When Zagat’s decided to take a bite into the uniqueness of sandwiches during August (It is national sandwich month! Who knew?) – highlighting particularly noteworthy culinary endeavors in every state in the nation – the focus in Connecticut landed squarely on the lobster roll. Their review of “delicious regional sandwiches” found in each state had some overlap (Maine was also noted for its Lobster Roll, for example) and some regional favorites with a national following. And some surprises (see bison, reindeer, and marshmallow, below).
“While many consider the cold, mayonnaise-driven Maine lobster roll to be the quintessential version of the sandwich, the first lobster roll was actually a hot, buttered one served at a restaurant called Perry’s in Milford, Connecticut, in the 1920s,” Zagat’s explained. “This version is usually simpler, featuring just lobster meat, butter, and maybe some black pepper or lemon juice on a grilled, split-top hot dog bun, and served with potato chips or French fries. “
Cited by the Zagat survey was Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough in Noank, founded in 1947. “They take the simplicity of the Connecticut-style hot lobster roll and turn it into an art form. Their award-winning sandwich is made with a full quarter-pound of lobster meat (more than is found in the average small lobster) drenched in melted creamery butter and heaped onto a bun. It’s a sandwich so opulent, it’s well worth the trip to this far-off-the-beaten-path lobster pound to get one (not to mention the crowds you have to battle to order).”
Noteworthy in the region were the Italian Sub in New Jersey and the Italian Grinder in Rhode Island. (A distinction without a difference?) In Massachusetts, the Zagat selection was the Fluffernutter: “The delectable marshmallow fluff was in fact invented in Somerville, Massachusetts, in 1917. A man named Archibald Query sold it door-to-door before he sold the recipe, though who it is that thought to pair it with peanut butter on white bread is not as clear. Nevertheless, the fluff is celebrated to this day with a Fluff Festival in Somerville” in September.
New Hampshire was noted for its “Beer-Battered Fish Sandwich” and Vermont for the aptly-named Vermonter, a “ sweet-and-savory sandwich that typically includes either turkey or ham (sometimes both), sharp Vermont cheddar cheese, thinly-sliced green apples and honey mustard, although there are many different variations (including a decent number that come with cranberry mayonnaise instead of honey mustard).”
In case you were wondering, in Alaska it is the Reindeer Sausage Sandwich, in Wyoming the Bison Reuben, in Alabama the Chicken Sandwich with White Sauce, and in Arkansas the Fried Bologna Sandwich, and Mississippi the Elvis sandwich (peanut butter, fried banana and bacon). The Zagat’s reporting (and tasting) was conducted for the August 2013 observance of National Sandwich Month, with a tip of the plate to the notable Earl of Sandwich.