Best Bets: Lobster Roll

The lobster roll with fries at The Slider Inn is the real deal. Inn owner Aldo Dean has the lobster brought  in from Maine three times a week.  Michael DonahueThe Commercial Appeal

The lobster roll with fries at The Slider Inn is the real deal. Inn owner Aldo Dean has the lobster brought in from Maine three times a week. Michael DonahueThe Commercial Appeal

I saw my first live whale and ate my first lobster roll on a trip to Camden, Maine, years ago. I haven't seen a live whale since, but I recently ate another lobster roll. It was at The Slider Inn in Memphis.

I remember seeing "lobster roll" on signs all over Maine, but I didn't know or ask what they were. They were as prevalent as "barbecue" signs in Memphis. I finally ordered one at the airport on my way home. It was like a lobster po' boy. The one at The Slider Inn was much more memorable: lots of juicy Maine lobster served on a traditional New England bun.

I ran into a friend, Chris Liberto, at the bar and asked if he ever tried the lobster roll. "I've had it," he said. "Let me tell you, it rocks."

I asked The Slider Inn owner Aldo Dean why he put lobster rolls on the menu. "There's not a lobster roll in town," he replied. "So, I knew that was where the value was. Just in its uniqueness.

"I've had a great one in New York City when I lived there at the the Chelsea Seafood Market. I've had them in New England and here and there. I just thought that would be the trickiest (meaning "catchy, attention getting") thing we could put on the menu."

Dean likes "the purity" of the sandwich. "There's not much to the recipe. Just lobster, butter, lemon juice and celery and very little else."

They also use a "secret blend of spices," he said.

And, Dean added, "We use Hellman's mayonnaise, which I think is the best, and we use very little of it. When you taste that on the New England hotdog bun, you get the hot, toasty butteriness of the New England bun along with the rich, savory flavors of that lobster salad."

They use real lobster, not a substitute, Dean said. "We ship in lobster fresh from Maine three times a week. We keep them in the walk-in cooler, where they kind of go into hibernation mode."

When people doubt they use real lobsters, Slider Inn chef Jesse Keenan said he wants to "grab a lobster and bring it out."

The lobster roll, which sells for $15.95, comes with creamy mashed potatoes or French fries.

The Slider Inn is at 2117 Peabody; (901) 725-1155

Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797; donahue@commercialappeal.com

© 2011 Go Memphis. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments » 3

DcLee writes:

Michael, think you better head back up to Maine and check out a REAL lobster roll! That puddle on the "hotdog bun" is NOT what they serve anywhere in Maine that we've seen. The "REAL" ones are served on an almost 5 inch across split-top roll with the meat of a full 1 1/4 # Maine lobster on it with just enough mayonnaise in it in a gallant effort to hold all that deliciousness together. Let's let Memphis keep the BBQ and let Maine have the lobster roll.

isabelita writes:

DcLee obviously hasn't tried the lobster roll at the Slider Inn. Michael, good article... the lobster roll in Memphis is definitely worth checking out. Also the sliders, of course, and their incredible french fries.

karmen304#245453 writes:

Actually Napa Cafe has had a lobster roll on their lunch menu for some time now.

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