So, what happens when you are bored and hungry in my household? Obviously you decide to go on a hunt for the best Lobster Roll in Dallas! What would you do? Once the decision was made and after some research, I settled on four Dallas establishments. I then enlisted the help of a friend, we’ll call him the Soul Man, to go with me. Because, let’s be honest… one guy going alone to four restaurants, eating four different sandwiches all in one night is a little sad. But, with TWO people it’s an ADVENTURE!
A few thoughts before we start. First, I am by no means an expert, but I know something is delicious when it puts a smile on my face. Second, There are several places in DFW claiming to have the best Lobster Roll and we obviously did not make it to all of them. Rex’s Seafood only serves theirs on Fridays, Sea Breeze Fish Market & Grill was just too far away in a distant land called Plano. So with that said, We settled on four locations that came highly recommended: TJ’s Seafood Market & Grill, The Capital Grille, East Hampton Sandwich Co. and Driftwood. Let’s get down to business.
Stop #1 – TJ’s Seafood Market & Grill
This place is a little hard to find and DO NOT trust Google Maps (you have failed me again Google), but trust me when I say it’s well worth it. You just get this great feeling when you walk in. The staff is friendly, they have tons of recipes, seafood cooking tips that you can take home and the fresh fish on display (all for sale) looks amazing.
We ordered their much raved about Connecticut Style Lobster Roll and what arrived was just flat out beautiful, with big chucks of lobster meat and two hefty claws. From the first bite you could taste the sweetness of the fresh (never-frozen) lobster and the comfort from the warm lemon-thyme butter. It all just comes together so well on a traditional toasted bun, but what really surprised me the most was the small hint of lemon zest. It was unexpected but truly takes this roll to another level. At $22 it was the most expensive option, but well worth it.
Stop # 2 – The Capital Grille
This was one of our last minute selections, so I didn’t exactly get the chance to put on the appropriate attire. Although the staff was still very nice and security did not escort me out of the bar area, you still feel a little odd walking into a fine dining establishment wearing a t-shirt, old jeans and flip flops (yes I still wear flip flops in February, it’s Texas). I may not have fit in, but I rocked the hell out of that gear Then, just as we were getting excited to try the lobster roll we find out that they actually only serve it at lunch. Talk about research failure! But, the day was saved when our waitress spoke to the kitchen and they were nice enough to make it for us. Game on!
The Maine style lobster roll arrived with a breathtaking amount of meat. Maine style is generally served cold mixed with mayo, herbs, seasoning, sometimes chopped celery and Capital Grille’s version stayed true to this tradition. Once again the taste of the lobster was spot on, fresh with just the right amount of mayo. The diced celery added a nice crunch as well. I quickly realized that picking “the best” was going to be a lot more difficult than I had thought. ($18 on the lunch menu item)
Stop #3 – East Hampton Sandwich Co
Round three brought us to East Hampton Sandwich Co. I really liked the vibe of this place and again the staff was wonderful. We placed our order and as we waited, I overheard the chef mention to the manager, that after ours they were out of lobster. Talk about timing!
The Maine style lobster roll arrived with much less meat than I was expecting, but I didn’t let that deter me. It also had a side of drawn butter in case you wanted to make yourself a Maine/Connecticut lobster roll love child. I take the first bite and its again very good with very mild flavors that complimented the lobster. I can’t say it was as amazing as the first two, but it was still delicious and may have had the best bun of them all. I just couldn’t get over the small amount of lobster meat, but that may have been a side effect of getting the last bit of lobster from the fridge. Either way, it was worth the trip and I plan on going back. ($16 regular menu)
Stop #4 – Driftwood
Driftwood came with a significant amount of fanfare and has been recognized as one of the best restaurants in Dallas, so we had to make the trip to Oak Cliff. I went their knowing that Chef Omar Flores is known for his inventive nature, so I wasn’t shocked when the lobster roll arrived looking more like a “deconstructed” roll or a lobster “muffin.” Unfazed, I shamelessly grabbed my knife and fork and went to work. Out of all of the lobster rolls today, this was probably the most shocking (in a good way). I mean who would have thought to use thin slices of spicy Gherkins pickles and Tarragon Aioli? The flavors were bold and soothing all at once, with a good amount of acidity and a bit of heat at the end. But, you could still taste the fresh lobster. If this roll is any indication of the broader menu, then I can’t wait to go back. ($15 Small Plates Menu)
As a side note (get it! SIDE), out of all the side dishes tonight Driftwood’s Crispy Brussels Sprouts with pork belly and fish sauce was by far the most stunning. It’s a great plate to share with friend and trust me, no one will complain.
Ok, back to business… And the winner is!!
Aside from the obvious winners… me!… and the college graduate children of my future cardiologist… It came down to a close call between TJ’s Seafood Market and Driftwood.
But, in the end I was left thinking… which one would I crave the next time I think of a lobster roll? The answer was easy… TJ’s Connecticut Style Lobster Roll had me at hello.
Here is the picture again, just because I like looking at it…
There you have it… I have spoken! Let it be written on scrolls made from the finest calf hide and shouted in the square by the brightest scholars. Just kidding But, in all seriousness this random adventure has made me realize, what an unbelievable collection of culinary artists we have in Dallas. I look forward to many more adventures. Thank you all for reading and make sure to checkout all of these wonderful places for yourselves. Your taste buds will thank you.
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TJ’s Seafood Market & Grill 4212 Oak Lawn Ave Dallas, TX 75219
The Capital Grille 500 Crescent Court #135 Dallas, TX 75201
East Hampton Sandwich Company 6912 Snider Plaza Dallas, TX 75205