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Must-eat lobster rolls on Long Island

The Connecticut lobster roll at Varney's in Bellport.

Newsday food writer Scott Vogel goes on an epic lobster roll crawl along the South Shore, diving into New England- and Connecticut-style versions of the summer treat. Credit: Corey Sipkin

Once a seasonal seaside treat, lobster rolls have been moving inland, inside and year-round. Still, they taste all the better when consumed close to the water. Long Island has also been seeing hot, butter-bathed lobster rolls take their place alongside cold, mayo-dressed ones, and we say: the more the merrier.

Less merry are the prices which, in 2021, have climbed precipitously. Last year, with so many restaurants shut down or scaled back due to the pandemic, demand fell and prices followed. This year, wholesale prices can be upward of 50% more, but very few restaurants pass the entire increase onto their customers. Here’s a sampling of Long Island lobster rolls, many of them with ocean, bay or sound views, but all of them worth the splurge.

Amici (304 Route 25A, Mount Sinai): For the summer, Mount Sinai's veteran Italian-American Amici has constructed a vast outdoor dining area and has ushered in a warm-weather-friendly menu. Lobster rolls come with butter-poached meat served chilled with tarragon aioli or warmed with (more) butter. More info: 631-473-2400,

Babylon Burger Bar (1 West Main St., Babylon): Co-owner Roy Feicco grew up in New England and felt it was his Yankee duty to offset the burgers with a classic lobster roll (mayo-dressed in a toasted potato roll with fries). It's on the menu from Memorial Day through Labor Day when it accounts for up to half of all orders. The same lobster roll is also available, exclusively during the summer, at Prime Burger Bar in Commack. More info: 631-620-3362,

Bostwick's Chowder House (277 Pantigo Rd., East Hampton): East Hampton's O.G. casual seafood spot scores with two classic rolls, cold or hot, both stuffed with lobster and served on griddled hot dog buns with your choice of coleslaw, fries, potato salad or chips. (Also available at Bostwick's on the Harbor; 39 Gann Rd., East Hampton). More info: 631-324-1111,

Anchor Down Dockside (2479 Adler Ct., Seaford): The fine canal-side patio at Stephen Rosenbluth's year-old establishment is worth the price of admission alone, but his lobster rolls are equally unmissable. Expect fights to break out over which is better, the New England iteration, in which large chunks of claw and knuckle meat arrive lightly dressed with mayo and baptized with scallions, or the Maine one, whose equally large meat portions glisten with butter and glow in the afternoon sun. Spoiler alert: you're both right. More info: 516-785-2390,

Center Cuts (11155 Main Rd., Mattituck); The North Fork satellite of the Roslyn Heights butcher shop gets its lobster meat from the Southold Fish Market, but rolls come topped with marinated-and-seared chunks of filet mignon, resulting in a handheld surf and turf bursting with wit and savor. More info: 631-298-2200,

Clam Bar (2025 Montauk Hwy., Amagansett): The roadside shack's excellent cold lobster roll is made with lots of meat, some mayo and a little celery heaped onto a bun. A fine hot lobster roll is also available. More info: 631-267-6348,

The Clam Bar At Bridge Marine (40 Ludlam Ave., Bayville): At the entryway to Bridge Marine, a small sign reading "Clam Bar" is the only indication of this outdoor spot where you eat under a canopy equipped with overhead fans. Here, the excellent lobster roll is made with lots of shellfish, some mayo, plus a little celery and chopped onion. More info: 516-628-8688,

Varney's (2109 Montauk Hwy., Brookhaven): You can't miss Varney's sign proclaiming "lobster rolls" in letters larger than the restaurant's. And you shouldn't miss the lobster rolls, available either chilled, with mayo, or warm, with butter, both served in split-top brioche rolls whose sides are shaved off so the bread can be more lavishly griddled in butter. Served with homemade coleslaw and crinkle-cut fries. More info: 631-286-9569,

Claudio's (111 Main St., Greenport): Sprawling alongside (and jutting into) the Greenport waterfront is Claudio's, the oldest restaurant in town. The menu now features two lobster rolls, classic mayo-cold and Connecticut butter-hot, both served with chips. More info: 631-477-0627,

Claws Seafood Market (20 Main St., West Sayville): One of Long Island's best fish markets maintains an umbrella-ed, oy a menu of fish-shack favorites, including the classic, mayo-dressed lobster roll on a lettuce-lined toasted bun. In the years since it was introduced, Claws has added a "Roddy roll" with bacon, a "naked" roll with butter instead of mayo, a "firehouse" roll with jalapeños and sriracha and a "double roll" with close to 12 ounces of lobster. More info: 631-256-5900,

Commander Cody's Seafood (41 Smith St., Shelter Island): Among the specialties at this modest South Carolina Lowcountry-meets-Peconic Bay establishment is the lobster roll, chunky and succulent and creamy with mayonnaise and celery, served on a hot dog bun. More info: 631-749-1851

D.J.'s Clam Shack (multiple locations): Made with big hunks of knuckle and claw meat and butter-griddled top-split buns, lobster rolls here are available either warm (dressed only with butter) or cold (blended with celery and tarragon-scented mayonnaise). Both contain a full quarter pound of meat, but for sheer crustacean decadence, you can get an overstuffed lobster roll with twice the filling. More info: Locations in Wantagh, East Northport and Huntington;

Drifters Kitchen & Bar (1600 Middle Country Rd., Ridge): There's not many clues that this handsome bar and restaurant was a former McDonalds — except, maybe, for the takeout window and drive-thru lane, both still in use. Among the polished twists on American classics is a lobster roll heaped with mayo-tinged claw meat, subtly sweetened with diced bell pepper and loaded onto a toasted brioche bun. More info: 631-775-8888,

Duryea's (65 Tuthill Rd., Montauk): Watch the sun set over Montauk's Fort Pond Bay from the vantage point of Duryea's serene dock. The lobster roll (made with mayo, celery and lemon juice and served on a potato bun) with ruffled sweet potato chips and slaw, is a perfect accompaniment. (The same roll, plus a warm-butter version, is available at the new Duryea's in Orient Point.) More info: 631-668-2410,

Ed's Lobster Bar (1742 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Tpke., Sag Harbor): This Sag Habor outpost of the SoHo original serves a menu of New England fish-shack classics. That includes, of course, a meaty lobster roll on a toasted, buttered bun served with a side of housemade pickles and sea-salt fries. More info: 631-725-1131,

Haskell’s Seafood Market and Cafe (77A Main St., Westhampton Beach): At his new market-cafe, owner Peter Haskell is an uncompromising advocate of local seafood — that means you won't find anything that is not caught in Long Island waters or landed by boats that dock here. His two lobster rolls, hot and cold, are made with freshly picked Montauk lobster and (aside from herb butter in the former, mayo in the latter) very little else. Have them to go or enjoy on the quiet patio behind the store. More info: 631-288-7287

Flo's (302 Middle Rd., Blue Point): Florence Kimball founded Flo's in 1923 just steps from Blue Point's Corey Beach. Since then it's become a local landmark, due, in no small measure, to favorites like the chunky lobster roll, served with leaf lettuce on a hot dog bun. More info: 888-356-7864,

Jordan Lobster Farms (1 Pettit Pl., Island Park): When your stock in trade for decades has been lobster, you better do a fine lobster roll. Jordan's, one of Long Island's largest lobster wholesalers, makes one stuffed with a coral-hued salad of lobster meat, mayonnaise, lemon juice, celery and scallions, served with chips. Enjoy it in the waterside dining area, at home or in the car on the way home. More info: 516-889-3314,

Lazy Lobster (10 Front St., East Rockaway): If you're not from southwestern Nassau, you may not know about East Rockaway's walkable waterfront. A must-stop on your stroll is the Lazy Lobster food truck whose rolls are studies in proportion, featuring heaps of claw meat on deeply toasted, buttered split-top buns. Choose among four varieties: traditional with mayo, Connecticut-style (warm) with tarragon-citrus butter, "rock lobster" with bacon and diced tomatoes, and "angry," with some spice. All are served with shoestring fries and coleslaw. More info: 516-837-8484,

Lobster Roll (1980 Montauk Hwy., Amagansett): "Lunch" figures most prominently on this restaurant's landmark sign. "Lobster Roll," its official name, is rendered in slightly small letters and name checks the item that's been on the menu since its establishment in 1965. The lobster roll is a classic — lobster, celery and mayo on a toasted bun — but, in a thoroughly modern touch, it's also available on a gluten-free bun. More info: 631-267-3740,

