Atlanta's 10 Best Bets for Lobster Rolls
Summertime's the right time for a lobster roll, if you're one for those sort of things. Cool, crisp, clean, creamy, salty, sweet…buttery. Yep, the lobster roll's a thing to seek out. Oddly enough, it's an item that tends to see chefs and diners alike hewing closer to tradition in the search of an ideal, with only minuscule changes to the formula to indicate taste. The lobster certainly isn't the burger or the hot dog, where haute cuisine versions present "interpretations" of a classic. Maybe that's boring, or maybe that's for the best — just let that lobster meat shine through? Here's where to track 'em down in Atlanta.
Atlanta Fish Market: This Buckhead institution (you've been staring at that giant fish outside for years and you know it) serves up a traditional Maine-style roll, but adds a little cayenne pepper to the chilled meat delivered in a split-top brioche bun.
265 Pharr Rd.; 404-262-3165
Atlantic Seafood Company: Up in Alpharetta, this long-running seafood institution serves up a salad-y lobster roll (pictured) on its lunch menu. Fresh Maine lobster is mixed with a citrus aïoli, butter lettuce and served on a sweet roll with housemade Old Bay potato chips.
2345 Mansell Rd., Alpharetta; 770-640-0488
The Big Ketch: The seasonally available lobster roll at this upscale-casual Buckhead spot comes two ways: chilled, with Maine lobster tossed with lemon aioli and celery on a toasted brioche, or as a hot buttered lobster roll (pictured at top), straight-up and no-nonsense with just a lemon wedge and drawn butter for garnish.
3279 Roswell Rd.; 404-474-9508
Bocado: Available in limited amounts and only on Saturdays, this lobster roll — poached claw and tail meat tossed with mayo, tarragon and other herbs — is one of the heftier in town, and often comes served with a side of soup or bisque.
887 Howell Mill Rd. NW; 404-815-1399
Crawfish Shack: A tasty lobster roll awaits you at this Vietnamese-influenced Cajun seafood restaurant on Buford Highway, but the preparation's all Connecticut — it comes warmed and tossed with a lemon-garlic butter and tarragon leaves. Word is you may be able to get your lobster fried too.
4337 Buford Hwy.; 404-329-1610
JCT. Kitchen: Usually available on Fridays and Saturdays, JCT.'s lobster roll makes up for what it sometimes lacks in size with outrageously fresh flavor. Chives, celery and lemon juice all make their way into the light but rich mayo, tossed to order and served on a girdled bun.
1198 Howell Mill Rd.; 404-477-6260
Legal Sea Foods: Located in Downtown's Hilton Garden Inn, this Southern outpost of the Massachusetts heavyweight uses meat from the entire lobster for its rolls (pictured), dressed lightly with celery and served on a toasted brioche bun.
275 Baker St.; 678-500-3700
Lusca/Octopus Bar: When it's available, the lobster roll at EAV's late-night Octopus Bar is a real winner, and the same owners feature it at their Brookwood spot Lusca (though only on Fridays and Saturdays, at the bar and during happy hour). Served Maine-style cold and fresh, the lobster meat's dressed with chopped herbs and a mayo that's mixed with tomalley, the rich paste that's sometimes referred to as lobster "liver."
1829 Peachtree Rd. NE; 678-705-1486
560 Gresham Ave.; 404-627-9911
The Optimist: Executive chef Adam Evans has designed two different lobster rolls for the two sections of this Westside seafood hot spot. The slightly warmed main-dining-room version's available at lunchtime, while the in the evening a chilled lobster roll, with meat tossed in a lemony aïoli, is served in the oyster bar.
914 Howell Mill Rd.; 404-477-6260
Souper Jenny: Owner Jenny Levinson was among the lobster roll pioneers in ATL; hers predates the trend's peak a few years back. Available at times at both the Souper Jenny restaurants and mobile food truck, Jenny's chilled Maine-style roll features a bright, lemony mayo dressing and a crisp celery crunch.