Welcome to lobster season. While Chicago is much further than a stone's throw away from the nearest fresh lobster source, chefs are going the extra mile to ensure their crustacean-stuffed rolls taste just as fresh as those served on the coast of Maine. Here's where to get the real deal.
Chef Ryan McCaskey’s Maine roots, and love of lobster, shine in one of the best renditions in the city. The rolls and lobsters, which are seasoned with chive mayo and a sprinkling of paprika, are imported from the East Coast. Housemade vinegar chips provide the perfect crunchy accompaniment.
1639 S. Wabash Ave.; 312-360-9500
The Rich Man Po’ Boy is a testament to elegance. Freshly boiled lobster is stuffed in a brioche roll with a generous slathering of foie gras, and then finished with crispy fried oysters.
441 N. Clark St.; 312-955-1900
An East Coast supply is flown in daily to meet the demand of this all-lobster restaurant. A hefty portion of meat is dressed in tarragon mayo on an authentic, New England-style garlic-butter toasted bun.
Price: At $12.95, it's the cheapest roll on our list
12 E. Cedar St.; 312-929-2423
Live lobsters are sourced from Maine for this market-fresh roll. The meat is simply prepared with a squeeze of lemon juice, celery salt and parsley. A quarter-pound of the seasoned meat is served on a buttered lobster roll with housemade celery mayo.
2956 N. Sheffield Ave.; 773-687-8177
What sets this rendition apart is the sautéed shallots and celery, which are mixed with Maine lobster meat, lemon juice, chives, lemon zest and mayo. The salad is cooled, served on a traditional roll and covered in chives and crispy onions.
Price: $23 (lunch only)
24 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-372-4243
Heather Terhune keeps her mini version of the dish simple with Maine lobster tossed in mayonnaise on a toasted bun. Each light and refreshing roll is garnished with a sprinkling of freshly grated lemon zest and sprigs of microcelery for a bit of color and crunch.
Price: $16 for three; $32 for five
505 N. State St.; 312-755-9704
For this ultrafresh take, Maine lobsters are cooked in apples, herbs, bay leaves and peppercorns, and then tossed with mayo, tarragon, chives, and salt and pepper and served on a toasted roll with butterhead lettuce.
700 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-525-3400
Whole Northern Maine lobsters are cooked in a rich seafood stock before being turned into lobster salad with housemade aïoli and served on a trio of locally made mini-rolls. It's recommended that the lobster rolls be paired with Goose Island’s Sofie, a light farmhouse ale that complements the delicate meat.
642 N. Clark St.; 312-475-1390
Fuse a lobster roll with a BLT sandwich and you have the PLT – pancetta, lobster and tomato roll served with a side of scenic splendor on the 16th-floor terrace. One pound of warm tail and claw meat from Maine lobsters is tossed in lemon butter and served on a toasted New England bun with pancetta and heirloom tomatoes.
401 N. Wabash Ave.; 312-588-8600
Served only on the rooftop of the Loop steakhouse, this classic take features Maine lobster mixed with mayonnaise and celery salt, and served on a brioche bun. Chef Billy Caruso admits it’s not unique, but it's definitely authentic. Each roll comes with a side of fries.
180 N. Field Blvd.; 312-938-4303