100 Favorite Dishes 2015: No. 98, Lobster Roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches

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I'd never had a lobster roll until Maine-ly Sandwiches opened their original shop on the feeder of I-45 North near West Road. I'd heard of them but didn't know of any place that served them in Houston.

There aren't many places serving notable food in the Greenspoint area and the appearance of that first Maine-ly Sandwiches was a welcome addition. It's in a strip mall and looks about as you'd expect--a typical sandwich shop. The fanciest things on display there are the sandwiches.

The newer shop on Shepherd Drive is much larger and nicer. There are several dark wood picnic benches with postcards lacquered onto the table surfaces.

Of course, the sandwiches are the stars and the lobster roll is a steady favorite. The combination is an exercise in gentle restraint. Lobster has a mild flavor that shouldn't be covered up and the firm but yielding texture may in fact be the most enjoyable part. The toasty, buttery bun and gentle touch of mayonnaise is all that's needed to enhance the succulent chunks of lobster meat. You're likely to find some claw meat in the mix, too.

A piece of saltwater taffy comes alongside. It's a nice touch and I'd rather have that afterward than a mint. Saltwater taffy always makes me feel like I should be on a boardwalk somewhere being buffeted by a sea breeze with a Ferris wheel jutting against a blue sky in the distance.

These are simple but luxurious sandwiches. Lobster is not cheap, so these aren't either. A six-inch roll is $9.99 and a 12-inch is twice that. Unless you're starving, a six-inch is satisfying enough and you can round it out with a cup of clam chowder if needed. There's a snow crab roll as well for a buck less. Maine-ly sandwiches has expanded their offerings to Italian sandwiches, salads, fried clams and Whoopie pies, but it's always the lobster roll that draws me in.

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