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14 Dynamite Lobster Rolls Around LA

By Lesley Balla
June 10, 2014
Photo by: Connie & Ted's

Los Angeles is on a roll with the iconic lobster sandwich. We’ve seen a proliferation of the East Coast staple over the years, but it's in full-tilt mode of late: with options ranging from the traditional Northeast styles to the twists - like banh mi fixings and even caviar - that you'd expect from free-wheeling LA kitchens. Whether you like your lobster meat chilled with a touch of mayo, a tad warm and drizzled with butter or somewhere in between - we swing in every direction as long as the meat is fresh and the buns are toasted, here are 14 dynamite renditions to add to your must-eat list.

  • Photo by: Lesley Balla

    Littlefork

    Jason Travi's roll at this Hollywood restaurant is serious buisness. For one, the abundant chunks of claw and tail meat have just the right amount of mayo. And then the bun - in this case a Rockenwagner split-top Parker roll - is soft, slightly sweet and perfectly toasted on both sides. The sandwich, which is a traditional size, comes with some dynamite housemade salt-and-vinegar potato chips that give any bagged chip a run for its money and a small pile of pickled cucumber salad. The only problem? It's gone in a flash.

    1600 Wilcox Ave.; 323-465-3675

  • Photo by: Connie & Ted's

    Connie & Ted’s

    You could just go to Michael Cimarusti’s sprawling West Hollywood seafood “shack” for a lobster roll but chances are you won’t get out of there without at least a few oysters, a couple of cocktails, maybe some chowder and a piece of strawberry rhubarb pie. Still, the lobster rolls are darn near perfect: The split-top rolls are buttered and perfectly toasted, overflowing with sweet lobster meat either tossed in a mayo dressing or warm with butter and a few pretty celery leaves on top for good measure. They come with a slaw or fries. If you’re getting two rolls, get slaw and fries. They’re both great. 

    8171 Santa Monica Blvd.; 323-848-2722

  • Photo by: Dylan + Jeni/Hinoki

    Hinoki & the Bird

    One of the most unique lobster rolls in town is this stunner from Kuniko Yagi at the new Century City restaurant. The bun is made with charcoal, so it’s jet black with a bit of smoky flavor, and the lobster meat gets a bit of heat from curry, chiles and Thai basil. It’s a beautiful and delicious rendition that fits the chic and contemporary space, and now that Hinoki is open for lunch, we can see ourselves eating this on that great patio anytime.

    10 W. Century Dr.; 310-552-1200

  • Hungry Cat

    David Lentz was one of the first chefs to bring his version of a classic East Coast-style lobster roll to the LA area when he opened the Hollywood Hungry Cat almost 10 years ago. The sandwich is on the petite side, but it's chock-full of fresh lobster meat tossed in a light lemon aioli, some herbs, with the challah bun beautifully toasted and buttery. All in all, it’s one delicious lobster roll, especially when you get some oysters, sea urchin and a fresh-fruit cocktail beforehand. It’s also available at the Santa Monica location.

    1535 Vine St.; 323-462-2155

  • Photo by: Petrossian

    Petrossian

    Per usual, the West Hollywood caviar house does not mess around with even something as everyday as a lobster roll. This is chock-full of delicacies - sweet lobster meat, sea urchin, caviar - plus a few other flavors like fennel, daikon, chives and parsley. You end up with pure decadence in a soft brioche bun.

    321 N. Robertson Blvd.; 310-271-6300

  • Photo by: EMC Seafood

    EMC Seafood

    Koreatown’s favorite new seafood spot makes a great lobster roll as authentic as any you’d find in New England. No mayo here: instead the sweet, pink lobster meat is laced with tarragon butter and a bit of sea salt and stuffed in a soft brioche bun. Mid-range in price - $16 at lunch, and $9 for a mini or $18 for a full roll at dinner - you can always hit a happy hour for $1 oysters (4-7 PM daily) and build a full  lobster roll meal from there.

    3500 W. 6th St.; 213-351-9988

  • Photo by: Malibu Pier Restaurant

    Malibu Pier Restaurant & Bar

    If there’s one place you want to eat a lobster roll, it’s right at the beach, preferably with tanned surfers on the horizon, sand just feet away from your toes, and a good gin and tonic nearby. Enter Jason Fulliflove’s addition at the new restaurant on the pier. Here it’s dressed lightly with lemon aioli and chives and served with a pile of housemade potato chips. It’s now available for lunch and dinner daily and weekend brunch.

