Here, Eat This

Houston's Best Sandwiches: The Lobster Roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches

The Lobster Roll from Maine-ly Sandwiches brings a heap of sweet lobster meat and a taste of Maine to Houston.
The Lobster Roll from Maine-ly Sandwiches brings a heap of sweet lobster meat and a taste of Maine to Houston. Photo by Jeff Balke
We are in search of Houston's best sandwiches because we love sandwiches and we love Houston!

Sandwiches are remarkably simple creatures in theory. You have bread, some fillings and some condiments. Some sandwiches cram everything they can into the bread while others, like the Lobster Roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches, choose to be minimalists, delivering an incredible version of this New England classic.

I was first introduced to Maine-ly by former Houston Press food writer Robb Walsh. He took me to the original location in a rather pedestrian strip mall just south of Greenspoint. I was surprised at a number of things I witnessed. First, the light-as-a-feather sub roll had its sides sliced off. I would learn there is good reason for that. Second, there wasn't really anything in the roll except lobster and a LOT of it.

The full footlong version is way too big for most mere mortals to eat alone. It houses an ENTIRE lobster inside the sub roll. On this most recent trip to the Maine-ly location on South Shepherd, I opted for the half version. Take note these are not inexpensive hoagies. The half sets you back $14 and the whole is double that. This is because, well, they use real freaking lobster (the whole damn thing on the full size) and that ain't cheap.

Before getting into the filling, let's just for a moment pause to appreciate the pillowy soft roll (like the Chicken Philly at Pappa Geno's, it's imported from more northern climbs). It truly eats like brioche, which is to say, I would have my mattress constructed from it if I weren't afraid I would eat my way through it. And that weird thing where they sliced off the rounded sides? That technique allows the bread to be pressed on a griddle and soak in the butter they use to toast it. Yeah, it's like that.

Then, it's filled, and I mean packed, with fresh lobster that is sweet and tender with just the slightest chew. The steamed meat is lightly dressed with mayonnaise and a bit of lemon, salt and pepper, allowing the sweetness and slight brine of the lobster to shine through.

And despite being basically lobster salad on the roll, this isn't a terribly messy affair. The filling is tucked neatly inside the roll and the bread is so delicate, it almost melts when you take a bite.

Ultimately, this is an exercise in the use of high-quality ingredients balanced with just the right preparation. It's about as close as you can get to a perfect sandwich that only has maybe five or six ingredients. There is honestly no need for anything else. In the case of this Lobster Roll, less really is more.

If you have a sandwich you think is one of the best in town, hit us up. We're always looking for new options.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke