January 14, 2012 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Are there any places to get a Lobster Roll in Los Angeles?

After a trip to the east coast, I've rediscovered my love of lobster rolls. So far, I've found the Lobsta Truck, which is tasty, but it doesn't come near me very often.

I live in Pasadena and work in Hollywood - any restaurant options? Thanks!
posted by stewiethegreat to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know the answer to this, but may I ask what kind of lobster rolls you're looking for? Do you mean the cold kind with lobster salad (New England lobster rolls) or the warm kind that's lobster and butter (Connecticut lobster rolls)? The reason I ask is that I make Connecticut lobster rolls all the time and if you don't end up finding a place that sells them, I'd be happy to tell you how to make them yourself. They're super easy.
posted by Maisie at 1:11 PM on January 14, 2012

Maisie, I hope it's not entirely inappropriate to ask for the Connecticut recipe here. Please post it?

And stewie, this is a shortcut I'd use in an unfamiliar locale; call the local retail and wholesale seafood suppliers and ask if they know of any places selling lobster rolls.
posted by vers at 1:19 PM on January 14, 2012

Best answer: Son of a Gun has good tiny ones. They are delicious. Hungry Cat has them at lunch.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 1:20 PM on January 14, 2012

Lobsta Truck

And much as I love Meta, Yelp and Chowhound are good places to search for this sort of question.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:50 PM on January 14, 2012

If you make them yourself, buy frozen tails. Lobsters sitting in tank water on the west coast, especially in LA, tastes NOTHING lobster. They do taste of tank, though;)

If you know a wholesaler, you can get these still frozen at a great price.
posted by jbenben at 1:57 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sure, I'm happy to share the wealth. These are the ratios to make 2 sandwiches, which is good for one person. Scale up as necessary. I should note that now that I've typed the recipe out, it looks a lot harder than it really is, especially the meat harvesting step. After you've done it a few times, you can harvest the meat in probably 3 minutes per lobster, so don't give up! The important thing here is to use fresh Maine lobsters, which I know can be expensive outside of New England. Ask the fish monger if they're fresh if you have doubts. If they're not fresh and they're not Maine lobsters, I probably wouldn't bother making them.


1 1 to 1.25 pound Maine lobster
2 New England hotdog rolls (these are top split; if you can't find them, get regular hotdog rolls and cut about 1/16 of an inch of crust off the top and bottom to turn them into ersatz New England hotdog rolls)
2 T butter (I prefer salted)
2 lemon wedges

1. Acquire lobster(s). I have them steamed at the fish counter while I shop for the other ingredients. Ask for them to be slightly undercooked because they'll cook a tiny bit more in a later step. If you're going to cook them at home (yuck, I never do), fill your biggest pot about 1/2 way up with water, bring to boil and then drop the lobsters in head first. Boil for 4 minutes per pound for slightly underdone lobsters.

2. Harvest meat. When the lobster is cool enough to handle, twist off the tail and arms. Pull the little flanges off the bottom of the tail and bend the rest of the tail against the curve of the shell. Push the tail meat out of the shell from the bottom so that it comes out in one piece. Twist the claws off the arms. Bend the smaller claw shell away from the larger one. Usually this will free the little piece of claw meat in that section, but if not, pick that meat out of the shell. Use kitchen sheers to cut along the edge of the larger claw section and pry it apart to reveal the rest of the claw. Note that there will be a piece of cartilige (sp?) in the larger section of claw meat; you should be able to pull it out with your fingers. Use your kitchen sheers to cut open the knuckle shells and pull the meat out of those. Discard the body and shells (or save them in your freezer for lobster stock!). Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.

3. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Put the hotdog rolls in the skillet cut side down and toast until they're as toasted as you want (I like mine toasted about a minute per side). Flip the rolls over and toast on the other side. Remove the rolls. You can skip this and toast the rolls under the broiler with a little butter on each side, but whenever I do that, I end up burning them.

4. Turn the heat down on under the skillet to low and add the lobster meat harvested in step 2. Let the lobster warm through for 2 or 3 minutes.

5. Add the warm lobster and butter to the warm, buttery toasted rolls and serve with lemon wedges.

6. Bask in praise if you serve this to other people.

Like I said above, typing this out makes it look a lot harder than it really is. From the time I get home from the store, I can have the lobster rolls on the table in about 20 minutes when it's just Mr. M. and me.
posted by Maisie at 2:14 PM on January 14, 2012 [6 favorites]

If you make them yourself, buy frozen tails. Lobsters sitting in tank water on the west coast, especially in LA, tastes NOTHING lobster. They do taste of tank, though;)

If you know a wholesaler, you can get these still frozen at a great price.
posted by jbenben at 4:57 PM on January 14 [+] [!]

Actually, I make these for my sister when I got out to visit her in LA just as I described above. We usually get the lobsters at Gelson's and although they're expensive (especially compared to the price of lobster in Connecticut, which is where I live), they're just as good as the lobsters at home. I also made them for Mr. M.'s family on a visit to Omaha. Those lobsters had been delivered that day. You just have to make sure they're fresh.

As for frozen lobster tails, well, I'd generally rather eat something else. Plus, I think the combination of claw and tail meat is what makes the lobster rolls what they are. I've never used canned lobster meat for this recipe so I can't comment on whether that would be a better choice than frozen tails in the event fresh Maine lobsters aren't available.

One other note I should have made above. I always buy chicken lobsters (the 1 - 1.25 pounders) because those are the sweetest. It's more work to clean them than if buying fewer larger lobsters, but to me it's completely worth it.
posted by Maisie at 2:25 PM on January 14, 2012

Best answer: the hungry cat in hollywood serves lobster rolls (as a sandwich, i think).
posted by jimw at 3:08 PM on January 14, 2012

Best answer: Son of a Gun also has lobster rolls.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 3:59 PM on January 14, 2012

Best answer: The 3 best lobster rolls in town are the hungry cat, son of a gun, and blue plate oysterette. I actually like the last one best.
posted by drpynchon at 5:33 PM on January 14, 2012

yelp has suggestions
posted by blob at 5:37 PM on January 14, 2012

In the interest of SCIENCE! (and because after typing out how I make them, I started craving them), I made lobster rolls for dinner tonight and I have a few revisions.

1. Bend the tail against the joint before removing the flanges. If you get lucky, one of the joints will come apart about 1/2 way through the tail making it easier to get the tail meat out of the shell and you can ignore the flanges entirely.

2. With any luck, when you break the little claw away from the big claw, the cartilage (I looked the spelling up) that sometimes gets stuck in the big part of the claw will come away with the little claw.

3. There are 3 sections in the arms. Bend the section closest to the body away from the next section at the joint and the little bit of meat in that section should stay connected to the next section. Then bend the next section at the joint the same way. You should be able to push the meat from the first 2 sections through the resulting hole between the 2nd and 3rd joint.

4. Before cutting the tail meat into bite-sized pieces, make a shallow slice along along the back of the tail along the middle and remove the vein, like you do when cleaning shrimp.

5. This time I buttered the New England hotdog rolls and toasted them in the skillet before melting the butter to warm the lobster meat. (For best results soften the butter ahead of time.) I liked this way better than the way I described above because the rolls soaked up less butter. Also, I was able to clean the crumbs out of the skillet before melting the butter for the lobster meat. When feeding more than Mr. M. and myself, I normally use this toasting method on a griddle because of the larger surface area, so I should probably have thought of this sequence sooner.

6. My lobster meat was lukewarm by the time I got around to adding it to the melted butter. It took 2 to 3 minutes to warm it through.

I timed how long it took me to break the lobsters down. Picking the meat out and slicing it took 8 minutes for 2 lobsters. Also, my grocery store didn't have chicken lobsters (BOO!), so the 2 lobsters were a little bigger than what I normally get. Their cooked weight was 2.71 pounds and they yielded 8 ounces of lobster meat. That was 2 ounces of meat per roll, which was perfect.

posted by Maisie at 9:26 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

All of the Gelsons I shop at don't have tanks and get their lobsters in from Canada and keep them alive in boxes in the walk-in at the back of the seafood counter. As they should be.

I'm looking many seafood shops, all asians markets with live seafood, and especially Bristol Farms, which I otherwise love.

Quality Seafood in Redondo on the boardwalk is also a great big fat offender in the tank area! Which sucks, because it's one of the few retail or wholesale suppliers of New England Steamer (aka Soft Shell) Clams on the west coast. No love there from me!
posted by jbenben at 6:34 PM on January 15, 2012

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