Sometimes you find things where you least expect them. (Obvious, I know.)
Case in point: I had no idea that one of Boston’s oldest Irish bars would also serve one of the city’s tastiest lobster rolls. A close friend and I recently tucked in to The Green Dragon for lunch, and were oh-so-pleasantly surprised by the food.
If you’d rather make your lobster rolls, read on for a quick recipe and a list of where to buy live lobsters in the Boston area.
Wait, lobster at one of Boston’s oldest Irish bars?
Yep, yep. Established in 1654, The Green Dragon slaked the thirst of the likes of Paul Revere and John Hancock. It’s said that it was in this bar that someone overheard whisperings of the plan to invade Lexington and Concord, ultimately sparking Paul Revere’s famous ride.
A slightly lesser known fact: It’s also home to the best lobster roll that The Hungry Mouse ate in the summer of 2009. (There’s one destined for the history books, I know.)
What’s your favorite way to eat lobster?
Let’s back up for a second.
Now, I’m not generally fussy about how I eat my lobster. After all, it’s one of those versatile, culinary creatures that’s just as happy on a picnic blanket on the beach as on a table at a four-star downtown restaurant.
I like it boiled, cherry red, and steaming hot, so I have to wrestle with it a little before triumphantly dunking it in drawn butter.
Or baked and stuffed with rich cracker crumbs for a decadent treat that’s all flavor, no work.
Or transformed into blissfully creamy lobster bisque—the kind that’s thick and velvety and finished with a drizzle of cognac.
(What about you? What’s your favorite way to eat lobster?)
Sigh. Given the gusto with which we devour lobster, it’s hard to believe that, in the early nineteenth century, the venerated crustacean was only seen fit to feed folks on the lowest rungs of society.
Hands down, the lobster roll is my quintessential New England summer food.
And when it comes to serving up chunks of the sweet meat in salad form, I’m a purist. Just enough mayo so the salad holds together. A little chopped celery. A pinch of salt. A toasted hot dog bun.
No lettuce. No cayenne pepper. No chives or chunks of onion. No…extra stuff. (All those things have their place with lobster…just keep them out of my sandwich, please.)
And that’s just what we got at The Green Dragon.
Like this town’s Irish bars, most Boston locals have strong opinions about where to fish up the best lobster roll. Not to mention, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a bar or restaurant that claims to have the best around.
(That’s OK. Someday, I’ll eat my way across the city, like Erin Byers did, when Boston Magazine sent her on a quest to find the best lobster roll.)
The Green Dragon’s lobster roll
At $13, the lobster roll at The Green Dragon is about average in price for Boston. It also comes with a hefty side of fries. The fries were OK, but weren’t really anything special. And that’s just fine. This lunch was all about the lobster.
Inside, The Green Dragon is a charming and homey pub, with a lot of wood, set off by glossy black and cheery red paint.
One word of caution: Since it’s near Faneuil Hall, it can be packed with tourists. But if you can pop in for a drink or two at off-peak hours (i.e. during the week, not on the weekend, not when there’s a game), it’s a comfortable and cozy place to shoot the breeze and catch up with old friends.
We nabbed a window table, overhung with a window box of fragrant flowers, so we could watch passersby.
Honestly? A good friend + good food + warm, sunny weather? Now that’s a summer day that’s just my speed. I’m not sure lunch gets much better than this.
Here’s that lobster roll one more time. It was simple. And perfect. And gone far too fast.
If you’re in the area, I highly recommend stopping in and having a nibble and a pint. I can almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
The Green Dragon
11 Marshall St.
Boston, MA 02108
Make your own lobster rolls at home: A quick recipe
Rather make your own lobster salad? Here’s a quick recipe that’s more method than anything. (We’ll do a more in-depth feature on lobster before the summer is over.)
You’ll need about 5 lbs. of live lobsters to yield 1 lb. (about 2 cups) of cooked lobster meat. (This depends on the time of year—which dictates how thick the lobsters’ shells are—so ask when you buy them.) 1 lb. of lobster meat is enough to make about 4 lobster rolls.
- Steam your live lobsters in a large pot of salted water. A 1 1/4 lb. lobster will take about 15-20 minutes to cook.
- Cool them to room temperature.
- Crack the shells with a cleaver and remove the meat from the tails, claws, and knuckles. Pick meat off the rest of the carcass as you see fit, discarding the intestines, etc. Freeze the shells for stock, if you like.
- Dice the meat up into large-ish pieces, about the size of a peppermint candy.
- In a large bowl, toss the lobster meat with just enough of your favorite mayo to coat it. (Start with a large spoonful, then add more if you need it.)
- Mix in a little kosher salt and finely diced celery.
- Serve heaped up on toasted, buttered hot dog buns.
Where to buy lobster in and around Boston
Here are some good options for buying live lobsters outside of the area’s normal supermarkets and grocery stores. This list is by no means comprehensive. Please leave a comment if I’m missing your favorite market.
James Hook Lobster
15 Northern Ave., Boston, MA (617) 423-5501
Yankee Lobster Fish Market
300 Northern Ave., Boston, MA (617) 345-9799
Boston Lobster Company
345 West First St., Boston, MA 02127 (617) 464-1500
New Deal Fish Market
622 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02141 (617) 876-8227
Super 88 Market
One Brighton Ave., Allston, MA 02134 (617) 787-2288
Patriot Lobster (call ahead to arrange pick up)
48 Broadway, Salem, MA 01970 (978) 740-2900
C & C Lobster Company
297 Lynn St., Peabody, MA 01960 (978) 530-1500
Rockport Lobster Company
54 Commercial St., Gloucester, MA 01930 (978) 281-0225
Enjoy your lobster, whether you hit The Green Dragon, or drag some bugs back home and cook ’em up yourself. Cheers!