In general, restaurants in the Hamptons can't compete with what we find in Manhattan. There are definitely some good places to eat, but the majority of them are the simple seafood joints you simply don't have in NYC. One thing The Hamptons is particularly good at though: lobster rolls. Here are our favorites – including Montauk, but excluding the North Fork.
The most consistent, the most centrally located, and the most accessible, Bostwick's lobster roll is the most utilitarian of the group. The consummate crowd pleaser. The lobster salad is finely chopped, with just the right amount of mayo and celery, and served on a traditional toasted dog bun. Money.
One of the more overlooked and underrated rolls on the East End, The Dock House is easily the best lobster on bun you can get in Sag Harbor. You have to know where this tiny take-out seafood shack is to find it – it's on the strip of pavement that juts out between the bay and the boats at the edge of town. It's a creamy roll with large chunks of meat on a crispy bun. Find it. Eat it. Enjoy it.
We love the setting of Clam Bar - a roadside clam shack with outdoor-only seating, that actually makes you feel like you're on summer vacation. The always satisfying lobster roll is pretty similar to what you'll find at Bostwick's - finely chopped lobster meat on a toasted potato bun with a little celery and minimal mayo.
There are lobster rolls and then there are LUNCH lobster rolls. Not only is this the best lobster roll in The Hamptons, it's the best in the whole damn state of New York. True, Lunch's roll is not for the purists out there – it's mayo heavy, has a lot of chopped up other stuff in the lobster salad, and can sometimes can be hit or miss. But goddamn, a good overflowing LUNCH cold roll would be our last meal on earth.
Some people believe Duryea's has the best lobster roll in the Hamptons – we won't go that far. The lobster salad is chunky and delicious, but there's just too much sesame bun for our taste. That said, we'll happily take this down any day. Also, there is no better location to face stuff a roll than on the deck overlooking the water at Montauk's OG seafood shack, especially during sunset.
Now that Red Hook Lobster Pound has a permanent residence just steps from the ocean in Montauk, it immediately enters the "Best Of" conversation. Red Hook's rolls are loaded with lobster, and, thanks to a medley of spices including lots of paprika, have a very specific, and recognizable flavor.
You're not coming to Gosman's for the lobster roll, you're coming for the experience – the view, the boats, the steamers, and maybe a sweatshirt that says "The End" on it that you'll buy and then never wear. When in Rome though, eat a lobster roll. It's certainly not the best, but it certainly isn't bad either. Chunky salad, toasted bun, boats. Proceed.
Welcome to the jungle. Fish Farm is a weird abandoned boat yard where chickens roam and bodies are likely buried. It's one of the stranger places you can go on the East End, but if you want a, uhh, unique dining experience, this is your chance. They have a tiny seafood market and some picnic tables, and their lobster rolls are served on burger buns.
One of the most underrated lobster rolls in the Hamptons is being served at Ruschmeyer's, where NYC chefs Eli and Max Sussman took over the kitchen. Their toasted bun is overflowing with huge chunks of lobster, some interesting spices, and it's topped with mini fried onion strings. A little different, a little fancy, a lot awesome.