We heard about Rye Harbor Lobster Pound and their sherry butter lobster rolls a long time ago and really wanted to try them, but we never seemed to be near Rye, NH. So today we said “we’re just going to make ourselves be in the area!” and drove up to Rye just to try their lobster roll. True story!
Having never been there before, I was expecting what’s typical of coastal lobster shacks on beautiful summer (or almost summer) days: a long wait outside a crowded counter-front building. Adding to my vision was the fact that we got there right at noon (we like to go to places during off hours but just didn’t plan that today). The reality was this is literally a shack, sandwiched in between two other “business shacks,” that sells lobster and a few other seafood offerings. I was taken aback by the fact that it was noon and there was no line of diehard fans or hungry area visitors. So I thought “maybe it’s not so great?” but since we drove all the way up there to try it, there was really no going back. We were going to complete our mission.
Inside the shack was a counter and two workers: a high school/college aged girl behind the counter and a woman who made the rolls. Both were extremely friendly and happy to answer any questions I had. Also, another host of the shack is Max the dog, who may or may not be used to people giving him food, but he’s very well behaved and nice to have come over and sit by the table when you eat. Other than giving you the occasional heartbreak look while you enjoy your food, he’s harmless.
Ethan and I both got lobster rolls with sherry butter (obvi), but there is a cold/mayo version as well. After I ordered, I saw on the whiteboard/menu that they have clam chowder with an option to add “fluff” so I asked about that. It’s sherry buttered lobster added on top of the chowder. I felt compelled to try it, so added that to our order too.
The girl behind the counter was nice enough to let me document her adding the lobster to the chowder.
While there is no room for indoor seating, there are a few tables and chairs outside, so we took a seat and began our lobster roll (and chowder) experience.
I have to say this did not disappoint. You might think it’s something so simple, how could it get messed up, but it actually does happen, just not here. The lobster was cut into perfectly bite sized pieces for comfortable eating (no wrestling with long stringy tail pieces) and the sherry butter was perfect. They don’t go overboard on the sherry. There is just enough of it to compliment the smoothness of the butter and the seafood flavor of the lobster.
The toasted roll was awesomely soaked with butter, so we mainly used forks to eat this, but it’d like to point out that the part of the roll I considered “magical” was the bottom which was the most saturated with butter and could fork up a perfect ratio of lobster to butter to roll. It doesn’t get better than that!
The chowder was good. It was standard New England style clam chowder and wasn’t doused in black pepper (which some places go overboard on for some reason) and was like a creamy vehicle for the lobster “fluff.” While it wasn’t absolutely amazing, I did I like it a lot (Ethan doesn’t like clams so he didn’t try any).
Between everything — the friendliness of the staff, the fantastic lobster roll and the time of day — I can’t figure out why there were so few people there, but it was a treat not having to fight lines or scan for and pounce on a free table. Rye Harbor Lobster Pound is definitely worth going to, so check it out if you’re in the area (or feel like going for a drive like we did).