COUSINS MAINE LOBSTER
LOBSTER GOODNESS ON WHEELS & IN WEHO
After a trip I took back east to Boston and Maine last year, my appreciation for lobster rolls went through the roof and my pickiness, especially eating them in L.A., hit new levels of snobbery. L.A. lobster rolls tend to be overpriced, skimpy on lobster and more hype than hefty heavenly bites. So thank goodness for Cousins Maine Lobster, with its slew of gourmet food trucks and its cozy restaurant in West Hollywood offering first rate eastern seaboard cuisine, including chowder and lobster rolls.
Cousins Maine Lobster was founded by actual cousins Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac who gained local and national prominence after appearing on ABC’s “Shark Tank” securing a deal back in 2012. Back then the cousins had one food truck rolling through the streets of L.A., but after the duo netted a $55,000 investment from “shark” Barbara Corcoran, the cousins hit overdrive. They now have more than 20 trucks nationwide; offer shipping nationwide from shore to door; reached $20 million in sales; and opened a brick and mortar location in West Hollywood in 2015.
During our recent visit to the WeHo shop we feasted on all things Maine. We started with an order of Clam Chowder and Lobster Bisque and couldn’t decide which one we loved more. The New England clam chowder consisted of hand-shucked Maine clams served in a rich, roux-thickened fish stock, tempered light cream, rendered salt pork and sautéed onions, along with tender potatoes. Delicious! Not to be outdone, the lobster bisque features Maine lobster in a roux-thickened stock, complimented with Spanish sherry, and a light cream with a dash of white pepper. Both are phenomenal and highly recommended.
But let’s get to the main (sorry for the pun) attraction already as any visit, or at least your time, to Cousins Maine Lobster has to consist of a lobster roll. You have your choice of Maine, Connecticut as well as a crab roll. The Maine lobster roll comes chilled, while the Connecticut is served warm. Back east, in Maine and Massachusetts, the Maine roll is a staple of daily life and it’s delicious but I personally prefer the warm roll, but I think that’s just because I’m more used to eating hot lobster. They’re both stellar and at $16 a pop, this is one of the only places in L.A. where you don’t feel like you’re being taken advantage of.
The Maine lobster roll features Maine lobster served chilled with a touch of mayo on a New England style roll. The Connecticut roll also includes Maine lobster but is served warm with butter and lemon on a New England style roll. I want one right now just thinking about it.
A specialty item that’s a must is the Lobster Tots served with warmed Maine lobster, cilantro lime sauce and pico de gallo. This really takes tater tot goodness to a whole new level. Again, they don’t skimp on the lobster, which makes for a terrific dish.
I wasn’t crazy about the Maine Fried Clams but there’s plenty of options on the menu, including damn good fish/shrimp/lobster tacos, lobster quesadilla, and lobster BLT to delight your taste buds.
If you saved room for dessert, you should give the lobster ice cream a try. I know it sounds pretty gross but it’s actually quite nice. You can’t have too much but a scoop will offer you the ice cream fix you want as well as some bites of lobster goodness. Otherwise you can always opt for the decadent whoopee pie.
You know how New Yorkers will always say their pizza is better than ours in SoCal, you can almost ay the same about lobster rolls but Cousins Maine Lobster delights with solid rolls and soups and then some that deliver the best lobster rolls in town. s
Cousins Maine Lobster is located at 8593 Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood. Open daily at 11am. Call 424-204-9923. Click here to find the lobster truck in Los Angeles.
Story by Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy of Cousins Maine Lobster