The Lobster Roll - Southside

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The Lobster Roll, simply known as LUNCH

Mar 3, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Very Good

  • Food and Presentation:
  • Ambiance and Decor:
  • Quality of Service:

Pros:Good Fresh Fish Food and Friendly Family Service

Cons:In the middle of nowhere. No views except for traffic on the highway.

The Bottom Line: If you are driving out on the South Fork of Long Island, you have to stop by like so many locals, tourists, and celebrities.

When driving out to Montauk Point the only road out is Montauk Highway. Once you pass the Hamptons you go through Amagansett then in the middle of nowhere up on the right as you continue driving east there sign up ahead. It says LUNCH In small letters underneath are the words The Lobster Roll.

They Built It and the People Came

This is an obligatory stop for first timers to the area and a place where many people go out of their way to get a simple meal, served on plastic, that is as fresh as anywhere and particularly well prepared. There is plenty of parking in its sprawling lot and we have never had to wit long. I must note we are usually there at lunch time.

The place from the outside isn't much. Once you go inside you'll find there is even less to talk about. The place is pretty plain inside and they also offer some picnic tables outside. This is an old roadside restaurant that started as a small shack over 35 years ago and has simply expanded into a larger shack. The place is as simple and unpretentious as the sign outside. This dump of a place, and that isn't a bad thing, is featured in many travel books and magazines. Here are a couple of quotes from their website.

"The Lobster Roll embodies summertime eating: casual, light, fun, right for the whole family. It's the citidel of fresh, East End seafood simply prepared and enjoyable."
-Peter Gianotti / Newsday

"The eatery to which every visitor to the easternmost tip of Long Island must pay homage."
-Ed Levine / In Style Magazine

"A Hamptons institution, it started as a shack decades ago and remains the best place for no-frills seafood. If you haven't done LUNCH (sic), you haven't truly done the Hamptons."
-Mary Alice Kellogg / Bon Appetit

"A resonably priced old fashioned roadhouse with a family atmosphere and fabulous seafood."
-Frommer's Guidebook

"A must stop on the way to Montauk" For "the definitive Lobster Salad Roll Sandwich where fans 'claw their way to get into the place."
-Zagat's Survey

These write-ups attract people from all over. Celebs from the Hamptons make their rounds to this small haven. The people at the Lobster Roll aren't hiding their fame, in fact they left a list of some of the famous people that have stopped by.

Madeline Albright, Rob Lowe, Woody Allen, Ralph Macchio Armand Assante, Penny Marshall, Alec Baldwin, Rick Moranis, Kim Bassinger, President Richard Nixon, Peter Boyle, Norman Mailer, Marshall Brickman, Dina Merrill, Beau Bridges, Robert Merrill, Christie Brinkley, Bill Murray, Matthew Broderick, Yoko Ono, Jimmy Buffett, Sara Jessica Parker, David Caruso, Pele, Peggy Cass, Bernedette Peters, Dick Cavett, General Colin Powell, Craig Claiborne, Hal Prince, Jerry Cooney, Rob Reiner, Rodney Dangerfield, Tony Roberts, Steven Dorf, Mercedes Ruehl, David Doyle, Murray Schisgal, Robert Duvall, popsrocks, Brooke Shields, Mia Farrow, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkle, Maureen Stapleton, Elliot Gould, George Stephanopoulos, Fred Gwynne, Barbara Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, Marlo Thomas, Robert Hooks, Cheryl Tieggs, Angelica Huston, Marisa Tomei, Billy Joel, Kathleen Turner, Diane Keaton, Eli Wallach, Mayor Ed Koch, Reg Wells, Robert Lansing, Shelly Winters

I've never met any of these people, well just one, but I have stopped by a few times over the years.

The Menu

So now that you know this place isn't much on atmosphere yet still attracts the masses you may want to know what they serve. Think fish!

Their appetizers are different than the usual wings, spinach dip and mozzerella sticks you find everywhere. Straight from their menu you'll see

Plump Mussels: A full quart! Steamed in their own bag and served with herbed butter and garlic sauce.

Mussels Marinara: A full quart! Plump Bay Mussels, served with Pauls zesty Marinara Sauce.

Fried Clam Strips Appetizer: Crispy strips of tender deep sea clams fried to crunchy perfection.

Fried Oyster Appetizer: Plump, lightly dusted and fried to perfection. Served with tartar sauce.

Clams on the Half-Shell: Fresh cold water clams from certified packers

The Finest Steamers & Broth: The South Fork Classic "soft shell" clam

Puffer Appetizers: Succulent boneless, mild fish fried cholesterol free in our special tempura batter and served with our remoulade sauce.

and soups

Creamy, New England Clam Chowder: Our trademark creamy soup made with lots of clams and laced with Down-East flavor!

Hearty Manhattan Seafood Chowder: The original New York tomato-based soup with briney, deep-sea flavor!

