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Urban Safari : Socially Distanced Search for Lobster Rolls

We have spent the last six weekends searching for lobster rolls around the Boston area (which, by anyone-who-knows-anything‘s estimation, is 50 miles from the Boston Stone, 54 if you extend it to the Sagamore Bridge.)

Being like everyone else in the Commonwealth (WFH-ers), we realized that the Boxster needed to be, uh, exercised, weekly in order to keep its battery sufficiently charged. Also, as nice as WFH-ing is (No commute! Two more hours in our days! Ice cream whenever we want it!), we had to get out into the world every so often.

Being nothing if not efficient, we cleverly combined the charging of the Boxster’s battery with our hard-wired homo sapien need to get out of the office once in a while by hopping in the Boxster on the weekend and driving for no-less-than-30-but-no-longer-than-60 minutes to a destination offering lobster rolls (for one person) and onion rings (for the other person).

Here are our finds. Enjoy 🙂

The Clam Box, Quincy

The Clam Box in Quincy is our go-to place for lobster rolls and fried seafood. They serve an amazingly chunky and delicious sandwich. The onion rings are pretty awesome as well. At just over nine miles from the Stone, it was also the closest.

The Clam Box’s COVID protocol is:

  • Drive to Wollaston Beach;
  • Find parking near The Clambox;
  • Call in the order from the car;
  • Take a walk along the beach for half the time the nice high-school kid on the phone said it would take to complete the order;
  • Turn around and walk back to The Clambox;
  • Pick up the order;
  • Sit on the sea wall and eat your tasty morsels.

In our case, the we-called-in-our-order/it-was-ready time was 15 minutes.

The service was efficient and sunny, and all proper social distancing precautions were observed.

NOTE: Remember to ask for condiments and utensils if you plan on eating anywhere other than near their dining room or patio.

Twin Seafood, West Concord

Twin Seafood is a hidden seafood gem located 22 or so miles inland from the Boston Stone in West Concord, but don’t let that dissuade you from heading there (neither the distance nor the the fact that it is not on the coast). We go at least once a month because their food is JUST THAT AMAZING!!!

Their lobster rolls have the most meat of any we  have had AND they will do it “Connecticut-style.”  For those who can’t imagine for a single second how a lobster roll could be made any other way than the way we make it in Massachusetts (because really, there isn’t), that’s lobster meat cooked in butter and served up hot on a sandwich bun: heart-attack food for sure, but an absolutely worthy way to go (if you aren’t a true-blue Boston Red Sox fan).

Interesting culinary note: Welch’s is still headquartered in Concord, still makes Concord grape juice, jellies, and other great products, and is less than a mile away from Twin Seafood.

Woodman’s, Essex

Everyone in New England knows about Woodman’s being the birthplace of of the I-totally-didn’t-mean-to-do-that fried clam, and their seafood reputation is well-deserved. We make a few smidge-under-72-mile round trips every year and have never (ever) been disappointed.

The Woodman’s folks got the COVID ordering system worked out to a T (take out only, of course):

  • We arrived at the place not knowing what to expect;
  • Police were directing traffic, and steered us toward the back lot (which is literally right next to the Essex River);
  • A nice kid from Woodman’s told to call in our order from the car;
  • They texted us when the order was ready, saying to drive to the side door to pick it up, which we did.

This “service” was so well done that it was actually the fastest arrival-to-eats of all the times we’ve ever been to Woodman’s!

Woodman’s meaty lobster roll can definitely stand shoulder to shoulder with any other in New England. However, their beer-batter onion rings are in a class all their own…OMG!!!

Lobster Hut, Plymouth

Yes, Plymouth Rock Plymouth.

We had read good things about the ‘ Hut, but our experience was mostly a disappointment. While the sandwich certainly had a reasonable amount of lobster meat, it was shredded instead of chunky, and didn’t have any flavor.

Not including any condiments or utensils with our order didn’t help any neither, as this was an eat-in-the-car event. That seemed like an unnecessary goof, as everybody who ordered something had to eat in their cars (the patio was still COVID-ly off limits). We might give them another try at some point, but not anytime soon.

Green Harbor Lobster Pound, Marshfield

The Green Harbor Lobster Pound is our absolute favorite when we want to take a longer drive (over 36 miles–practically a meander) and at the end of it ending up with a lobster roll. The back parking lot overlooks a beautiful marsh and there is almost never a wait to order.

Of all of the lobster rolls we sampled this year, GHLP’s was the one with the most chunks. Every piece was either from the tail or claw. No shredded meat in this sandwich, and the taste is every bit as sweet as you imagined it would be!!!

Clambake, Ipswich

When we drove to Ipswich, we had planned on going to the Clambox of Ipswich (NOT associated with the one in Quincy).

However, the line to order looked to be an hour long as it didn’t move an inch during the 12 minutes we stood in it, so we bagged that idea and decided to see what else was around. Ipswich Clambake (Bake not Box) showed up on our search as being almost exactly a mile away (and 35 miles from the Stone)…and we were NOT DISAPPOINTED!!!

While not the chunkiest of lobster meats, it was plentiful and flavorful. We were not sure why, but it was actually THE TASTIEST of all of the ones on this list! The closest we can figure is that it was a very warm day and the roll was served at just the right temperature for the lobster flavor to come punching through.

The Ipswich Clambake was a last minute find, and surprisingly excellent. The onion rings? Yeah…nicely battered and definitely worth it!

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