When you say “lobster roll” in Southern California, most of people will probably think of some sushi bar concoction. Versions of the New England classic can be found at some of the more upscale seafood restaurants, but the simple, traditional sandwich rarely makes a showing as quick-grab grub.
But how to bring lobster to the SoCal masses? Via food truck, obviously. Lobsta Truck has been cruising around the L.A. area for about six months, and Stick a Fork In It spread the news last month that O.C. stops were in the works. I caught up with the truck at one of Anaheim microbrewery Noble Ale Works’ food truck events Friday night.
Here’s a closer look:
The lobster roll ($12) can come with butter or mayo, and my indecisive self opts to try half and half to compare. The roll is about the size of a hot dog bun, and it’s split and grilled. Its warm, crisped exterior and fluffy center is the perfect cradle for the cool chunks of crustacean. Though it’s not a large sandwich, there’s enough meat to spill out of the bread, ensuring the lobster is what stands out.
I could probably put away two of these, and compared to some of the bargains available at other food trucks, the price feels a little high. This is lobster, though, and not the tough, spongy shreds that find their way into mac ‘n cheese or quesadillas at other establishments around O.C. According to the truck’s website, this lobster comes in fresh from New England, and it’s a difference you can taste. The meat is almost sweet, and simultaneously tender but a little chewy.
I prefer the simple dressing of butter, which lets me focus on the lobster itself, though the mayonnaise-tossed lobster salad nicely softens the crusty bread.
Clam chowder ($4/cup or $7/ pint) doesn’t look like much, but beneath the flat, white surface is a wealth of flavor. Gummy chunks of clam possess a briny punch that cuts the rich, creamy soup, which is savory with spices and not too cluttered with extra ingredients.
Whoopie pies ($4) – the state treats of Maine that have been gaining steam as a dessert fad – are sold out by the time I make it to the truck, a bit of a disappointment. Knowing how to get my New England fix regularly in O.C. now, though, is enough to make this West Coast girl to throw around a “wicked awesome” or two.
Lobsta TruckNext O.C. stop is Friday in Irvine; schedule at lobstatruck.com