For being so far from the ocean, Atlantans love their seafood. And this Summer, we are flocking toward the New England staple, the Lobster Roll. And why not? Sweet, fleshy lobster piled onto a toasted top-spit bun. Sounds like heaven. As for what makes up the rest of that sandwich you’re about to inhale? Well, it’s a bit of a debate. Mayo vs butter; how much spice and what part of the lobster you use all come in to play when building a lobster roll. So, what makes for a perfect lobster roll?
It all comes down to quality of ingredients. Chef Bobby Holley of the Atlanta Fish Market says ‘It’s not a complicated recipe, but fresh ingredients make the difference.’ And as a New England transplant, who spent the Summers devouring every lobster roll he could, he wanted to be sure that this Buckhead staple served them the right way. Freshly baked bread from Buckhead Bread Company, freshly boiled lobster and house made mayo are all that it takes to bring the famous sandwich to the crowds.
And what about the ‘Mayo vs. Butter’ debate? Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish and the Food Network says it’s all about location. ‘There are really 2 types of Lobster Rolls. The first is Maine style, chilled tossed in mayo. In my opinion, this is a “fast food” type roll. Great for picnics or on the go. If I am sitting down, I opt for the Connecticut Roll – warm tossed in butter.’
Few Atlanta restaurants go the ‘Connecticut Roll’ route. One notable exception however is Buford Highway’s Crawfish Shack, who uses garlic butter, tarragon leaves and lemon to make a roll that will make you giggle with happiness.
And the bread? Can we just slap some lobster on grocery store hot dog bun and call it a day? No way, says Chef Gruel. ‘The bread is as important as the meat. The bread must be a soft, butter-based roll without too much sugar. The lobster is naturally sweet, so if the bread is too sweet it will taste like a dessert. One thing that is starting to show up in market is lobster rolls with split-top Hawaiian Rolls. This is a no go for me. A split-top roll gently toasted in butter will make a lobster roll perfect.’
With Atlanta Fish Market making their bread in house, and many other restaurants, including Bite, sourcing theirs from Holeman & Finch Bread Co., we Atlantans definitely have that handled
At the end of the day, a lobster roll, a really well done one that would make any New Englander proud lets the quality of the ingredients shine through. This is a classic sandwich,and one not open to experimentation. That means, leave the Sriracha at home, guys. In the words of Chef Gruel, that’s not a lobster roll, it’s a lobster sandwich.
Go forth and eat all of the lobster rolls you can this summer. It will be pumpkin season before you know it.
Suddenly craving lobster rolls? Here is a list of the five lobster rolls you should be eating this Summer.