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Lobsta Truck Brings a New England Icon to SF

Lobster Roll
Lobster Roll
Alissa Merksamer

“Oh, that’s a lobster roll?” A woman inspects the sandwich she just bought from the Lobsta Truck, a new addition to Thursday’s Off the Grid in the Upper Haight. She’s confused but not unhappy. Perhaps she was expecting something fried in tempura, wrapped in sticky rice and nori.

The West Coast doesn’t have much experience with the New England lobster roll. Served at seafood shacks along the Maine Coast, it originated in the early 20th century and has become a regional icon that's equal parts elegant and homey. It consists of three ingredients: white bread or soft bun, fresh lobster meat, and butter or mayo. Some bind the lobster with a bit of their chosen condiment; others leave it off entirely, and debates rage over which is best. At the Lobsta Truck, you can choose between the two.

Founded by UC Berkeley graduate Justin Mi after a road trip through Main, the truck started in Los Angeles in 2010 and moved to San Francisco in February. For $15, you'll receive griddled white bread perfumed with hot butter folded like a hot dog around a jumble of pink lobster meat that spills onto the red and white checkered paper lining your basket. If you go with butter over mayo, expect a heavy dose. That’s not a negative, just a fact. Both the bread and seafood are imported from New England.

Pair it with a cup of house lemonade that teeters toward tart but not enough to cause a pucker.

Find the Lobsta Truck at several Off the Grid locations.