Abbott's Lobster in the Rough and the Hamburger Bun Lobster Roll

When we visit Abbott's Lobster in the Rough, it is primarily to get their steamed lobsters. No matter how much practice we get at home, we never seem to get the lobsters as good as they do. I heartily recommend Abbott's for that, for the awesome bisque (above) and for its wonderful setting on the docks in Noank.

However, I have a bone to pick with them about their hot lobster rolls. Why, why, why do it in the hamburger roll? It looks cool (see above) but is utterly impractical. The meat falls out, the butter doesn't work, etc. It is not a pleasant eating experience. A cold lobster roll might actually work this way, since the mayo binds the pieces together, keeping them in the roll like a chicken salad sandwich. But I wouldn't put a bunch of tiny pieces of chicken sans mayo between two pieces of loose bread, and the same goes for lobster. Get some nice small grinder rolls, toast them, and then you can compete for the best hot lobster roll in Connecticut (see below).

Maine vs. Connecticut Lobster Rolls

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?