Red's Eats 41 Water Street Wiscasset, Maine, redseatsmaine.com
Asticou Inn Restaurant 15 Peabody Drive, Northeast Harbor, Maine, Asticou.com
C-Ray Lobster 882 State Highway 3, Bar Harbor, Maine, C-raylobster.com
Eventide Oyster Company 86 Middle Street, Portland, Maine, Eventideoysterco.com
Havana 318 Main Street, Bar Harbor, Maine, Havanamaine.com
Lobster Pound Restaurant 2521 Atlantic Highway, Route 1, Lincolnville, Maine, Lobsterpoundmaine.com
Thurston For Lobster 9 Thurston Road, Bernard, Maine, Thurstonforlobster.com
I love lobster. I love cracking claws and eating its fresh meat with my hands. I love devouring hearty lobster rolls, as well as wonderful lobster plates, bisques, soups and stews too. Name a lobster dish, and I’m in! So on my latest solo journey to Maine for a little summer getaway, of course, I have the fine crustacean on my mind.
After a quick flight from NYC to Portland, my solo road trip to Bar Harbor -- home of beautiful Acadia National Park, begins. As I drive through Maine’s charming waterfront towns, I pass by Red’s Eats, a popular lobster shack that’s easy to spot from its consistent line, which I previously waited on to get my lobster fix. Although I recall its deliciousness and being named “home of Maine’s #1 lobster roll,” I am excited to try new places.
Further down the road, I spot the Lobster Pound Restaurant harborside, and make a quick pit stop. I order a lobster roll to-go from the restaurant’s indoor shop, and upon first bite, I am completely content. Fresh lobster chunks simply dressed in mayo on a slightly toasted bun, and served with local chips; it's a great start to Maine eats.
After arriving in picturesque Bar Harbor and taking in the glorious nature atop Cadillac Mountain, Beehive Trailhead hike, and thunderous Thunder Hole, I satisfy my appetite at family-run, no thrills-lobster joint, C-Ray Lobster. I place my order for a locally-sourced lobster roll at its outdoor window, and await my no-fuss meal in the parking lot picnic area. Fresh lobster meat mixed with C-Ray’s secret mayo seasoning on a hot toasted brioche bun with local potato chips, hits the spot. Yes, I am on a roll!
In the evening, I make my way to Havana, a popular local American restaurant with Latin flair in Bar Harbor town. I can’t resist their specialty Lobster Moqueca – fresh lobster simmered in a savory coconut broth served with jasmine rice and grilled pineapple garnish. Rich and luscious with ample lobster pieces, I can see why it’s a signature dish.
My lobster crawl continues the next day at a leisurely alfresco lunch overlooking the harbor at Asticou Inn. The restaurant’s famous Lobster Stew with fresh lobster meat in a rich sherry cream broth, is a must, as are its housemade popovers. Served warm with a side of butter and Maine blueberry jam, it’s a perfect pairing.
Of course, I can’t leave Mount Desert Island without cracking some claws, so I make my way to Thurston’s Lobster Pound, an old school lobster pound on a working harbor. With a motto, “straight from the sea to your plate” -- I know this is the real deal. I order upfront by the live lobster showcase of fresh-from-the-boat, harvested hard shell and soft shell catch. I choose the latter as a dinner plate combo with corn, coleslaw, a dinner roll and blueberry cake, and take a seat on its partially enclosed outdoor patio with a serene waterfront view. I proudly tie my bib around my neck, smiling ear-to-ear as I begin to crack claws and eat the oh-so-satisfying lobster meat with my hands; dipping the fresh meat into the warm butter. It’s lobster heaven.
As my trip winds down, I make one last stop at Eventide Oyster Co. in downtown Portland for its famed Brown Butter Lobster Roll, a perfect hand-sized steamed bun served with warm lobster meat and chives. I order it to-go since dining-in has a 2 ½ hour wait time, and savor its buttery goodness streetside. Yes, another winner.
Maine, you had me at lobster. Save a bib for me. I’ll be back soon.