Named for Captain Thomas A. Scott, the former ship captain, master diver, and engineer whose marine construction company built the Race Rock and Ledge Light lighthouses, Captain Scott's Lobster Dock has been in business since 1996. Even with GPS this spot was hard to find and I first missed the turn completely to get down to it. The outdoor seated restaurant is located on a small strip of land in between Shaw Cove and a working train line. Once I arrived and found a parking spot I was greeted with an extremely long line of hungry customers. This was during June 2020 and the Covid 19 Pandemic, so everyone was wearing masks and spaced out accordingly while waiting to order. I had kept reading such good things about the lobster rolls from here that it had been high on my list and I was hoping that the long wait would pay off. I'd say I waited in line for just over 45 minutes before I was finally able to order one of the larger sized hot lobster rolls with melted butter, a small side order of french fires & a medium lemonade. After ordering you go to find a table to wait for your order to be called and surprisingly mine was called in just a few minutes.
I had gotten a single tall chair along the side looking out at the marina next door giving me the perfect view to enjoy with my meal. The lobster roll was on a long toasted & buttered hot dog style bun and filled with fresh lobster. They have rolls in available in two different sizes and with hot drizzled butter or cold lobster salad style. I obviously chose the larger roll and went with the classic CT style hot butter option. From the first bite I could tell why they routinely get ranked as one of the best lobster rolls in southeastern Connecticut. The lobster meat was cooked perfectly, super tender and most importantly paired with a solid dose of melted butter. The bun got very soft because of this, but amazingly never broke and held together throughout. Overall the roll had this smooth creamy taste that I don't think I've experienced before and the added lemon wedge provided a nice contrasting flavor kick. The accompanying side of french fires were solid but nothing to write home about. But I think this experience has now moved Captain Scott's into the top spot of lobster rolls in my home state of Connecticut.
Small roll - $16
Large roll - $20
*(Hot w/ butter or cold lobster salad)
Small fries - $3.25
Overall score = 8.8
The Lobster Shack recently relocated from a food truck type setup on the Branford River to a more traditional restaurant setup in East Haven across from Long Island Sound in Summer of 2019. Owners Nick & Annie Crismale started the business in 2007 after Nick, a longtime lobsterman, decided to setup a trailer he had bought to sell lobster rolls out of. This has always been my favorite lobster roll in my home state of Connecticut, so as they were delayed with the opening of the new location I was waiting very impatiently to get my fix. So when I got word of the opening happening earlier in the day, I made sure to clear my schedule for dinner and head on down to the new location. They did a great job renovating the building and there's amazing views of the neighboring marsh and Long Island Sound from the limited outdoor seating up top. If dining inside I preferred the lighting and views from the lower level dining room. Ordering remains the same as you wait in line to pay, except now you are handed a numbered buzzer that will go off when your food is ready.
I had to go with their 8 oz "Whaler" lobster roll which is double the size of their standard roll at a slight discount per ounce. What I love about their rolls is that they're served on more of a sub type roll that's been buttered and grilled before the meat is added. The freshly picked meat is never frozen and shipped in multiple times a week from up north in Maine, which you can clearly tell from the first bite. It's cooked perfectly with a great balance of salty buttery taste and a hint of lemon juice squeezed on as well, but not overpowering. To me these are always the best lobster rolls when the butter flavor is in the meat and not just poured on top of it. My first roll at the new East Haven location definitely lived up the standard set previously on the river in Branford and I was happy for them to be back in business. My dining partner that evening had ordered their lobster grilled cheese, served with Havarti Cheese on buttered sourdough bread, so of course I had to sample a few bites for the cause. The combination of the cheese and tasty lobster on the toasted bread was amazing and I could've easily eaten the whole thing, but I behaved myself and handed it back.
My uncle is a big lobster roll fan and we have a tradition of grabbing one every Summer, so I made it back another time a few weeks later. This trip I decided to go with the standard size roll and their "Lobster N' Land" surf & turf style burger with Harvarti Cheese on a Brioche Bun. The roll was great once again but unfortunately the burger left me a bit bummed. The lobster meat was great but the burger itself was a bit overcooked and dried out too much . This isn't the kind of burger that you throw ketchup on so it needs to be on the juicier side of things. Hoping it was just an outlier as the components had great potential for something special.
4 oz standard roll - $17.99
8 oz "Whaler" roll - $34
Lobster Grilled Cheese - $13.99
The Lobster N' Land - $15.99
Overall score = 8.7
Nestled between the Long Island Sound and Connecticut River, Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa boasts the best in waterfront tranquility. Saybrook Point Inn has created the perfect balance of northern extravagance and a touch of southern hospitality, to treat guests to a truly charming experience. You can relax with a day at Sanno Spa, explore their inviting marina and dine at the award-winning Fresh Salt restaurant at the inn. Depending on the weather you have the option of eating in their indoor dining room or outside on their beautiful patio setup overlooking the marina. I've enjoyed many meals & drinks outside here and always enjoy the overall experience with these amazing views. During this lobster roll review we went later at night when only the indoor dining room was open. I've had and enjoyed their lobster roll previously, but was long before I started to officially review them. They have one option for their roll and it's the official Connecticut style served warm with melted butter.
The first thing I noticed when the lobster roll arrived at the table was the impressive toasted brioche bun containing the lobster. Butter was a heavy component on both the bun and freshly cooked lobster meat, which I'm always a fan of with my favorite rolls. It contained a good amount of knuckle & claw meat that paired well with the thick brioche bun. I had even upgraded to the Parmigiano Truffle Fries to make this already expensive lobster roll meal even more pricey. Even without the upgrade it's one of the higher priced rolls that I've sampled in Connecticut, but at least the taste & overall quality was enjoyable with every bite. Price is the only downside that I have to report back on and would recommend going at a time when you can enjoy this roll & other tasty food on their outdoor patio.
Standard size roll - $29.95
w/ french fries & coleslaw
Overall Score = 8.5
The current site of Ford’s Lobster has been an integral part of Noank history since the turn of the century. The Haring Family first ran a small gas dock and bait & tackle shop in the mid 1950s, which continued until Orion Ford took over the business ownership in 1970. Orion added a retail lobster shack, which continues to this day. Upon Orion’s retirement in 2005, current ownership took over with every intention of keeping the original character and charm of the iconic lobster pound. Unfortunately, times had changed and sustaining a family on a few lobster sales was no longer possible. So in 2010 they purchased a hot dog cart with their last bit of savings, crossed their fingers and hoped people would come by for a lobster roll. Luckily they did and two years later the indoor dining room was added. Today Ford's is serving a full menu of seafood and other delicious options 11 months out of year, only closing down in February. They're most famously known for their "Lobster Bomb", which is a buttered & grilled bread bowl with filled with lobster bisque and a 1/2 lb of fresh lobster, then topped with more lobster bisque. Although I did not have time to try one on my trip there, it is high on the list for my next visit to Ford's.
I was heading to Watch Hill, RI to shoot sunset at Napatree Point and knew I had to put something in my belly to hold me over. Ford's had been on my list of lobster rolls to try and was just a short drive out of the way, so I swung by to get my lobster fix. There was a bit of a wait for a table inside and out, so I decided to order mine to go and eat it quick in my car before I continued my drive to Rhode Island. If it was half as good as I had been hearing, I knew it wouldn't take me long to inhale this roll. The woman working there couldn't have been any nicer when I placed my order, and I passed the time waiting by sitting in the warm sun outside staring out at the water. With my hunger growing I was excited to hear my order was ready and quickly hopped in my car. When I opened the to go container I noticed it was a nice solid bun, buttered and toasted, then stuffed with a good amount of lobster meat. The meat tasted fresh and was cooked well, with a good balance of buttery flavor in both the meat and bun. I'm looking forward to my next trip back to Ford's to enjoy another lobster roll not on the run and also finally sample the "Lobster Bomb".
Standard size roll - $21
(Available hot or cold)
w/ chips & coleslaw
Overall score = 8.4
Guilford Lobster Pound is a family owned business established in 1991 right on the Guilford Harbor.. Selling fresh caught lobster daily by its owner Capt. Bart Mansi. "Bart has been lobstering in Long Island Sound since the mid 1970's." Capt. Bart leaves the docks at around 4:00 am daily aboard his 42' Lobster Boat "Erica Page" named after his daughter and brings his catch back where is it weighed and sorted by size then put into 38° ice cold water to insure fresh and lively lobster. Having in house freshly caught lobsters allows for their lobster rolls to be made from the freshest possible meat as well. In 2008 they rebuilt the docks and deck at The Lobster Pound with tables & umbrellas added for a better dining experience. Despite living in Guilford for a stretch and frequenting the adjacent Guilford Mooring restaurant, I had yet to try the Lobster Pound for a roll until later in season last year (2019). It was a beautiful night in early October and was craving one more lobster roll before the end of the season. I had always heard good things after them so decided to make it happen and headed down there.
We found a table with a great view of the harbor and marsh while waiting for the rolls to be prepared. I always try to be objective with the lobster roll on it's own, but the atmosphere and views while you dine definitely increase the overall dining experience. The roll is served in a standard buttered and toasted hot dog style bun and filled with 4 oz. of fresh lobster meat. It;s served hot with butter just the way I like it and contained a good amount of claw meat as well. Was cooked very well and you could tell they weren't lying about it being fresh. Also had enough butter where I didn't feel the need to ask for extra and delay my eating of said lobster roll. My only wish was that I had a good side order of fries to go along with it, but if that was my only complaint I'd say this one was a definite win.
4 oz. Hot Lobster Roll - $17
Overall score = 8.4
After seeing a "For Sale" sign on an old lobster shack while on a boat ride with friends around Clinton Harbor in 1995 owner Enea Bacci bought the spot without even first telling his wife. Although he had previous experience running a restaurant, Bacci did not have any knowledge when it came to lobster. This made for a rough first few seasons until he developed a better relationship with the local fisherman in the area. He currently gets deliveries, many right at the shack's back door, from 8 different Clinton-based lobster companies. For the first 6 years in business they only sold live lobsters, until they added a food cart to sell hot dogs, sausage & peppers, and then of course their patented hot lobster rolls. Only the hot lobster roll is offered here as Bacci believes that mayo negatively overpowers the taste of the lobster itself. He also tried a number of roll options over the years before discovery the perfect Italian grinder roll from a bakery in Burlington, VT.
When you arrive here you get in line to order your lobster roll along with any sides like chips, coleslaw, or clam chowder. For any non lobster eating folks you may have with you they also offer hot dogs, sausage & peppers, house salads and even gelato for dessert. After ordering find a seat nearby to wait for your food to be brought out to you. They also have you pay after your meal on the honor system, which adds another very small town homey feel to this coastal landmark. The roll is brought to you in tinfoil all ready to unwrap and enjoy by the water. It's a simple lobster roll but packs great flavor with a heavy dosing of melted butter and fresh squeezed lemon. This is often mentioned as one of the best lobster rolls on the Connecticut shoreline and I can definitely see why. I'd have to say the only negative here was that I wished the roll was bigger and didn't disappear so quickly into my belly! Between the fresh lobster rolls, great water views and classic New England coastal charm I'd recommend this stop for any lobster lover heading to this area.
1/4 lb hot lobster roll - $19
chips - $1
coleslaw - $1.50
Overall score = 8.3
The origins of Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale dates back to their original roadside clam stand & 4 picnic table setup back in 1979/ Over 40 years later they have 3 locations going strong in Madison, Westbrook & the newest in New Haven, serving a combined 15,000+ customers on a busy summer weekend. The Westbrook & New Haven locations are more of a typical sit down restaurant with servers, but the Madison location is a simpler order in line and find a table with your filled tray. The Madison location is also close by to Hammonasset Beach State Park, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a great seafood meal after a long day at the beach. My first lobster roll experience from here was actually after a sunset photo meetup with a group of other local photographers and we decided to stop by for dinner after we wrapped up shooting.
Their lobster roll comes as a hot roll with melted butter and a side of coleslaw. They definitely don't mess around when it comes to the butter portion of their roll, as this was arguably the most buttery one that I've ever had. By reading my other reviews you can easily figure out that this isn't a problem for me, except with this one the bun was actually getting a bit soggy and starting to break apart because of it. The lobster meat was cooked well and tender, but my only gripe would be the lack of bigger claw meat pieces. Overall the taste was solid and buttery flavor made up for the face of it falling apart as I ate it.
Standard hot butter roll w/ coleslaw - $18.99
Side of french fries - $3.59
Overall score = 8.2
Open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner from Memorial Day through Labor Day M&J Beach Grille is located directly on the beach at the Madison Surf Club. With a full menu of fresh seafood, salads, wraps, burgers & of course lobster rolls, while also serving as assortment of ice cream, candy and snacks as well. They are a BYOB establishment so you can bring your adult beverages to enjoy with your meal, just make sure to call ahead to confirm hours of operation and check if open in case of inclement weather. My first visit there was over Memorial Day Weekend on a beautiful evening and being literally right on the beach the atmosphere doesn't get any better. I had heard they make a good lobster roll so of course I had to give one a try!
Their lobster roll is of your standard sized hot variety served with melted butter and with my first bite I could tell there was plenty of it. The bun itself was buttered as well before being lightly toasted and held up well despite the heavy dosing of butter. The lobster meat itself tasted fresh and was cooked well. I'd compare this roll very favorably with one from the popular Lenny & Joe's less than 4 miles away also in Madison. Both have very similar buns, chunks of meat & heavy on the butter, which I'm never opposed to. Taste wise I'd say it's pretty much a toss up between the two, but as far as view & atmosphere M&J's clearly wins with water views and your feet in the sand.
Standard hot butter roll - $19
w/ fries & coleslaw +$4.25
Overall score = 8.2
The Sea View Snack Bar right on the Mystic River has been serving visitors and residents of Mystic fresh seafood sourced from Maine to Connecticut since 1976. Their menu includes cold lobster rolls, sea scallops, whole clams, calamari, clam fritters, and much more. They have a variety of non-seafood items on their menu as well for anyone in your party that may be allergic or just not into them. Enjoy your meal with a breathtaking view of the Mystic River, centrally located on Route 27 between the Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport.
Although I'm more of a hot butter lobster roll fan I will go for a cold one when it's the only option or comes highly recommended to me. Their roll is a cold mayo version served on a buttered & toasted hot dog style bun. A bed of iceburg lettuce is laid down on the bun first before a generous helping of lobster meat is stuffed on top. I was impressed with the amount of claw meat mixed in and it was cooked well. Overall one of the more solid cold mayo lobster rolls that I've had and would recommend for anyone who's a fan of this style. The fries were as standard as they come and nothing special, but always enjoy having them on the side with any roll. The clam fritters are one of their specialties so we ordered a side of them to sample as well. I thought they were a bit too doughy overall and didn't come with any kind of condiment or sauce.
Standard size cold mayo w/ fries - $21.40
Overall rating = 7.9
Located in Clinton Harbor right at Harborside Marina in Clinton, CT, Shanks has some big competition literally right next door from the well known Lobster Landing. Their glorified "Food Boat" was created from a 1974 Bruno & Stillman 42 foot Commercial Lobster Boat that has been completely customized to house a state of the art commercial kitchen that is capable of cooking fresh seafood, lobster, burgers, and much more. They offer classic New England fry, healthy choices, and land-lubber options. The original boat came from The Sound School in New Haven, CT and was used as a research vessel for 20 years before decommissioning. The “Sounder” was transported from New Haven to Clinton in 2014 and the transformation took nearly a year to complete. We were looking for a place to enjoy dinner by the water and I had heard about Shanks so decided to give it a try. I wasn't sure what to expect but when I see a hot butter lobster roll on the menu and I'm sitting by the water, it's hard for me to resist.
I went with the standard 4oz sized roll, but they also offer larger 6 oz & 8pz options as well. It comes served on your standard hot dog style bun that's been buttered and toasted. The meat is served hot with butter and was stuffed pretty liberally in said roll. The meat seemed fresh enough but was just a bit on the dryer side. I made sure to pour some extra melted better on it to compensate for it. Overall it was decent and the ambience of sitting outside by the water earned some points as well.
Standard 4 oz roll - $19
Medium 6 oz roll - $26
Large 8 oz roll - $32
*All come with house made chips
Add fries - $2
Overall score = 7.9