Last week, I wrote about five lobster rolls on Long Island’s South Fork worth visiting. And you, readers, wanted more! This week, by request, I’m focusing on the equally formidable rolls of the North Fork. Read on for five NoFo rolls you shouldn’t miss. So keep on lobstering!
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The North Fork Food Truck’s permanent residence is in the parking lot of Claudia Fleming’s and the late Gerry Hayden’s North Fork Table and Inn (the truck will travel for parties). You pretty much can’t go wrong with anything from this James Beard-caliber food truck, but, while we’re on the topic, these guys serve up one of the finest lobster rolls around. It’s wild-caught lobster served on Blue Duck Bakery brioche, and it’s $20, which falls under “reasonable” in the lobster roll department. Roll is toasted, lobster is generous, and the mayonnaise component is restrained (call it a lemon-tarragon aioli, if you will, though I prefer to say mayo). Food trucking is the wave of the present, and, after all, lobster rolls are meant to be enjoyed outside. Plus, this is the only place on Long Island where you can follow up your lobster roll with one of Claudia’s out-of-this-world cookies.
North Fork Food Truck, 57225 Main Road, Southold, (631) 765-0177, open daily 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
There’s something really precious about this tucked-away spot, which serves far more than the generic spate of sandwiches. I’ve whiled away more than one afternoon at the counter over a glass of local wine. The lobster roll is “market price,” which could mean practically anything, depending on the day. Such is the way of lobster these days. Meat is Maine lobster (the very best, says this New Englander), mixed with an ample-but-not-too-ample amount of mayonnaise, celery, and romaine hearts. Bread is buttered and toasted. This is a heaping sandwich, almost (dare I say it?) too big for one person alone. Unless you’re determined, as I was, to spare your fridge the leftovers.
Love Lane Kitchen, 240 Love Lane, Mattituck, (631) 298-8989, open daily, 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
I can’t tell you how many times I drove by this place before I actually decided I needed to go in. I shouldn’t have waited so long. A drive-by looker on Mattiuck’s Main Road, with its blue, yellow, and red façade, The Crazy Fork provides likely the least expensive lobster roll on the North Fork, at $16.95. It’s a basic bun—no big surprises here. But you get a completely reasonable amount of lobster for your money. This is a classic roll, with the classic bells and whistles (soft bun, mayo) along with the subtle addition of chopped green onion. You can’t really beat the price, and the ambience—a little bit dive-y—feels honest to those schooled in the practice of casual lobster dining.
The Crazy Fork, 10560 Main Road, Mattituck, (631) 298-1100, open daily, 12 to 9 p.m.
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Owner Charlie Manwaring has operated the Southold Fish Market for over 25 years, which is home to “The Best Lobster Roll.” Is it? You’ll have to see for yourself. I appreciated the restrained greenery (I love you, Claudio’s, but is the abundance of ruffle-y lettuce really necessary when I’m trying to get serious about lobster?). One leaf of lettuce will do on this roll, which is practically overflowing with a lot of claw meat. I could have used a little more knuckle for my $20 (this week’s market price, though that changes), but I was happy to see celery and the right amount of mayo on my roll. Depending on the season, lobster is either cold water (hailing from Canada and Maine) or local, so plan accordingly depending on your preferences. Sandwiches arrive on newsprint, the old fashioned way.
Southold Fish Market, 64755 NY-25, Greenport, (631) 765-3200, open daily, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The old Blue Canoe space has been converted into Port, an outpost owned and operated by the people who own Shelter Island’s seaside Salt. Port’s lobster roll is on the pricier side of the spectrum, at $30, but you do get what you pay for: a lobster-rich sandwich stuffed with knuckle, tail, and claw meat. This is not a mayo-heavy roll, for those looking to lighten their condiment load. And your bun will arrive thoroughly toasted (is there any other way?) and stuffed to the gills with really good lobster. I could do without the arugula garnish—lettuce would have been more than enough greenery for this traditionalist. Nonetheless, although the price feels steep for a roll served on brown butcher paper, such is the price we pay for the luxury of lobster.
Port, 104 Third Street, Greenport, (631) 333-2501, open Tuesday through Thursday for lunch and dinner.
This story was originally published in July 2017.