Hmm, I realized I could have planned a little better. The front page of this blog is getting a little lobster-heavy. You don’t mind, right? 😉
A few weeks ago, I took a little family vacay to scenic Mystic, CT. The land of soft sandy beaches, maritime culture and of course…LOBSTER. Mmm mm mmm! While there, the fam visited Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough. Abbott’s had been recommended to me over twitter, as well as mentioned to 2 other members of my family on separate occasions. So, as you can imagine, this place was quite hyped up. Did it live up to expectations?
Abbott’s isn’t the easiest place to find – we were aided by a gas station in town with a sign that said something to the effect of “Looking for Abbott’s? You’re on the right track! Make the 2nd left and go past 6 speed bumps.” Or something equally vague yet specific ;). The first thing we noticed once we found it was…
The sizable parking lot was completely full. Okay, I know – this photo only has the butt of one car in it – but trust me, the joint was jumping!
Always strategic, we divvied up the responsibilities. I was on line-waiting duty, which gave me ample time to peruse the signboard menu:
So. much. seafood.
What was a girl to do? For a party of 7, we ended up getting 2 “New England Seafood Feasts” (each feast includes a bowl of clam chowder, shrimp cocktail, steamers and mussels, and a steamed lobster), 2 Lobster Salad Rolls, 3 Hot Lobster Rolls, 2 Lobster Bisques, 2 Corns on the Cob and various beverages of differing caffeine levels. I may have left something out here. In any case, there were crustaceans aplenty in our order. After about 45 minutes, we finally reached the counter:It seemed like there were a lot of young kiddos working as cashiers or in the kitchen – great summer job! I snuck a peak at the lobsters being prepared in the background (not ours, since as the sign says, “Your lobster is swimming when you place your order”)!
And then we waited…again. While we were quickly getting ravenous, I admit the wait wasn’t too unbearable, as you could clearly see the bustling kitchen and I knew our food was being made to order. I’d rather wait for freshness, you know? While our lobster rolls and lobsters were being prepared, the lobster bisque, beverages, and the first part of the “New England Seafood Feast” came out – the steamers and mussels, the clam chowder, and shrimp:
I thought the lobster bisque was awesome – thick, creamy and overflowing with lobster aroma and flavor. Some would have appreciated larger chunks of lobster (the meat was all blended in), but I had no complaints about the bisque, and I believe that traditionally bisque is quite homogenous (is this true?). Truly scrumptious.
The clam chowder (below) was not your typical chowder – neither traditional “New England” style or “Manhattan” (true story: even though I am from NYC, I much prefer New England style chowda’. Creamy goodness, what’s not to love?), Abbott’s was broth-based, with large chunks of clam in a briny, flavorful soup. A hit, as you can see from the broth-level of this bowl 🙂
The shrimp cocktail featured 3 jumbo pieces of shrimp, lemon and cocktail sauce. Perfectly respectable, not out-of-this-world, but I still gobbled it up.
We then dug into the basket of steamers and mussels.
Have you had steamers before? Eating them is a three-step process, but the ceremony is well worth it. Of course, you only eat the steamers that are opened (tightly closed ones were already dead when prepared, and you don’t want to eat those). First, remove the black membrane covering the “neck.” Second, since steamers can be sandy, rinse in the provided clam juice (beige liquid above). Third, (VERY IMPORTANT) dunk in melted butter and devour. Easy peasy, right? Abbott’s steamers and mussels were fresh and full of flavors from the sea, and I’m happy to report that not one arrived to the table closed.
Finally our lobsters and rolls were ready! Each meal came with close slaw and a bag of chips. I won’t name names, but one member of my family kept on popping chip after chip, finally proclaiming, “These chips don’t taste like lobster.” Ahh, yes. They are labeled with Abbott’s name, but alas, they are regular potato chips:
The steamed lobsters were generous but not overwhelmingly so. The meat was juicy, SO fresh, and the shells relatively soft (I believe the lobsters are entering softer shell season). I laid claim to my favorite parts – the claws and knuckles. Droooooool.
The lobster rolls were also mouthfuls of seafood scrumptiousness. I admit – I am SO sad looking at these pictures because we ordered THREE hot lobster rolls (the round ones) and we only got TWO. 🙁 So sad, right? Of course, in our seafood-eating frenzy we failed to notice, but the pictures don’t lie. Yes, my family still talks about it. Of the lobster roll that could have been. The roll that never was. The seafood gluttony opportunity missed.
To our left we have the lobster salad rolls, with chunks of lobster meat, celery and mayo in a buttered, toasted roll. This was my fave. Cold lobster salad, warm toasted roll – the contrast and creaminess of the salad, intensified by the freshness of the lobster meat was amazing.
The hot lobster roll, on the right, was a thing of beauty as well. A more simple preparation, the hot lobster roll featured a quarter pound of lobster meat, hot melted butter, and a a toasted sesame bun. For lobster purists, this is roll gold. I guess I like my rolls sullied because I definitely ate more than my fair share of lobster salad roll!
In addition to the grub, I really enjoyed the casual, outdoor ambiance of Abbott’s – I also got a kick out of the clever signs. Check out the bathroom signboards! (And you all know how much I love to take pictures of bathroom signs).
The family gives 14 thumbs up to Abbott’s! If you’re looking for that idyllic “seafood by the water at casual picnic tables” ambiance, Abbott’s is your place. If you ever visit Mystic, definitely pay Abbott’s a visit!
Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough Noank, CT