indicative of the ever-changing Houston food-scape. It's a list to drool over.

There's been a lot of hype surrounding Maine-ly Sandwiches lately, thanks to the opening of a second location inside the Loop (and just a short walk away from my front door). Recently, we published a post about what to eat at the New England-inspired sandwich shop besides the lobster roll. And while the notion of branching out -- expanding your horizons -- is a great one, I ask you, why? Why would you even want to eat anything other than the lobster roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches?

In case you need more convincing, please turn your attention to the photo at the top of this post. That soft, buttery roll brimming with sweet, succulent claw meat arrived at my table warm on the outside from the lightly toasted bread and cool and refreshing on the inside thanks to the fresh chilled lobster tossed in a delicate lemon-mayo sauce. And it took only three minutes from the time it was ordered until I was happily stuffing my face with it. That's one heck of a fast-food sandwich!

Having never been to Maine myself, I can't tell you whether the lobster rolls at Maine-ly Sandwiches are indeed authentic. I do know that all of the lobsters they serve come from Maine, and I have heard from many that they're just as good, if not better, than the ones you might wait in line for hours for in the Pine Tree State. But I don't really care if they're authentic.

In other words, if these lobster rolls are wrong, I don't want to be right.

It's important for a lobster roll to be made with the proper bread. It should be soft enough to cradle the lobster but substantial enough to hold a generous helping meat. The rolls at Maine-ly are lightly buttered and toasted, giving just a touch of crispiness and a bit of that rich, buttery flavor that goes so well with the king of crustaceans.

The lobster itself is carefully picked out of the claw (absolutely no shells fragments here), chopped into small pieces, and tossed with a simple mixture of mayonnaise, lemon juice, black pepper and salt. It's the right amount of dressing to hold the chunks of lobster together, but not so much that any other flavor overwhelms the delicate brininess of the meat.

And yes, I'm sure the whoopie pies at Maine-ly are good, and a BLT with an insane amount of bacon sounds pretty magical, but I'm all about the simplicity of the lobster roll. A buttery bun overflowing with sweet pink lobster meat -- $9.50 for a 6-incher and $18 for the footlong version -- is just about the height of sandwich perfection in my book.

The list so far:
No. 100: Bangkok Fries at Boheme
No. 99: Almond Croissant at Phoenicia
No. 98: Bulgogi Tacos with Kimchi at Chi'Lantro
No. 97: Soft Pretzel from Mongoose Versus Cobra
No. 96: Chicken and Waffles at Adair Kitchen
No. 95: Sweet Potato Gnocchi at Brooklyn Athletic Club
No. 94: Foie Gras Mac & Cheese at BRC Gastropub
No. 93: Vuelve a la Vida Soup at Connie's Seafood
No. 92: Homeroom at Bernie's Burger Bus
No. 91: Lobster Cake Benedict at Sorrel Urban Bistro
No. 90: Uncle Daryl's Cake at The Chocolate Bar
No. 89: Porchetta e Fagioli at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 88: Sesame Soft Balls at Golden Dim Sum
No. 87: Crab Daddy Bao at Fat Bao
No. 86: Ham, Egg & Cheese Crepe at Melange Creperie
No. 85: Pork Tamales at Irma's
No. 84: Greek Burger at Hubcap Grill


Location Info

Maine-ly Sandwiches

3310 S. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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12 comments
del.martinis
del.martinis topcommenter

We just had it and what a major disappointment! Poor service and unfriendly staff plus, c'mon, at that price fill that delicious bun up! 

damsel427
damsel427

I was disappointed in this sandwich when I had it. Too much mayo and too little lobster. Don't even get me started on what they are trying to pass off as clam chowder.

heyheyJ
heyheyJ

There's no tail meat?

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

@heyheyJ  

I was wondering that too.  What do they do with the tail meat if it's not in the sandwiches?

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@Bruce_Are @heyheyJ They only use claw meat in their lobster rolls. And they only order the claws, so they're not wasting the tail meat or anything. 

DrGF
DrGF

@Bruce_Are @heyheyJ 

I had this sandwich a couple weeks ago and I'm pretty sure there was tail meat as well, just as there would be if you ordered it in Maine (I lived there for 4 yrs and still have a lot of family on the Maine coast). The key is cutting the tail meat small, cooking it correctly (so it's not tough), and mixing in a hearty balance of claw meat. Whatever they're doing, they're doing it right! My only complaint is that I wish there was a smidge more lobster to get the perfect meat-to-bun ratio. 

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@Bruce_Are It certainly tasted fresh to me, but I didn't see whole claws in the back or anything, so it's hard to say.

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

Kaitlin described the lobster as fresh.  And claws. I'd be surprised if she's correct on both accounts. I'm siding with Steve.

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