Cape Cod Lobster Rolls

Many of the guests staying at one of the bed and breakfast inns associated with the Classic Inns of Historic Cape Cod Bay want to experience a true New England lobster meal. As a wash-a-shore to Cape Cod, meaning I have spent many years here but since I was not born here I can never claim to be a true Cape Codder, I will not even start to argue the advantage of a Cape Cod lobster over that of a Maine lobster. Lobster is considered a delicacy by many and a very rare treat for visitors from distant parts of the country or world that are not accustomed to its presence on nearly all restaurant menus.  

Although a treat today, Boston lore tells the story of when the mid-1800s prisoners at the Charles Street Jail rioted to protest the daily servings of lobster.  Lobster was so prevalent in the Boston harbor, it was so inexpensive it was considered only suitable for the incarcerated. The prisoners and officials agreed to limit lobster to twice a week.  Oh, how times have changed. 

The ultimate lobster experience is the traditional New England Clam Bake that starts with New England clam chowder, followed by steamers or maybe a quahog or two, and then the whole steamed/boiled lobster.  Sausages, potatoes, onions, carrot, and corn on the cob often supplement the seafood. 

On Cape Cod we have several companies that will bring a real New England Clam Bake to your home. I have used Wimpy’s Seafood Café in Osterville several times. The Lobster Pot in Provincetown always has The Clambake on its menu where the price depends on the size of the lobster you select, choose from the 1 1/4 to 2 pound or ask the server about the Jumbo (???) Lobster.

Eating a whole boiled lobster requires tools like crackers and picks to access and remove the meat and a fair degree of determination.  Even with tips from experienced local friends or the waiter, it can be laborious and messy and a bib is mandatory. I have found that my degree of pleasure from consuming a lobster has diminished as the work increased. My solution is to order a lobster roll. Someone else does all the work to get the meat and you have all the joy eating it. On the Cape, a lobster roll is usually made of large chunks of fresh lobster with a little mayonnaise and sometimes celery and a light, often secret, seasoning. The mixture is cooled before serving on a roll. I have tasted lobster rolls from Bourne to Provincetown and each cook’s recipe is a little different and the type of roll can vary greatly.  The key is, if it’s fresh lobster the rest doesn’t matter much.  I often eat all the lobster and never touch the roll.

In Bourne, I recommend the Lobster Trap overlooking Buzzards Bay. Nice views if you eat in and also a great fresh fish market to take something home for the next nights dinner.  In Sandwich, I get the largest lobster roll I have ever had at the Aqua Grille right on the Sandwich Marina.  Also, just up the road on the Cape Cod Canal, Seafood Sam’s has a smaller version that is just right for a little afternoon treat at a great price. When we have an afternoon free, we head down 6A to the Sesuit Harbor Café in Dennis. The Café sits right on the water in the back of the Northside Marina. The predictable long-wait line is made bearable with a glass of you own BYO wine or a cold beer.  Usually the guys will wait in line while the girls secure an umbrella picnic table.  Pleasant wait staff delivers your feast to your table. I add some of their great onion rings and enjoy the dramatically changing views as the tides flow. 

Every spring when we reopen our Inn, all my favorite Seafood Shacks are also reopening and I enjoy revisiting each and reacquainting myself with their unique lobster rolls. To help you in your search for the perfect lobster meal, please consider staying at one of the Classic Inns of Historic Cape Cod Bay? Each innkeeper has a favorite seafood restaurant that he/she would be glad to refer you to for a great meal and an experience that makes for wonderful memories to take with you.

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