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December 16, 2009

The Lobster Roll-Off - Chapter IX - Alive And Kicking

Lobster Roll - Alive And Kicking Dominic Armato

Okay, I have no idea what to do with this one. Can an entrant be disqualified? What if it's really good?

Alive And KickingDominic Armato

Alive and Kicking is another cute little seafood shack, though the focus is clearly on lobsters. They have those enormous blue plastic tanks of the little buggers, sorted by size and separated by netting, and though the case holds a few other items, there's no question that this is a lobster place. What makes it unusual is the location. It's weirdly dropped into a residential neighborhood in Cambridge, a glorified garage complete with rolldown front sitting on the back of a small paved lot. There's no seating of any kind, though the few wooden picnic tables stacked off to the side indicate that there might be during warmer weather, so lunchtime in the car it is! The folks running the place are exceptionally friendly, and they serve a lobster "roll" that's... well... perhaps not a lobster roll?

Lobster Roll - Alive And KickingDominic Armato

One look is all you should need to know that Alive and Kicking's entry is a little atypical. Where to start? It's not a roll. The lobster concoction is between two freshly toasted slices of white bread, studded with sesame seeds. Yup. It's a sandwich sandwich. The lobster is chopped more finely than most of the others, and it has an abundance of mayo. It really plays like more of a lobster salad, and I'd be less hesitant to call it such if it were notably seasoned in any other way, which it doesn't appear to be. There's also less meat than most of the other rolls I've sampled, but at $13 including a bag of good chips, it's also one of the cheapest. The biggest departure, however, makes itself known upon first bite. BUTTER. Gobs of it. We're not talking a tiny bit spread into the bread ala Kelly's. We're talking full-on pats of rich, creamy butter. I would have thought the mayo plus butter would have put it over the edge, but I actually enjoyed it. Really enjoyed it. I probably shouldn't enjoy it too often, but this is a good sandwich.

The dilemma, of course, is how to consider this against the others? I'm halfway tempted to disqualify it for its lack of rollness, but I also hate to eliminate a contender that I liked as much as I did. It's so different that I'm not sure how I compare it to the rest. So I won't. We're going to go pure enjoyment scale. I think I enjoyed it more than The Clam Box, and less than B&G. If you find yourself saying that it doesn't belong on the list with the rest, just put your finger over Alive and Kicking on the screen. Done and done.

Alive And Kicking
269 Putnam Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Mon - Sat11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sun12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  1) Kelly's Roast Beef
2) B&G Oysters
3) Alive And Kicking
4) The Clam Box
5) Neptune Oyster
6) Belle Isle Seafood
7) Yankee Lobster
8) Skipjack's
9) Fred's Sea Foods


Wow. Of all the lobster rolls you've tried this is the only one I've actually had (I'm more of a fried clam fanatic when it comes to those seafood "shacks"). Just reading this review really brought back the memory of how that sucker tasted. I totally forgot about the butter! No wonder I loved that sandwich so much, and didn't find the mayo+butter too much either.

And yah, in the summer time they have a few picnic tables off to the side in this area decorated with nets, lobster traps, you get the picture, plus they serve you the sandwiches on these plates decorated with lobsters, it's adorably kitschy.

When I first saw the picture load, my first reaction was "Are those sesame seeds? What the...?"

Like most foodies, I adore butter as well, but there is something, well, odd about a pat of cold butter in a sandwich. Wow. Strangely enough, this is one I can probably try when I'm in Boston. (Kelley's in Revere isn't much of an option as I'm usually constrained to Boston-Cambridge-Logan.)

This sounds awesome enough that I was contemplating going here for lunch today, until I realized it was 18° outside. Maybe tomorrow.

I've only ever had two lobster rolls in my life, but one was mayo-lite - in fact, it might have been mayo-free - and the other was not. The former came with a small side of drawn butter to pour over the lobster roll, and it was absolutely great.

(I like mayo just fine, but for lobster rolls I am willing to believe that lobster, bread, and drawn butter are about all you need.)

I'm glad you posted this. I tried to go here with my pal when I was in town this summer but they close at 5.00 or something ridiculous like that. We ended up at a trendy but totally unmemorable bar & grill in Porter Square. Now I'm twice as bummed that I missed it!

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