I spent time in Maine this summer and got to sample Maine lobster rolls, which were my first love in the lobster roll world. I used to love the mayonnaise freshness of these. When researching A History of Connecticut Food and the Insiders' Guide to Connecticut I came to love the hot lobster roll, invented here in Connecticut. On this trip to Maine I wanted to give the cold roll another chance. I tried four different ones, at both fancy restaurants and roadside trucks. And there is no question - the hot Connecticut lobster roll is superior.
Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with a cold lobster roll, and I still liked it. I mean, it's lobster. It's rich and delicious. But the use of hot butter is more natural, reminding us of the way we eat steamed or boiled lobsters. With mayo on it, why not eat crab or shrimp? It also dulls or at least changes the taste. Worst of all, it tempts restaurants to use frozen or refrigerated lobster rather than fresh. With a hot lobster roll freshly steamed or boiled or poached lobster is necessary. If someone uses preserved lobster for a hot roll, you can taste/feel it immediately.
I was willing to put aside my CT partisan hat for this contest (as I occasionally have for other dishes) but in this case I have to come down firmly on the side of the hot lobster roll as the superior dish. What do you think?