North Fork Table & Inn (57225 Main Rd., Southold): The newly landscaped seating area adjacent to the restaurant's food truck is a perfect setting to indulge in either the hot "CT Lobby Roll," served with drawn butter, smoked paprika and wild chives, or the "ME Lobby Roll," with mayonnaise, celery and fennel sea salt. More info: 631-765-0177,

The Rex Burger & Lobster (524 Jericho Tpke., Mineola): They take second billing to burgers at this chic, counter-serve spot, but the lobster rolls are even better. You'll not find a more straightforward specimen, little more than meat piled in a butter-toasted bun that is available chilled (with mayo or butter) or warm with melted butter. The classic has 5 ounces of lobster; the supreme has 7.5 ounces. More info: 516-739-2747,

The Lake House (135 Maple Ave., Bay Shore): With its sweeping views of the Great South Bay, The Lake House's patio offers optimal lobster roll atmosphere. The contents of a whole 1¼-pound lobster is tossed with mayonnaise, lemon and chives, and served on a buttered potato bun with a side of burnished fries. More info: 631-666-0995,

Salt & Barrel (61 West Main St., Bay Shore): Two lobster rolls are available at Bay Shore's seafood specialist: warm, butter-poached lobster with pickled celery and tomato aioli; and the cold with mayonnaise, corn, tarragon and lemon. Both are served with housemade chips. More info: 631-647-8818,

Salted. On the Harbor (14 Woodbine Ave., Northport): The "Lawbsta Roll" at this harborside bistro is a study in largesse, and can easily feed two. The kitchen stuffs a toasted, buttered brioche bun with hunks of lobster meat until they can't fit anymore; the claws reach skyward, the mayo-based dressing is creamy and studded with slivered celery, and a layer of Bibb lettuce gives the entire thing extra crunch. More info: 631-651-2600,

Kasey's Kitchen & Cocktails (23 N. Park Ave., Rockville Centre): Kasey's comes into its own in summer: its beautifully appointed rooftop provides as panoramic-as-possible a view of the village. Don't miss the meaty lobster roll, dressed, barely, with mayo, celery and scallions, cradled in a Bibb lettuce-lined potato bun and served with excellent fries. More info: 516-766-5049,

Kerber's Farm (309 W. Pulaski Rd., Huntington): At this farmhouse-chic takeout spot, lobster is mixed with chopped celery and a minimum of mayonnaise, piled into a toasted hot dog bun and served with potato chips. Eat in the gravel-paved backyard, while the chickens cluck contentedly in their coop. More info: 631-423-4400,

Southold Fish Market (64755 Route 25, Southold): Half of this exemplary fish market is occupied by a counter-serve eatery (there are also tables out on the lawn). A highlight is the lobster roll containing big hunks of freshly picked meat of a 1¼-pound lobster mixed either with mayonnaise and celery (cold) or melted butter (warm). Both come with coleslaw and your choice of salad (perfectly good) or French fries (fantastic). More info: 631-765-3200

Sayville Bait & Tackle (220 N. Main St., Sayville). Not one, not two, but three lobster rolls populate the menu at this new Sayville spot, best described as a nautical-themed roadhouse. The most decadent of the trio is Endless Summer, a lobster roll that could only come from a mischievous mind: lobster salad layered atop crispy, fried clam strips, then served burger-style on a toasted brioche bun. It sounds questionable, but believe us, it works. More info: 631-256-2626,

Shipwreck Tavern (10 Bayville Ave., Bayville): The lobster roll at this kitschy, lively waterside eatery is made with lobster meat, diced celery and chili-spiked mayo heaped onto a grilled potato bun drizzled with melted butter. More info: 516-628-2628,

Smuggler Jack's (157 Forest Ave., Massapequa): Secreted away in a residential area is a classic of the genre, a lobster roll made with big chunks of lobster meat (warmed by request), Old Bay, salt, pepper, a little celery and just enough mayo heaped over some greens on a buttery, toasted brioche bun. More info: 516-798-6000,

View (3 Consuelo Pl., Oakdale): The fine-dining View has now been retooled into the more casual View's Lobster Shack, with indoor and outdoor dining (both with great views of the Great South Bay) plus delivery, dockside and curbside pickup. The New England lobster roll comprises chilled lobster salad on a buttered, toasted roll served with Old Bay fries or slaw. More info: 631-589-2694,

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