Confessions of a Picky Eater: Maine Lobster Roll

Staff Writer
Sometimes, enjoying food in its birthplace can make all the difference
The Chart Room's Lobster Roll
Credit: Vicki Salemi
The Chart Room’s lobster roll on the Black Point Inn’s veranda.

If you’re on the road frequently like me, you may happen to surround yourself with people who love trying out local delicacies, the catch of the day, and even local beers on tap. “When in Rome,” right?

Well, if you’re also like me and know what you like and prefer to stick with it, there’s nothing wrong with that either (that’s what I keep telling myself anyway). Sure, it could be fun to venture outside your comfort zone, like trying a farm fresh, locally-grown piece of rhubarb and strawberry pie, but sometimes you just want to go with the ol’ faithful of chocolate mousse.

Enter the Black Point Inn, a charming seaside resort in Prouts Neck, Scarborough, Maine. It’s the type of place where guests enjoy sipping an evening cocktail in Adirondack chairs on the front lawn to escape from the otherwise hectic pace of life and to bask in the breathtaking sunset. It’s the kind of place where you challenge your travel mates to a stimulating game of checkers in the parlor room on comfortable white wicker furniture; the type of place where time stands still as you enjoy afternoon tea in the cozy lobby with assorted muffins and pastries in front of their wood burning fireplace.

So, you can imagine the delicious menu for one of their restaurants, The Chart Room. Crab cakes, chilled oysters, and New England clam chowder, oh my!

But in true picky eater fashion, that’s not what I ordered. I did, however, order a local dish: that’s right, their trusty lobster roll. With a touch of mayonnaise, shredded iceberg lettuce, and New England-style roll, I figured I couldn’t go wrong by ordering a light meal.

And I certainly didn’t — as a fan of lobster but not all of the work that goes into eating it, there’s nothing better than a sandwich that’s delicious but also easy to eat. As a New York City dweller, there are lobster rolls available to me at home but it’s like eating a slice of pizza outside the Big Apple. Why would bother when you can get the real deal in its original location?

Although I pass up some menu items in Maine, like oysters and crab cakes, out of personal preference, when it comes to a good old-fashioned locally caught lobster, sitting outside on the veranda not only eating local but enjoying the scenery, it becomes the quintessential bite of New England.

There’s something special about Maine lobster rolls in particular. The New England or frankfurter roll is baked a little bit differently from a typical hot dog roll. Technically, the sides end up being flat and can be buttered on the outside. While it’s lightly grilled, the split occurs on the top instead of on the side. Plus, there’s lobster meat in the roll served cold instead of warm and there’s usually a light spread of mayonnaise inside the bun or even tossed in with lobster meat itself. A typical serving size is four ounces, and  this Chart Room didn’t disappoint this picky eater.

So, as I sat on the veranda taking in the ambiance of wood-paneled walls adorned by local artist Holly Ready’s artwork as the Atlantic Ocean beckoned in the distance, bites of the lobster roll in turn became the focal point of the culinary experience, and rightly so.

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