Grumpy's in Dennis self-advertises as a haunt for hearty appetites and tight wallets. It is the type of restaurant best hit-up in a state of frenzied morning hunger, pre-coffee and post-late-night bar tab. After helping a friend ready his boat for the season at the Sesuit Harbor Northside Marina yesterday, I stopped in for my first time to grab a bite for lunch.
Scanning the menu, I looked for local options. Seafood was it, with Cape scallops and haddock, but both were served deep-fried with a side of French fries—hardly fresh in presentation. Opting out of the fry-o-lator, I went for the lobster roll—a New England classic that for the most part guarantees satisfaction.
This time around, it managed again. Despite the mayo-soaked coleslaw and semi-soggy fries, the Atlantic meat was delicious. It's not surprising; we are heading at full velocity into the six-week season from mid-May to the end of June when northern lobsters are at their prime: hard-shelled, sweet, and plentiful. The abundance makes for cheap meat, meaning it's the perfect time of year to whip up your own roll at the kitchen counter or on the back porch grill.
With fresh ingredients, the succulent meat doesn't need much—a handful of chives, a dab of mayo, and a sprinkling of lime juice inside a good bun lined with a leaf of Boston Bib will do the trick. So eat up; it won't be long before the water warms up and the bugs begin to molt.
EARLY SUMMER LOBSTER ROLL
Cook three 1 and 1/4 pound lobsters; pick and chop meat. Toss with 2 teaspoons lime juice, 1/2-1 cup garlic mayonnaise from scratch, and salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Brush four good hot dog buns with 4 tablespoons melted butter and toast over hot coals or griddle. Line with a leaf of Boston Bib lettuce, spoon meat into buns, and top with a sprinkling of chopped chives.
To make mayonnaise: whisk the yolk of one good, fresh egg with a tiny dab of very cold water. Very slowly at first, begin to add one cup olive oil in a slow drip, whisking constantly. Once the mixture becomes opaque, add oil more quickly until it is all absorbed. Season with several pinches garlic pepper or another favorite spice.