Maine lobster roll $24, Neptune Oyster
The first thing you notice is the bun from B&R bakery, grilled to a faultless golden brown in butter. Bordering on purist, the roll shies away from extraneous herbs or vegetables, instead combining tender claw and knuckle meat with the more robust tail meat in just enough black-pepper-spiked mayo. With each bite containing a carefully balanced proportion of fresh lobster and sweet butter, it's a shining testament to the longstanding harmonious marriage of the two. Bottom line 4.2 ounces of lobster, but what it lacks in girth it makes up for in richness.
Maine lobster roll $29, B&G Oysters
With a combination of meaty tail and tender claws bound with aioli and lemon juice and studded with crisp bits of celery and a scatter of chopped chives, Barbara Lynch's offering is the most decked-out of the lot. Complete with bright and refreshing coleslaw, house-made sweet-pickle chips, and a dainty boat of crunchy fries, it elevates the humble seaside snack-shack sandwich into an impress-your-date affair. Bottom line 6.6 ounces of lobster and a study in complementary flavors.
Lobster roll $16.99, Belle Isle Seafood
There's no piddling around with knuckles or trifling claw meat at this small, cash-only shack in East Boston. Instead, next to fried clam dinners and lobster pies, expect a lobster roll the size of the baddie from Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. In my roll were four whole lobster tails not-so-daintily crammed into a single grilled hot dog bun (the only butterless example we tasted). Taking a cue from its no-frills surroundings, the meat comes with just a thin coat of mayo that lets the lobster do the talking. Bottom line 7.7 ounces of lobster; it offers twice as much seafood for your buck.
Neptune Oyster 63 Salem Street, Boston, 617-742-3474, neptuneoyster.com
B&G Oysters 550 Tremont Street, Boston, 617-423-0550, bandgoysters.com
Belle Isle Seafood 1267 Saratoga Street, East Boston, 617-567-1619
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