The lobster roll; an east-coast classic and reminiscent of New England summers, the roll is a soft hot dog bun filled with cooked lobster and mayonnaise peppered with celery and onion.
We were lucky (mostly) enough to sample many a roll on our recent road trip of the east coast. We left the sensory overload of Manhattan for the quaint seaside fishing towns of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and finally, Maine, all the while stopping at roadside clam shacks to sample the famed roll.
More often than not, it'd be a resounding disappointment. The lobster was too dry, too laden with mayonnaise or too bland. Often it seemed more waste than luxury: surely there was a better way to appreciate succulent lobster meat.
Ironically, it wasn't until we got back to Manhattan that we finally found the holy grail of lobster sandwiches -- at Pearl Oyster Bar.
Pearl chef and owner Rebecca Charles has taken traditional east coast cooking to new levels and refined the flavours. Her food is truly homemade in the sense that meals are prepared from scratch, right down to the hand-cut fries and freshly grated horseradish, leading me to think that someone must really have sore knuckles.
Charles' inspiration came from her childhood summers spent in Kennebunkport, Maine. Her recipes are testament to the three generations of food-loving women in her family and are simple, old-fashioned and comforting.
The menu is dependent on what's available each day and tables fill up as soon as the doors open.
We were lucky enough to try the Pearl lobster roll, the salt-crusted shrimp, cracker-crusted fried oysters and the blueberry cloud pie. In fact, we tried everything twice it was so good. Not on the same day of course. While we ate we were entertained and informed by Maria who served up the plates along with their charming stories.
If you find yourself within 500 miles of Manhattan then Pearl Oyster Bar is definitely worth a visit!
Pearl Oyster Bar
18 Cornelia Street
New York. NY 10014