Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Montauk: The Lobster Roll Debate (Duryea's vs. Lobster Roll)

lobster rollImage by Henry C via Flickr

Montauk: The Lobster Roll Debate - Who's is Yummier, Duryea's or Lobster Roll?

We have been living in NYC now for a year and a half, and have had the privilege of exploring the quaint and charming Montauk, NY. Montauk is much less glitzy than East Hampton, but the Lobster Rolls alone make it well worth the few extra miles!

Let's get to the brass tax of this issue! Who serves up the tastier Lobster Roll in Montauk - the lesser known "Duryea's" or the more touristy & well known "Lobster Roll Restaurant" (marked with a sign that simply says "Lunch" on Montauk Hwy). (websites for both below)

The Analysis:

Pros of Duryea's Lobster Roll:

*Duryea's is on the water, and you eat on a cool, old, shaggy looking dock right over the water, it is a quintessential experience!
*You can see the fresh buckets of seafood that the fisherman just brought in, it does not get more authentic and fresh than this.
*The Bread is a nice sesame sandwich roll that seems to have a little butter on the inside and was thrown onto a griddle. It has that perfect slightly crunchy texture but doesn't fall apart like a crusty loaf might.
*The Lobster Salad. The salad itself isn't overly worked with other ingredients, so you can actually see the lobster chunks, and even get multiple pieces of full claw (meat).
*The Fans - last summer we saw Ina Gartner from "Barefoot Contessa" eating a Lobster roll at the table next to us - that is a huge endorsement from a world famous foodie!

Duryea's Cons
* When we went in 2008 they didn't have a liquor license so even though we brought an ice cold Sauvignon Blanc with us, we weren't allowed to cork it there (but, don't kid yourself, we found a way to be sneaky and drink our vino with our lobster rolls!!!)
**However, rumor has it that they now have their liquor license, so if that is the case, problem solved!!

Lobster Roll Pros:
It's pretty unique to drive by a nothing looking place on the side of the road that just has a large overhead billboard that says "Lunch." We love the idea of getting an unique, hometown meal at what appears on the outside to be a "dive."
*There are no shortage of options on the menu, and it seems like a place more friendly to the person who isn't quite a "foodie" or who is toting kids or grandparents along.
*This no frills joint serves it's Lobster Salad on a hotdog bun, and offers mini buns for those wanting a lighter snack!
*The portion of lobster salad that comes on the bun is plentiful, we shared a cheesy crab dip, and one lobster roll and we felt satiated.

Lobster Roll Cons:
The actual Lobster salad (on the bun) is much more blended together than Duryea's, so you don't see actual chunks of lobster, it's more like you would think of a crab salad that is more stringy and mixed together. I missed seeing the chunks, claws and all.
*Touristy - it feels less like a "find" because everyone seems to know about it, so it's a less "boutique" experience. (they sell t-shirts and all that jazz)
*it's not on the water or on a dock like Duryea's, instead it's on the side of the highway - again, less "boutique."
*The hotdog bun. We tend to have the philosophy that you should never skimp on the bread - a white hotdog bun is just very bland to me. Why pass up the opportunity to wow the customer with both quality salad and tasty bread. I think this is just an opportunity missed. (We think that you can tell a lot about the quality of any restaurant by the yumminess of their bread).

In this head to head battle, we simply think that while the Lobster Roll's Lobster Roll is very good, the over all experience AND quality of the food (for only a buck or two more) is just over the top amazing at Duryea's.

Duryea's is the big winner, you will be truly pleased if you take the time to find this off the beaten path spot in Montauk for a Lobster Roll!!! You are welcome in advance :)

Cheers to all the foodies out there, we'd love for you to weigh in!

The Wilsons
*A special thanks to our lovely friends, Sarah & Bobby for introducing us to Montauk and letting us stay in their historic & exquisite family home there. Also, full credit to them - two of our foodiest of friends - for introducing us to Duryea's!

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