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Feeling Lobstah Rolled

The anticipation, particularly among New England natives, was palpable.  

And then, right around noon Wednesday, the floodgates opened in the Dirksen North Café as Restaurant Associates staff unveiled a long-awaited “lobster roll ” special.  

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“Oooh, lobster roll. Wow,” a passerby said while strolling past a satellite serving station surrounded by a dozen or so shellfish aficionados.  

But a cadre of HOH taste-testers hailing from parts Northeast found the end product underwhelming, due to a number of miscues.

(Team HOH/CQ Roll Call)
(Team HOH/CQ Roll Call)

The first red flag was the abundance of diced celery, which swiftly shifted the seasonal offering from lobster roll territory to the lobster salad camp.  

The filling, which appeared to feature bits of claw and tail meat, was served cold (a la Maine’s preparatory practices) and did not strike any of our lunch pals as particularly expressive.  

“I’d say it didn’t really taste like lobster. Part of that was the celery’s fault,” counseled one disillusioned dining companion.  

The flat-edged bun got off to a solid start (good chew, anyway), but was ultimately sabotaged by the milky white runoff trickling down from the soggy centerpiece. “It was distressing to see liquid oozing off the bun, but that again would be lobster ‘salad’ showing up, instead of a true Downeast lobster roll,” an armchair eater noted.  

Authentic or not, a Senate dining aide said the cherished crustacean tends to draw a crowd.  

“It’s a promotion that gets people excited,” our source said of the sporadic offering. And at $14 a pop per meal-deal (bringing it in below the standalone sandwiches put together by Red Hook Lobster Pound, $15, and Luke’s Lobster, $16), it typically turns out to be a revenue loser.  

“We don’t make any money off it,” the cafeteria crew-member said.  

They certainly won’t see another dime from our most shell-shocked associate.  

“I feel kinda full two hours later — like almost too full. A true lobster roll should be light, leaving you plenty of space for a whoopie pie or slice of blueberry pie,” our colleague asserted. “I’ve seen and eaten a lot of lobster in my life, and I’m not sure I’d seek this variety out again.”  

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