What can truly ignite the passions of New Englanders? Right up there with the Sox and the Pats: lobster rolls. Should they be made with claw meat, tail meat or both? A sparing hand with the mayonnaise, or a little more? Can a restaurant lobster roll ever compare with eating one by the water? Are the best little shacks in Maine or Massachusetts?
Let’s start with the basics. A true lobster roll is an exercise in simplicity: Lobster is the star, thus it should be fresh, in ample portion and not obscured by other ingredients. A bit of mayonnaise to bind is the norm for cold lobster rolls; warm ones often forgo mayo for drawn butter. The classic bun is a side-split hot dog roll, with the white sides toasted in a bit of butter.
But so much else is up for debate. So we asked five Northeastern chefs for their favorites. Agree or disagree with their picks, one thing’s for sure: These folks know their lobster.