In Stag Country, late September welcomes the first glimpses of autumn. The air is growing cooler, so you may be tempted to buy yet another sweatshirt from the Stag Spirit Shop or Grubhub a pumpkin spice latte from the Barone Campus Center Dunkin.’ Perhaps you even snagged a mini pumpkin from the recent Farmer’s Market outside the Barone Center (thank you, FUSA!). However, I urge you to hit pause on your fall festivities and savor summer’s fleeting moments. I decided to savor these moments in a literal sense, as I indulged in a staple of New England summers: a lobster roll.
This crustacean creation was not only a tasty treat but a timely one. In 2015, the senate designated Sept. 25 to be National Lobster Day! Yes, you read that correctly! There is an entire day dedicated to the pure enjoyment of lobster, the key ingredient of Connecticut’s state sandwich. In fact, the “Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink” cited that the first documented lobster roll was served in Connecticut: at a Milford Restaurant named Perry’s in 1929. Nearly one hundred years later, the lobster roll has become quite the sensation. The traditional lobster roll features chunks of lobster meat drenched in butter on a steamed hot dog bun, often paired with chips or fries. And, of course, you can’t mess with the classic. However, a new addition to Fairfied’s buzzing restaurant scene has redefined classic and sparked a local phenomenon. LobsterCraft, which opened in June, has reinvented the roll and earned recognition as Flavored Nation’s “Best CT-Style Hot Buttered Lobster in the Country.” Located on Post Road, only a five-minute drive from campus, there is truly no better way to “shell-ebrate” National Lobster Day. Let’s dive in!
I arrived at LobsterCraft on a picture-perfect afternoon: the light gray building was backdropped by vibrant blue skies and its flashy orange signage was highlighted by the sun’s glow. The restaurant and its patio seating area are encircled with lobster traps, contributing to its authentic, coastal feel. I was beckoned inside by a carved, wooden sign reading “Enter,” which hung on the door and looked as if it could have been plucked off a ship. LobsterCraft captures the nautical essence of a typical seafood restaurant, inviting customers to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of an island eatery without having to leave the hustle and bustle of Post Road.
Inside, I appreciated the attention to thematic detail, demonstrated by lobster murals painted behind the counter. But, my attention was drawn to the massive chalkboard that consumed the majority of the side wall. The chalkboard houses LobsterCraft’s expansive menu, which is a product of the unique expertise and genius of the founder, Captain Mike Harden. Captain Mike, a Coast Guard Captain and licensed lobster fisherman from Norwalk, Connecticut, established LobsterCraft in 2019. The menu boasts a wide variety of lobster roll options, appealing to hardcore traditionalists and those with an adventurous palate. The award-winning Coastal is a buttery delight, with succulent lobster piled high on a toasted bun. “The Dirty Maynard” is Lobster Craft’s spin on a Maine-style lobster roll, served cold with seasoned mayonnaise atop a bed of lettuce and joined by farm-fresh onions, carrots and celery. “The Heat Wave” is an elevated rendition of the classic, with the hot butter infused with Serrano and Habanero pepper. Still, The Heat Wave could be considered a tame option when compared to the “California,” with the butter replaced by house-made wasabi soy sauce and garnished with cucumber and avocado, or the “Surf N Turf,” which is topped with marinated flank steak and drizzled with garlic aioli. Captain Mike’s reimagined lobster rolls, characterized by their creativity and decadence, have contributed to his success. The LobsterCraft describes the progression of his company that began as a food truck and transformed into a “robust catering business, a small fleet of food trucks and brick and mortar locations up and down the east coast”.
My recommendation would be to order the “Flight of Sliders,” which includes one Mini Coastal, one Mini Dirty Maynard and one Mini Heat Wave. My order was delivered to my table on an actual silver platter, coupled with herb-encrusted ruffle chips. The Flight of Sliders will satisfy your lobster cravings without breaking the bank, which is a priority for college students on a budget. Each roll was packed with meat, and the quality was undeniable. The Coastal and the Dirty Maynard are proof that the traditional can be timeless. The Heat Wave represents the next generation of rolls, but its spice does not overpower the meat’s sweet, light taste. The bun alone deserves praise for its perfect, golden brown hue and delightful crispness. I ordered a side of french fries to accompany my meal and was delighted by the generous helping of fries sprinkled with flaky sea salt. Overall, LobsterCraft did not disappoint. I look forward to my next visit and am excited to feast on Captain Mike’s latest offerings. From 1929 to 2022, it is clear that the lobster roll is here to stay.
LobsterCraft is located at 1814 Post Road, Fairfield, CT 06824 and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, check out their website (lobstercraft.com) or follow them on social media @lobstercraftct.
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