Blog

Lobster. It’s one of the East Coast’s most succulent –and signature– delicacies. From the frigid waters of Northern Maine to the more temperate climate off the coast of Connecticut, the taste and quality of available lobster dishes vary depending on where you source your meat. One thing is for certain: there’s no better way to enjoy fresh lobster than by indulging in a handmade lobster roll.

Lobster rolls aren’t one size fits all, though. Ingredients, style, and preparation depend on the region that you live in. Every lobster aficionado has their own set of lobster roll preferences. If you’re still deciding on your favorite, you’ll want to dig deep into the most popular types of lobster rolls to pinpoint the exact qualities that will make your lobster roll choice superior.

A TALE OF TWO LOBSTER ROLLS

An excellent lobster roll is a one-of-a-kind delicacy. In fact, they are such a niche delicacy that only 1.58% of all restaurants across America feature lobster rolls on their menu. From the succulent taste of the freshly harvested meat to the unique garnishes that the restaurant uses to augment the flavor, an authentic lobster roll should be on everybody’s bucket list. But what defines the lobster roll? Ingredients and preparation differ depending on the region in which you’re located.

Ask any New England native, and they’ll tell you that there are two primary types of lobster rolls: Connecticut style and Maine style. While each is based on the same general idea, there’s a vast ocean of differences between the two. For those uninitiated in the world of lobster-based dishes, let’s dive in and see what makes each style special.

THE CONNECTICUT LOBSTER ROLL

Connecticut’s famous lobsters primarily come from the waters off the Long Island Sound, where they have actively been harvested since the area was first settled. While the waters of the Long Island Sound tend to be slightly warmer than the northern coastline, Connecticut lobsters are still considered to be cold-water seafood. The key difference isn’t so much the lobster itself but in how the lobster roll is prepared.

Connecticut lobster rolls are what most people think of when they mention lobster: succulent, warm, and buttery smooth. That’s because the Connecticut version of the lobster roll is served warm on a split-top bun and tossed in butter.

For anyone that’s not a New England native, it’s easy to see why butter-infused lobster is seen as the dominant style, but ask any local, and they’ll tell you that the Maine version of the roll is actually the original.

THE MAINE LOBSTER ROLL

When it comes to lobster, nothing beats those found in the coastal waters of Maine. It’s in these waters that the sweetest lobster meat is found—during the times of year when lobsters shed their hard shells. Lobsters captured in Canada or Massachusetts aren’t as sweet. In 2021 alone, the lobstermen of Maine hauled in more than 100 million pounds of lobster, valued at $724 million.

Clearly, lobster is a way of life for Maine’s residents, so it should come as no surprise that the traditional —and original— lobster roll is the Maine version. But what sets it apart?

Unlike its Connecticut counterpart, the Maine lobster roll is served cold. Most common recipes call for lobster meat with a creamy layer of mayo and the perfect smattering of lemon butter, served on a pillowy split-top bun.

RELATED: MASON’S FAMOUS LOBSTER ROLLS OPENS IN VILLAGE OF SHIRLINGTON

WHAT MAKES THE LOBSTER ROLL SO GREAT?

Now that we know the main differences between the two types of lobster rolls, let’s further evaluate the components that make this sandwich truly remarkable. We’ll divide these elements into four key categories:

  • Meat
  • Bun
  • Condiments
  • Personal preferences

THE MEAT

No matter your personal preferences, the lobster meat itself is the most crucial ingredient in the sandwich. For both Maine and Connecticut rolls, only cold water lobster will do. Lobsters that live in warmer, southern climates are much smaller and yield little meat. The meat that they do have is often a mushier, less satisfying consistency, making it harder to use in a lobster roll.

Both the Maine lobster roll and the Connecticut version feature meaty, cold water lobster from either the coast of Maine or the Long Island Sound. Anything less just isn’t an authentic Mason’s lobster roll.

THE BUN

If lobster is the main attraction, then the bun is the forum. It might not be the primary draw, but when it comes to lobster rolls, the proper bun makes all the difference. Not just any old bun will do.

Some imitators use a fancy bread, like brioche, to add a different flavor and texture to the dish. But if you’re looking for the real deal —an authentic lobster roll like you might find at the hundreds of lobster shacks spread out along the Maine coastline—you’ve got to keep things simple. This means using a cushiony split-top bun toasted with a glistening layer of smooth, silky butter.

There’s no better way to eat your lobster roll than out of a freshly baked, New England split-top bun. Firm yet fluffy, it produces a flavorful counterpoint without hogging the spotlight. As far as the average New England native is concerned, this is the only way to eat a lobster roll.

THE CONDIMENTS

Whatever your preference, whether it be the Maine or Connecticut lobster roll, there’s one rule of thumb that will never fail you when it comes to condiments: the simpler, the better. The lobster is the main attraction, with nothing to detract from its tender sweetness.

In the case of the Connecticut lobster roll, things couldn’t get any simpler. There’s lobster meat, butter, and the bun. Occasionally you’ll find a little extra garnish, like paprika, dill, lemon zest, lettuce, tomato, or even bacon for the restaurant that gets creative, but the traditional recipe calls for butter and nothing else.

The Maine lobster roll is slightly more complex, but not by much. The sandwich’s fill consists of shredded claw meat, mayonnaise, and sometimes a pinch of celery to offset the texture. Other than that, you’d be hard-pressed to find any extra garnish on a Maine-style lobster roll.

PERSONAL PREFERENCE

Want the best lobster rolls? It pays to keep an open mind. If you’re looking for a traditional and authentic experience, the Maine lobster roll fits the bill. This succulent lobster sandwich, made with meat straight off the dock, all nestled inside a fluffy, split-top bun, is the original way to enjoy a lobster roll.

In the mood for a hot sandwich instead? The Connecticut lobster roll is the way to go. Bathed in butter and dripping with flavor, the Connecticut is a more modern take on the famous New England platter.

RELATED: YOU CAN FIND A GOOD LOBSTER ROLL IN DENVER

THE SIMPLE TASTE OF INCREDIBLE LOBSTER ROLLS

In the end, which type of lobster roll is the best? While they each have their own merits and are delicious in their own right, tourists, foodies, and locals alike all have strong opinions about which version is superior. Ultimately, there’s no right answer.

The Connecticut sandwich is a great and familiar entry point to the world of lobster rolls with its buttery, succulent flavor dripping off the roll. If you want the most authentic experience possible, though, the Maine lobster roll is chock full of history, heritage, and flavor. Biting into one will whisk you away to the rocky New England coastline, where lobstermen toil on the open water to bring the perfect seafood directly from the docks of Maine to your mouth.

Regardless of your own personal preference, lobster rolls are recognized as a delicacy across the United States. Both styles offer an authentic taste of the New England coast. Whether you are in the mood for a hot Connecticut lobster roll or you’re craving the creamy, delectable taste of a Maine lobster roll, Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls has a sandwich to fit your tastes. Which roll will you choose? Visit us online today to view our full menu, find a location, or get the best lobster rolls shipped to your door.

Franchisee Portal
Lobster Logo
© 2024 Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls