7/24/2012 12:12:00 PM

New York's 8 Best Lobster Rolls

Red Hook Lobster Pound
In our books, summer time means lobster roll time. New York City is full of restaurants and food vendors that offer unique takes on the claw-stuffed sandwich, but figuring out who is best is a tricky feat. Should the tastiest roll go light on the mayo? Should it be adorned with extras like lettuce? Lobster rolls are pricey, so you want to know your selection will deliver before throwing down $15 or more. Click through the below slideshow to see who serves the Big Apple's best lobster rolls according to our 2012 New York City Restaurants guide and let us know about your favorites in the comments.

34 comments :

  1. Save your money on overpriced lobster rolls in New York and use it to travel to Maine! Lobster in Maine is now $2.50 per pound off the boat, $3.99 per pound retail, and $5.99 per pound for harder to get hard shells. Many lobstermen cannot make enough to pay for their boat expenses and labor, and have pulled their traps till the market improves. New York restaurants are just capitalizing on your ignorance! As H.L. Menken said "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public".

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    1. Go to Maine? Are you serious? Too far, and after a day or two, boring! Just go to Luke's Lobster. There are three locations in Manhattan--no problem. Second best is in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

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    2. A NYC lobster roll is a poor imitation.
      Give me Reds and a boring week in Maine anytime.

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  2. Ed's Chowder House? Are you kidding??? I am originally from New Bedford, and my husband and I stopped in there last year. These were NOT lobsters, but some midget third cousin of a crayfish! Remember the flap about Zabar's and *zobster*? Well, unless Ed's has seen the light on the waves, and started selling the REAL stuff - then go elsewhere! The photo in this story looks like the Real Deal - but what showed up on the plates of all four of us was NOTHING resembling lobster. Since I live upstate now, I make a weekly trek to the 99 chain - from Boston originally, where I ate while in grad school - THAT is real lobster!!!

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    1. I'm from New Bedford too!! I'm surprised that the lobster rolls at the 99 are good. For my money, give me Gene's Lobster Shack in Fairhaven. ;)

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    2. Had Ed's a couple of years back and was totally disgusted by it. It tasted like it had been in the refrigerator too long. Ugh!

      Pearl Oyster Bar has the best. Flex Muscles on the upper east side was not bad at all but Pearl is the winner.

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  3. This list is ridiculous and misleading. All you've done is take the places best known for lobster rolls and listed them in order of their existing Zagat "Food" ratings for the entire restaurant, rather than actually basing it on the lobster rolls. Try actually doing the work, and rating the lobster rolls, and you'll find the results are quite different.

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  4. If you want a good to great lobster roll you have to get on your pony and ride. Maine to Nova Scotia in the Summer is the place!

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  5. The best lobster rolls are at CYRILS in Montauk also at Gurneys Inn!!

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  6. One name not on the list and should be is Bongo Seafood Lounge in the West Village http://www.bongonyc.com/ Great sunset views too!

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  7. I agree with the last post. Bongo Seafood Lounge on West 10th and West Side Hwy has by far the best lobster roll I have ever tried. I've driven up and down the cape and nothing compares.

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  8. I've tried Luke's and was disappointed--they were a pale comparison to Bongo in the West Village, still the best even after all these new competitors!

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    1. Ludicrous. Unless you're an employee of Bongo, this seems tough to support on any objective level.

      The Bongo's roll is smaller, based on lobster salad (with the lobster chopped into small bits and then mixed with salad dressing and filler), and is served cold (sometimes after spending a little time in the fridge). Unless you happen to prefer cold lobster salad to fresh lobster in warm butter, then this makes no sense. If you prefer the mayo laden salad-style rolls, you can find better ones at Pearl, Mary's, Ed's, etc. The Bongo roll is pretty cheap, but far from the best.

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  10. Bongo Seafood Lounge has the best lobster rolls in Manhattan. Fresh, simple and delicious every time. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water!

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  11. I concur that Bongo Seafood Lounge has the best lobster rolls in Manhattan.

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  12. ooh yes, BONGO was the first to bring the Cape to NYC, over 13 years ago, and they continue to be the tastiest lobster roll in town! Their roll has actual flavor and not just a bunch of mayo, and the buttery toasted bun adds a lot of extra YUM!It's really the best, and they have lots of other great food and hand-crafted cocktails. Now I'm going to have to go there tonight! BONGO!

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  13. I grew up spending summers on Cape Cod, and the only lobster roll in NYC I will eat is Bongo's. Pearl's roll is over-mayo'ed slop. Luke's rolls are inconsistently buttered. Mary's doesn't seem to think a lobster roll is a sandwich that should be picked up and eaten by hand. Bongo's owners are Cape Cod people and know from lobster rolls. Give some recognition where it's (over)due!

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    1. Red's is the way to go! On the wicasset. And they apologize if there is a slight price increase! This year the price was down a buck.

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  14. For a lobster roll Julia Child would have loved try Bongo; you get Andrea and Jeffrey and the hypnotizing cole slaw too!!

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  15. Love the Lobster Roll at Bongo Seafood Lounge in the West Village. The lobster pieces are fresh, huge, and tasty, while the bread has a buttery sweetness. Bongo here I come!

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  16. I am from the Boston area and I agree that Bongo has the BEST lobster rolls in NYC

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  17. I love Pearl Oyster Bar - kudos on the ranking!! I am surprised like many others on this thread that Bongo wasn't on the list.

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  18. I had a bad experience at Ed's Lobster Bar with a badly reheated "fresh" whole lobster, so I stopped eating there. The lobster rolls had been decent, but nothing spectacular. By the way, its not in NoLIta, but in SoHo. I agree with the others, if you are going to do a story like this, do the actual research by eating the stuff.

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  19. BONGO RULES!!!!!!!! By far the freshest Lobster Rolls,and the best cocktails to wash them down! Andrea and Jeffrey RULE , great food, great drinks and beautiful hosts!!!

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  20. Bongo is hands down the best. It is delicious, hearty and perfectly spiced to perfection. It helps that it can be washed down with the best drinks. Bongo is definitely a NYC treasure.

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  21. Best of the best is Lobster Roll aka "Lunch" in Amagansett, Long Island !!!

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  22. Best lobster roll I've ever tasted outside of Maine is Bongo's lobster roll. Great location right across from the Hudson and the owners are fab! What makes Bongo's special is the consistency. That lobster roll always taste the same. Wash it down with an ultimate margarita. Mmmm, I might walk down there now for one!

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  23. bongo's is good. red hook on the truck or at the pound is the best by far. Take it from someone who spent many summers in Maine. Red hook tastes and feels like the real thing.

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  24. You seriously messed up by leaving Bongo off this list. It shows a real lack of knowledge and history. I've had all the rolls mentioned, and as a native Bostonian, Bongo beats them all head to head.

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  25. RHLP uses frozen lobster. Boo.

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  26. Not only do I only eat lobster rolls in Maine. I only eat lobster in Maine. Period! There is no comparison anywhere and it can't be replicated. So I stuff myself for the week I'm there each year until I'm sick. Then that usually covers me for the next 11 months.

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  27. Wow, not cool, Bongo's. Just because the comments can be made anonymously is no reason to do the Yelp game here on Zagat. It's pretty easy to hear the voice of one person (or maybe two people max) in all the various Bongo's comments. And obviously, Bongo's doesn't have several times more lovers here than Mary's, Pearl, Luke's and Red Hook combined. Stop gaming the system.

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  28. No they don't. Stop spreading BS. They have tanks where they keep them live. Many people have seen them.

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