The line was long, a little over an hour long. It was a gorgeous summer day in Maine and people from all over the country, many of whom I met in line, came to Maine in summer for three reasons, the beach, Acadia National Park, and lobster rolls. I was here for two of the three. Red’s has taken on cult status in the food shack community. Although, how many “shacks” serve lobster? I’ve eaten at a lot of taco shacks over the years and none of them serve lobster; fish tacos yes, lobster no. I suppose California could have a tri-tip shack or some such thing, but that’s not nearly as cool as lobster.
A lobster roll is fairly simple, thick white bread that has been buttered and grilled similar to that for a grilled cheese sandwich. The lobster is boiled, shelled and served in the crease of a single slice of grilled bread. An assembly line mentality. Simple, elegant, delicious. As long as each of the individual items are cooked properly (easier said than done) lobster rolls can fly out of the kitchen at a consistently high rate and high food quality.
After our Sprague's Lobster Roll appetizer from across the street, we ordered Red's two biggest sellers, a fried haddock sandwich and a classic lobster roll with sides of drawn butter and tartar sauce.
Not to be overlooked, the fried haddock sandwich at Red’s is a wonderfully fried fish fillet on a fresh sesame seed bun with a home-made tartar sauce (Unlike the Fillet O’Fish made by the Sith Lord). As I mentioned, the haddock sandwich is the number two seller at Red's world famous shack. Crispy and well seasoned outside, flaky moist white fish on the inside and put between a sesame seed bun with some lettuce this is a great sandwich. We had the tartar sauce placed on the side. I didn’t hesitate to dunk my haddock into the tasty sauce.
After nearly one-hour and a half of waiting to order and receive our meal, it took less than 10 minutes to devour both sandwiches. Both sandwiches were fresh and delicious.
The Red’s Eats experience will probably last a lifetime. Two world famous sandwiches, the long line, the miserable traffic, the crystal clear day, our first bites, all add to the memory. I must mention Sprague’s Lobster across the street again, as it seems to be ignored by so many. Sprague’s is very good and cooks a great lobster roll. It just isn’t world famous but I suggest you eat at Sprague’s for several reasons:
- If you are in a hurry and can’t wait an hour or more for Red’s Lobster Roll
- If you are with a friend and can cajole them into waiting in line at Red’s while you get a lobster roll across the street for both of you to try
- If you always root for the underdog
Red’s Eats is a wonderful piece of Americana, a Maine institution, and a great shack.