Every other Wednesday, Sub Missives tells the stories of the Seattle area's best sandwiches. Know a hot sub? Tell us about it @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a Cheap Person, there was a time when I would’ve been personally offended by the existence of a 29-dollar sandwich. No matter what they put in it, that sounds like some Sultan of Brunei shit. Is it dipped in gold? Is it the size of a laptop? Is it made of California condor? What could possibly taste like 29 dollars and also fit inside of a sandwich?
Then I ate the FORTY-dollar lobster roll at Neptune Oyster in Boston this one time. I was a broke student and had to put the lobster roll on a credit card. So many people had told me to eat this thing, I thought I’d be missing out on some seminal life experience if I didn’t make it happen. Well, folks weren't wrong. That sandwich was transformative. I got the hot butter kind, Connecticut-style, and it wasn’t what I’d imagined—I was picturing a sourdough roll, not that dense rectangular brioche roll with the slightly crispy edges, where it’s like a corner brownie but on all sides. That lobster roll was worth going into debt for; I couldn’t have had this experience at home in Seattle, or at least not in that era.
Well. Here we are, waking up in the future, and now, we can. The Market, a tiny fishmonger shop in Edmonds, may not be the only place in the area to get a lobster roll, but it’s certainly the most accurate one, with the same heartbreakingly high-quality lobster that you’d find in a place like Neptune Oyster. Sure enough, they’re straight from the Gulf of Maine, overnighted to Edmonds. It’s the same guy. They also do the iconic brioche roll, locally made by Macrina Bakery and freshly crisped on site.
The Market offers a hot (Connecticut-style) butter lobster roll with butter, garlic, and Old Bay seasoning and a Maine-style roll with cold lobster salad: house aioli, celery, gherkins, arugula, and browned butter. You get generous portions of both that extra-fresh claw and tail meat, and each sandwich is a good size, similar dimensions to a 1-pound box of butter, a little thicker and broader. They’re all sprinkled with chives and served with fries and a little cuppy of housemade tartar sauce.
There’s a pleasant little outdoor seating-cabinet area on-site at The Market, or you can get it to go and walk over to Brackett’s Landing and eat it on the water. If you get the warm Connecticut roll, you’ll drive up the suspense this way because you can smell it taunting you through the bag on your walk. Oh, god.
Is it worth 29 bucks? I have to say, uh, yeah. That buttery Connecticut-style lobster roll checks all the correctness boxes, with the addition of garlic—which, great, pile it on. I couldn’t tell you about correctness regarding the Maine-style roll since it was my first time eating one, but I know it was good as hell. The Market also does the hot-butter Connecticut treatment on a Dungeness crab roll—let’s call it Washington style?—for the same price. I’ve got some creepy Northwestern jingoism in my heart about Dungies, so this one was my fave of the three sandwiches, no contest. It’s less photogenic, sure, but you get a ton of picked crab, and the meat is sweeter and more delicate than lobstah, naturally.
To be clear, there are absolutely other lobster rolls around! You don’t have to pay $29 for this one. There’s an Airstream trailer in Freeland on Whidbey Island that sells them for $18, and you can go to the downeast Maine-themed Bar Harbor in SLU and get your lobster roll, which is served cold for $24, is about half the size of The Market’s, and is authentic and delicious.
But The Market’s lobster roll is a fine investment for its outstanding quality and quantity, and for me, it was a comparably transformative life experience to the Boston roll, honestly. You sit around and think about it after you eat it. The lobster climbs inside your brain and hangs out for a while. When The Market opens up shop inside the Seattle Art Museum circa next month… even as a giant cheapskate, I know I’ll be in line.
508 Main St., #3148
Edmonds, WA 98020