In a nutshell: For the purest, freshest, most incredible hot lobster roll you’ve ever had, this harbor-side shack on the coast of Connecticut is the place to visit.
When a seafood shack is open only six months out of the year (operating daily between Memorial Day to Labor Day and only weekends in most of May, September, and October, at that), you know the food has to be fresh. Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough is just that place. People flock there like seagulls to get their hands on Abbott’s seafood.
The process is simple. Peruse the galley menu as you wait in line, then step up to the window to place your order. You’ll get a ticket with a number on it; mosey around to the side to hang out by the long red counter for pick-up.
While you’re waiting for the food to be done, send your companions to grab a table before the seats fill up like the side of a ship being swarmed by barnacles.
Before long, your seafood will be ready for eating!
It’s easy to see why Abbott’s is renowned for their exceptional lobster roll. A quarter pound of pure lobster meat (more than is found in a small lobster) is served piping hot with melted creamery butter, mounded on a toasted bun. Connecticut-style preparation uses no mayonnaise (in contrast to Maine-style), allowing the natural unsullied flavor of the lobster to shine through: indeed, the generous pile of meaty lobster chunks tastes so fresh, it’s as if the crustacean was swimming in the sea that morning. The lightly toasted bun acts as the perfect cradle. These rolls are so good you’ll want to be “shellfish” and have one (or two) for yourself.
Another seafood-sandwich option gets inspiration from the lobster’s closely-related cousin, the crab. While not as mind-blowing as the lobster roll, the crab roll is still a solid contender with an ample portion of much finer meat.
For those who want an interactive eating experience, one fan favorite is the New England Lobster Feast. Priced depending on the market, the meal begins with a bowl of light, clear broth-based Noank-style clam chowder. This wasn’t quite my cup of tea, as I’m more of a fan of the cream-based New England clam chowder, but this was something different for sure.
A tidy net of steamed clams and mussels and a few icy cold shrimp, all still in their shells, follow suit. Served with drawn butter and cocktail sauce for dipping, these are merely precursors to the main event.
The pièce de résistance of the New England Lobster Feast is a 11⁄8 lb. succulently steamed lobster, accompanied by coleslaw and potato chips. The crustacean is ready for you to tie a bib around your neck, grab a heavy-duty lobster cracker, and get crackin’ so you can deftly extract the pure lobster meat. Drawn butter on the side is the perfect accoutrement to enhance the lobster’s flavor.
With the air perfumed by the sweet smell of pink lobster meat, briny steamed mollusks, and salty sea air, this is summer paradise.
Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough
117 Pearl Street