June 20, 2012

Soup to Nuts: How Maine rolls (hint: it involves lobster)

Locals and tourists are lining up for the time-tested presentation of lobster meat on a bun. Meanwhile, some purveyors are riffing on the classic recipe to appeal to more adventurous taste buds. Wasabi anyone?

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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The lemon zest roll from The Galley in Naples.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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Chef Matt Sullivan of The Galley in Naples displays his zesty lemon lobster roll, Ceasar lobster roll and BLT lobster roll.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below


BITE INTO MAINE, Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth. biteintomaine@gmail.com; biteintomaine.com

Bite Into Maine's lobster rolls cost $13.85 plus tax. The food truck is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. In July, it will stay open until 7 p.m. The business is weather-dependent, so check the website.

THE GALLEY RESTAURANT AND PUB, 327 Roosevelt Trail, Naples. 693-1002; thegalleyseafoodpub.com

The Galley's lobster rolls cost $12.95, plus $2 for one side and an additional $2 for a second side. The restaurant is open 4 to 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

This lobster roll is kind of like sticking a toe in the ocean of possibilities.

"It's a little bit different, but it's not that far out of the box for people," Karl Sutton said. "That one seems to be one that a lot of people are comfortable trying because it's a little bit different, but it's not a completely different than what they're used to."

The picnic-style roll is popular with tourists from the Carolinas because they are used to putting cole slaw on their barbecue.

For customers who want to dive right into the deep end, there's the curry roll, the wasabi roll and the chipotle roll.

The curry roll, Sarah Sutton says, is made with Indian curry, mayo and lime juice.

The wasabi roll is mixed with wasabi powder, mayo and rice vinegar.

The chipotle roll – all the Texas tourists order this one – is mixed with roasted chipotle peppers in an adobo sauce, lime juice, mayo and salt. It has a little kick to it.

"We did a lot of experimenting with the flavors," Karl Sutton said. "We wanted to get something that's complementary, that doesn't really overpower the lobster."

Matt Sullivan from The Galley started experimenting with different lobster rolls about three years ago. He slowly started handing out samples of new styles, and found three or four were fairly popular.

In addition to his classic roll and his "butter lovers roll," which is just lobster meat and butter, Sullivan created a "Galley Roll" made with a little sweet relish and a Caesar lobster roll made with Caesar dressing and fresh grated Parmesan on top.

This year, he introduced a BLT-style lobster roll.

Roll choices are plain, toasted, grilled or garlic bread.

Sullivan's zesty lemon lobster rolls are now outselling the classic lobster rolls, but it wasn't always that way.

Adam Richman discovered the zesty lemon roll a few years ago, when he was in Maine for a wedding and stopped into The Galley on a recommendation. The lobster roll ended up being featured in his book "America the Edible," along with three of Sullivan's other rolls.

"We kept talking over the years, and last year he put us in a spot in Maxim magazine," Sullivan said.

Next came a call from the production company for "Best Sandwich in America," which came to The Galley in May to film a segment for an episode that will air Aug. 8. In each episode of the show, Richman chooses a region of the country and samples three of its best sandwiches. He chooses one of the sandwiches to move on to the finale later in the season, where 12 sandwiches will compete, March Madness-style.

Sullivan's zesty lemon lobster roll will be up against a crab grilled cheese sandwich from New Hampshire and a turkey sandwich from Connecticut.

"(Richman) went on camera and he said he thought it was the best lobster roll in the country," Sullivan said.

But will Mainers go for something different?

Sullivan says his older customers still go for the classic lobster roll.

"But there's a lot of people in the area who like to experiment a little bit with their food," he said, "so we're kind of catering towards that crowd."

The Suttons say it's hard to predict who will go for the nontraditional rolls. Sometimes it's the hardline lobster roll-loving Mainers who order the curry roll or the wasabi roll because they're just looking for something different,

"We get a lot of tourists who want the classic Maine style because this might be the only one lobster roll that they'll have," Sarah Sutton said. "But then we also get a lot of people who may be more comfortable with food trucks in general, and they're more comfortable with ording something that's a little bit different."


Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: mgoad@pressherald.com



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Additional Photos

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The Bite Into Maine food truck at Fort Williams.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Bite Into Maine’s wasabi lobster roll.

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With scenic Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth – and Portland Head Light – as a backdrop, the Bite Into Maine food truck serves a variety of nontraditional lobster rolls, including the curry roll.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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