Crack open a lobster, remove the meat, and tuck it into a bun, and you’ve technically got a lobster roll. But a truly great lobster roll is a work of art, and requires a bit more nuance than you might expect.
The most important thing to know about lobster rolls is that they come in two distinct styles: Connecticut-style and Maine-style.
In the most basic sense, Connecticut-style lobster rolls are served warm and tossed with butter, and Maine-style lobster rolls are served cold and tossed with mayonnaise. When you visit the Red Hook Lobster Pound in New York City, for example, their buttery Connecticut-style rolls are served with a squeeze of lemon, and both styles are served on a grilled split-top bun and dusted with a little Old Bay seasoning.
Should you visit Maine and order a lobster roll, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t automatically come with mayo, however; the meat will always be cold, but you’ll most likely be able to pick whether it’s tossed with butter or mayo. At Kennebunkport’s famed Clam Shack, for example, order a lobster roll and you’ll be asked “butter or mayo?”
Connecticut- and Maine-style rolls are both delicious, and neither is better than the other. It really comes down to personal preference!