First Look at the Red Hook Lobster Pound Truck
As we pointed out last week, midtown went from zero lobster roll trucks to two lobster roll trucks in the blink of an eye- and just in time for summer. I missed out on Luke’s Lobster Truck last week, so when I saw that the Red Hook Lobster Pound Truck was a mere block from my office yesterday (and didn’t have a line!), I hurried to check it out.
My family on my mom’s side are Mainers from way back, we’re talking pilgrim settlers who arrived in Massachusetts and headed straight up north. They’re a hearty and opinionated lot. Like the whole mayo vs. butter debate–my grandmother, a Mainer through and through (who eventually settled in CT) would have been miffed at the notion that a lobster roll with butter was a Connecticut thing. With that sort of influence, I grew up thinking that lobster rolls should be top split bun, butter only, no filler. That said, I’m a lover, not a hater, so there’s room in my heart and tummy for mayo and butter rolls alike.
When I arrived at the truck, there were only a couple people in front of me and the line moved quickly. I ordered both the Maine style (lobster, homemade mayo, minced celery and shredded lettuce) and Connecticut style (just lobster and butter, served warm). Both are served on a JJ Nissan top-split bun, a favored bun in Maine and a nice authentic touch.
Back to the rolls. Let’s breakdown how what you get compares to Luke’s. Both charge $16 for a lobster roll. RHLP does full rolls only, so there’s no half price, half roll option. Luke’s does just one kind of roll with a touch of butter, a bit of mayo and lemon, no filler at all. The Maine-style roll at RHLP has a little bit of celery as well as a small amount of shredded lettuce and scallions on top. But, for mayo haters (hello, Mamacita!) RHLP has the benefit of offering a butter only roll.
Both rolls were well stuffed with plenty big meaty lobster pieces, and lots of sweet claw meat. Both were light on the fat binding agent–not overwhelminly buttery or mayo-y. Yes, $16 is hard to spend for lunch, but between here and Luke’s you’re not going to find better quality lobster rolls in the city for cheaper. Lobster rolls in Maine not quite of this caliber will run you north of $13 and lobster by the pound is way cheaper there (my family was horrified when lobster went past four bucks a pound).
If you like mayo and you hate any filler in your roll, Luke’s is probably your best bet and if you hate mayo and/or like your lobster roll warm, then RHLP is for you. If you’re an equal opportunity lobster eater, just check the Twitter Tracker to see who’s closer to you. Speaking of Twitter Tracker, I spied an interesting convo going on between CoolhausNY and RHLP. That’s a potential lunch time double header I’m willing to splurge for.
According to their website, RHLP is scheduled to be on 52nd and Lex today.