    23000 Pacific Coast Highway; 310-456-8820

  • Photo by: Caulfield's

    Caulfield’s

    For a twist on the standard, the restaurant and bar at Sixty Beverly Hills (formerly The Thompson) has a lobster roll menu every Thursday for the summer with three cold and three warm options, all served on cute little brioche buns. There’s of course New England and Connecticut styles, cold with citrus aioli and warm with butter, respectively; one with pineapple slaw; a banh mi with pickled vegetables and sambal; and even a lobster po’ boy. Choose two rolls, which are on the mini-size, and hand-cut fries for $22. Available from 5-11 PM every week.

    9360 Wilshire Blvd.; 310-388-6860

  • Lobsta Truck

    When the bright-red truck rolls into your neighborhood, go. You have a choice between butter and a light mayonnaise dressing on this roll filled with big chunks of fresh Maine lobster. Both are truly satisfying, served on a toasted split-top bun, just the way it should be. Our advice: Go with the extra meat. That $5 extra is worth every succulent bite. And maybe throw in some chowdah and a bag of Cape Cod chips for good measure.

  • Son of a Gun

    The lobster roll at Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s seafood sister to Animal is a tiny thing of beauty. The chilled salad is chock-full of goodness, from the chunks of lobster meat to the celery and lemon aioli. It’s bite-sized, sure, but how can you not love something that’s garnished with fresh potato chips… on top of the sandwich? Get two.

    8370 W. Third St.; 323-782-9033

  • Photo by: Water Grill

    Water Grill

    When the venerable Downtown LA restaurant transformed from a haute expense-account dining room to a casual expense-account dining room, we were happy with the menu filled with things like fish 'n' chips, clam chowder and a lobster roll. One of the priciest rolls in the bunch, here it’s served warm with butter on a split-top bun with a side of fantastic fries and pickles. It's also available at the spacious newish Santa Monica sibling.

    544 S. Grand Ave.; 213-891-0900

  • Cousins Maine Lobster Truck

    This truck, much like the Lobsta Truck, serves both the Connecticut- and Maine-style rolls, the former served warm and drizzled with butter, the latter cold with a light touch of mayo. With Cousins, we recommend the Connecticut-style for its sheer simplicity, just big chunks of lobster meat on a split-top roll. You can get other specialties on the truck - shrimp rolls, tacos, clam chowder - but the lobster roll is really where it’s at.

  • Photo by: BP Oysterette

    BP Oysterette

    It’s a pretty simple thing, the lobster roll. This Santa Monica restaurant’s version is a winner with fresh lobster meat, a light dressing and a good roll. The fries are pretty dynamite as well, as is the view from the patio: ocean as far as the eye can see.

    1355 Ocean Ave.; 310-576-3474

  • Photo by: Del Rey Deli

    Del Rey Deli

    This small deli does a great service to its South Bay neighborhood, especially by using top-quality ingredients for the hot and cold sandwiches. They certainly don't skimp on goodness with their version of a lobster "roll:" a toasted demi baguette stuffed with butter-basted lobster, avocado, spicy remoulade and red cabbage.

    8501 Pershing Dr.; 310-439-2256
     

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Places Mentioned

The Hungry Cat Santa Monica

Seafood • Pacific Palisades

Food23 Decor19 Service21 Cost$50
 
 
 
Blue Plate Oysterette

Seafood • Santa Monica

Food22 Decor17 Service20 Cost$37
 
 
 
Water Grill

Seafood • Downtown

Food26 Decor24 Service25 Cost$64
 
 
 
The Hungry Cat

Seafood • Hollywood

Food23 Decor19 Service21 Cost$50
 
 
 
Connie and Ted's

Seafood • West Hollywood

Food- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
Petrossian

French • West Hollywood

Food25 Decor21 Service24 Cost$62
 
 
 
Littlefork

American • Hollywood

Food24 Decor19 Service21 Cost$54
 
 
 
Son of a Gun

Seafood • Beverly Grove

Food26 Decor17 Service22 Cost$48
 
 
 
Hinoki & the Bird

Asian • Century City

Food23 Decor26 Service23 Cost$78
 
 
 
Water Grill

Seafood • Santa Monica

Food26 Decor24 Service25 Cost$64
 
 
 
Caulfield's

American • Beverly Hills

Food23 Decor21 Service22 Cost$54
 
 
 
Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Malibu Pier Restaurant & Bar

New American • Malibu

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
 
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