It takes guts to launch a lobster cart in Portland. For one, native Northwesterners are not the biggest fans of the overgrown crustacean. Why bother, when you’ve got juicy, fresh Dungeness crab at arms length? Secondly, American lobster hails exclusively from the cold waters of the Northeast Atlantic: you’ve got to ship it across the country, kicking and screaming, for a decent meal. No one in Portland has dared to take on the challenge, until now.
Cart owners David Beavers and Cathy Evanson, both native East Coasters, launched their Maine Street Lobster Company in the winter of 2013, inside Cartlandia’s far-flung pod on 82nd street. Maine Street slings sliders, po’boys, and decent lobster bisque, but your main objective is the roll.
You can get it hot and simply buttered (as is customary in Connecticut), but we prefer the more widely accepted “Down East Lobster Roll,” chilled and tossed with mayo. Maine Street does everything right: they fly their pine state lobster in three to four times a week for maximal freshness, use local, custom-made New England-style top-loading buns (their bakery source is a trade secret), and are judicious with their mayonnaise. The result is a toasted, buttery roll holding sweet, fresh chunks of claw and tail meat coated with tarragon mayonnaise and micro greens, all for $14 (by comparison, rolls fetch as high as $30 in some parts of the Northeast).
Until recently, Maine Street was the best and only place to get your lobster fix. Last week, the Hawthorne Lobster House, located inside the former Township and Range space, joined the seafood fray, looking suspiciously like a gussied-up Red Lobster (we’ll reserve our judgment). Is this the beginning of a Northwest lobster trend? We certainly hope so.
Maine Street Lobster Company
8145 SE 82nd Ave