Sandwiches

Houston's Best Sandwiches: First Friday Lobster Roll at Bernie's Burger Bus

First Friday Lobster Rolls at Bernie's Burger Bus are near perfection with one exception: You're gonna need a bigger boat.
First Friday Lobster Rolls at Bernie's Burger Bus are near perfection with one exception: You're gonna need a bigger boat. Photo by Jeff Balke
We are in search of Houston's best sandwiches because we love sandwiches and we love Houston!

There's something about an off-the-menu item or a weekly special to make you feel like a regular. In the case of Bernie's Burger Bus's (multiple locations) first Friday lobster menu, it's something you'll have to wait until the first of the month for, but it is absolutely worth it.

Bernie's, a burger truck institution before going brick and mortar, loads the menu the first Friday of each month with lobster sandwich options that have to be seen (and eaten) to be believed. I had been told by several people that this was, hands down, the best lobster roll in the city and the most authentic. It did not disappoint.

The monthly menu, which began in February, includes a standard lobster roll, a Texas version with jalapeƱos, a simplified lobster roll with fewer ingredients than the standard, lobster sliders and even a poutine, which will be my next month's option for obvious reasons.

My option was the standard variety to see how it compared to places like Maine-ly Sandwiches, which serve the New England favorite. At Bernie's, that means a soft roll, with the sides sliced off, griddled in butter. Stuffed into the roll are massive chunks of lobster (including some huge hunks of claw meat) in a mayonnaise-based dressing that includes garlic, lemon, minced onion and celery. The result is tender, tangy lobster in a near perfect roll.

Honestly, the amount of lobster stuffed into this bread was almost overwhelming (the cost isn't exactly cheap as a result). I struggled to keep a coherent sandwich as the giant pieces of lobster meat kept falling out of the sandwich. It may have helped to dig a little deeper center into the roll or, perhaps Bernie's, you're gonna need a bigger boat.

Still, I found that not remotely bothersome as I just kept grabbing whatever fell out and stuffing it back into that scrumptious buttery roll. I normally find myself stopping with sandwiches like this after about a half of it. But, not this thing. The plate was literally wiped clean when I was done. It was that good.

As to how it compares to other lobster rolls around town, it's different. Maine-ly is very slightly dressed, focused more on just the lobster meat. That's certainly one way to do it and it's really good. This was a bit more sophisticated and I really did appreciate how big those lobster bites were. Seeing a whole claw on a roll is pretty damn impressive.

Could it use maybe a little bit bigger roll? Sure. But, frankly, that would be as much to get more of that damn bread as it would be to have more space for lobster. In this case, less is most definitely not more, especially when the only time I can indulge myself is the first Friday of the month.

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