Our New Lobster/Seafood Bisque: Lobster, Shrimp, Scallops ...Voila!

That's just a partial list. Now normally I wouldn't list so many menu items but I felt it was important to express what they have and how they describe their fare. I'm sure you've already noticed some offerings that are rare to see. I assure you there are more to come.

The following sandwiches come with cole slaw. If you like a very wet and creamy slaw, you'll like their. I happen to love it.

Fried Oyster Roll: Plump oysters lightly dusted, fried cholesterol free, served on a toasted bun with tartar sauce.

Fresh Flounder Filet: Fresh, local flounder, breaded deep fried or broiled and served on a freshly toasted bun.

Fried Clam Strip Roll: Crispy strips of cold-water deep sea clams fried crunchy and piled on a toasted roll.

Grandma's Old Fashioned Crabcake Roll: Golden brown "Blueclaw" crabcakes grilled crispy on the outside, moist and flavorful on the inside....Deeeelicious!

Fried Soft-Shelled Crab Roll: The increasingly rare Chesapeake Bay favorite fried crispy & served with fresh lettuce & tomato.

Swordfish Steak Roll: Lightly marinated select swordfish, steak, charbroiled and presented on a toasted bun with lettuce and tomato.

Tuna Steak Roll: A delicious tender fresh tuna loin steak char-broiled and nestled on a toasted bun with lettuce and tomato.

Shrimp Pub Club Supreme: A delectible golden fried shrimp burger served with greens and tomatoes. Served with crinkle cut french fries and a zesty remoulade sauce.

Seaburger Supreme: A delicious low-fat seafood "hamburger" made from either freshly ground swordfish or tuna mixed with mild herbs & spices, charbroiled & served with crinkle cut french fries and remoulade sauce. Ask about today's selection

I want to mention that anything they fry is lightly done. No heavy greasy stuff is server here. Though many of these sound good I especially recommend the Fried Oyster Roll. Mmm, good! Just a reminder, they do serve burgers and veggie burgers. I haven't tried them and with the fish on the menu, I doubt I ever will. Hot Dogs, Grilled Cheese and chicken are also available.

Another specialty of theirs are the many platters they offer at about $16-19. Here's a partial list also direct from their menu but without the descriptions.

Charbroiled Swordfish Steak
Charbroiled Tuna Steak.
Charbroiled Combo of Both the Above
Charbroiled Chicken Cutlet Platter
Baked Stuffed Flounder
Baked Stuffed Shrimp
Broiled Shrimp
Charbroiled Black Angus Shell Steak
Broiled Filet of Salmon

Broiled Filet of Flounder
Broiled Scallops
Fried Clam Strips
Fried Oyster Platter

I have had their Fried Scallops: Sweet tender sea scallops lightly dusted and fried to perfection. and it is outstanding!

Now of everything they serve, I believe the one item most people try is The "Roll"... The traditionally toasted "hot dog" roll, stuffed with your favorite seafood salad served with our creamy cole slaw. Choice of Lobster Salad Shrimp Salad Tuna Salad

If you sit down, either inside or outside you will probably see more of these served than anything else. It's the lobster salad you will see on the roll. I like them and my wife loved it. With so many other items on the menu, I haven't had it for a while.

I believe people like them because the price is right and the serving is perfect for a stop on the way out driving to Montauk. It's not heavy or fried. It's just a very fresh salad that also comes with their delicious cole slaw.

They also happen to have a children's menu that can keep prices way down. They also state that sharing is fine with them.

In Closing

This place opens up seasonally. I don't know exactly when they open or close and received no help from their website. My guess would be April to October. If I get any information once they reopen, I'll post it.

Though the place lacks a view or anything special in its decor, it still has its own special charm. I suppose that and the food they serve that is so fresh and delicately prepared, also makes this place very popular. Though all this is true I still like to have my seafood outside on a dock overlooking a body of water therefor I gave this place three stars. If it were on that body of water I would go to five stars. One final note, though the friendly and knowledgeable folks at the Lobster Roll say you can share, don't even think of trying a bit of my scallops or cole slaw.

Places of interest on the East End of Long Islands South Fork.

The Harborside Motel In Montauk

Gosman's Dock Restaurant
Gosman's Topside Restaurant
Gosman's Clam Bar

MONTAUK, It's The End
Montauk Point State Park and Lighthouse History, Fishing, Scenery, and quiet hikes.
Montauk Downs State Park Creature comforts and games
Camp Hero State Park A military base with secrets!
Hither Hills State Park Camping on the beach
Shadmore State Park It's Crude!

Block Island A wonderful day trip from Montauk
The Maize Maze in Bridgehampton Family Fun!

Recommend this product? Yes

Kid Friendliness: Yes
Vegetarian Friendly: Yes
Notes, Tips or Menu Recommendations Stop for an obligatory Lobster Roll but leave room for a better dining experience on the shore somewhere in the nearby towns.
Best Suited For: Trendy Crowd

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