Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Old Port Lobster Shack, Redwood City: Redux

While our first visit to the Old Port Lobster Shack last month resulted in a very satisfying dinner, there was no lobster roll consumption to be had at the time (stupid Northeast storms!). So I made Jon promise that we would return soon because I HAD to try the restaurant's signature dish. We made the trip over to the OPLS again last night, and I have three words for you: Oh. My. God.

As someone whose upbringing and education took place almost entirely in the Bay Area, I had no prior experience with lobster rolls, which are a New England tradition. It's basically lobster meat -- you can get it naked (just the lobster) or more like a lobster salad -- tucked into a special New England-style hot dog bun. (The owners of OPLS have the buns made at a local bakery using molds they brought from Maine.)

I ordered my sandwich naked, as I didn't want any other distractions from the lobster. I must admit, I wasn't quite sure how to eat one of these things. And although Jon had grown up on the East Coast, he doesn't eat shellfish* and was useless to me here. Since the lobster meat was overflowing, I decided to dip some into the drawn butter. Yummmm. Then, after a squeeze of lemon, I dove into the lobster roll itself. The cool, sweet chunks of lobster were a wonderful contrast to the warm, buttery roll. So simple, yet so awesome.

Further research yielded this checklist for what makes a real lobster roll:

  • A good amount of meat - OPLS had that.
  • A flat-bottomed, top-loading hot-dog bun, butter-griddled - They definitely had the right bun and it was definitely buttery, but I didn't see whether it was toasted or griddled.
  • The right dressing, not just mayo - Don't know, since I went for the naked version.
  • Pickles should be served on the side (for a little acidity) and potato chips are also a nice touch - Check and check.
  • Eat it with your hands - Except for the meat I dipped in butter, I did use my hands (as opposed to a knife and fork), so I sort-of did that right!

Initially, I thought $16.75 was a little steep for a sandwich. But you know what? It was worth every penny. In addition to the lobster roll, you get a side of coleslaw (which I didn't eat, but Jon said was really good) and salt'n'pepper Kettle Chips (one of my favorites). Just writing this post makes me want to go back there today for another lobster roll.

* Yes, I make my husband go to lobster restaurants even though he dislikes shellfish. He had the fish platter last time (thumbs up) and this time, basically went with the sandwich version of it (thumbs up again). The menu is now up on their web site, so you can see that there are plenty of non-shellfish options.

Old Port Lobster Shack
851 Veterans Boulevard
Redwood City, CA
(650) 366-2400

P.S. After our initial visit, I mentioned that OPLS is a bit tricky to find. During our drive over last night, Jon and I were discussing exactly where it is (the car's GPS was no help), and we realized that it's actually quite easy to locate: It is just to the left of the Baker's Square. Enter the parking lot adjacent to the BS one. Then prepare to enjoy a delicious lobster roll!