Lobster Is On A Roll In Los Angeles
The lobster roll is undoubtedly the bourgeoisie’s answer to the American hot dog. The sandwich hails from the shorelines of New England—home to Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, Nantucket and Hamptons haunts of the summering elite. Instead of ground-up meat trimmings encased in mystery skins, the decadent king of all shellfish is served cold (Maine style) or warm (Connecticut style) on a grilled hot-dog sized bun. Whether you’re hungry after an early morning sail, a boat cruise around the bay, or a layout on the beach, the lobster roll is a fast-casual lunchtime favorite. Lucky for Los Angelenos, vacationing in New England isn’t the only way to get our hands on delectable lobster rolls—in fact, there seems to be a surge of lobster sandwiches washing up on the menus of LA’s hippest restaurants.
As a humble servant to the TBOT community, whose primary goal is to recommend the highest quality products, services and experiences, I felt it was my responsibility to get my hands greasy with butter on your behalf. From May to August, my unwavering dedication to compiling “the best lobster roll in Los Angeles” list involved painstakingly eating butter-poached or mayo-tossed heaps of mouthwatering lobster—oh, the things we do in the name of service! I can assure you, me being a lobster roll connoisseur (who’d probably extend the “five-second rule” to five minutes if I ever dropped one on the floor), had nothing to do with it. Below are the four restaurants ranked in order that left all the other competition dead in the water.
3709 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
You know that moment in the meal when the waiter tries to clear your plate but instead of surrendering what’s left of the savory liquids too scanty for a spoon to adequately scoop, you ask for a piece of bread to collect the remnants with? Eating Sawyer’s specialty lobster roll is that exact moment times a thousand—only in their case, the grilled bread has already done the sopping for you. Despite the juiciness of its contents, the in-house baked bread does a great job of holding everything together. They serve it hot or cold, but I recommend having it hot. The Connecticut style comes with a satisfying portion of chopped Maine lobster claw and tail dressed with a tangy beurre fondue that chef Alex McWilliams must have sprinkled a little crack in. It’s by far the most addictive and flavorful roll I’ve had the pleasure of eating. Sawyer earns a TBOT 9.8 and the number one spot for their secret sauce alone.
2. CAPE SEAFOOD PROVISIONS
801 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Looking for a roll on the go? After slurping down an iced coffee at the Fairfax Ave. Commissary, head next door to Cape Seafood & Provisions for the best bang for your buck lobster roll in Los Angeles. The quality of the lobster is what’s at play here. Super fresh, melt in your mouth, delicate and buttery meat, not too chewy or tough, and thoughtfully seasoned. Simple and delish! You can tell Michelin-starred chef Michael Cimarusti used T.L.C. when poaching the lobster. Served hot or cold, I had it both ways and preferred it Maine style. Not overly dressed with mayo—just enough to hold the bounty of meat together and a pinch of salt careful not to compete or obfuscate the flavor of the shellfish. I gave the roll a TBOT 9.6.
3. SON OF A GUN
8370 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Though you’ll woof it down in less than two bites the amuse it will give your bouche is unlike any other in the city. Served Maine style, the cold strains of shredded lobster are mixed in a lemon aioli, with celery and a couple of barbecue potato chips placed on top. The goods sit perched on top of a butter-grilled miniature brioche. Following the server’s instructions, I take my fork and press down on top of the roll—forcing the lobster salad down into the belly of the bun and give it a healthy squirt of lemon. I appreciate that the aioli isn’t too dense and doesn’t overtake the flavor of the lobster. The barbecue chips give the roll a crunchy texture along with some zesty spice that compliments the citrusy tang from the lemon. Before tearing into their outstanding peel-and-eat shrimp or slap-your-mama-its-so-good fried chicken sandwich, I never miss an opportunity to order their appetizing lobster roll. Receiving a TBOT 9.5, it’s on the must-have list of any Son of a Gun dining experience.
4. CONNIE & TED’S
8171 California Route 2, West Hollywood, CA 90046
All I have to say is this one’s like butta...literally—that's the primary flavor I get and it’s amazing—you can smell it as it's being placed before you. Another plentiful serving of a chopped mixture of Maine claw and tail, the lobster is light and seasoned with restraint. It’s well balanced by the grilled butter-soaked bread that’s been dusted with sea-salt. The roll is served piping hot. Not licking your fingers after consuming this roll would be an insult to chef Sam Baxter who happens to be chef Michael Cimarusti of Cape Seafood & Provisions protégé. Receiving a TBOT 9.4, Connie & Ted’s completes TBOT’s best in roll list.
While devouring my favorite lobster roll in the city, I also got to try a slushy cocktail that deserves mentioning. It’s called a Froze` and it’s exactly what you’d expect, except tastier. Ingredients: tequila, lime, Rose` and raspberries. The drink is refreshing and a wonderful cocktail to enjoy well into California’s Indian summer.