Landlocked lobster love

July 17, 2012


We Minnesotans may be landlubbers but one thing is for certain—we have good food. I know there are many excellent restaurants around the area, but my personal focus on eating out for two and a half summers has been with our new industry of (mostly) high-end food trucks. Two summers ago there were just a handful on our streets. Last summer there were a few more. This summer there has an explosion of new food trucks, and I don’t mean in the combustible sense.

The chefs who run these trucks aren’t afraid to make good food. And I certainly am not afraid to enjoy it. In fact, in the last couple of weeks, I have had the pleasure of consuming three completely different lobster rolls. Yes, you heard me. Lobster rolls. Here in landlocked Minnesota. (I don’t count Lake Superior. There are no lobsters there. Delicious lake trout, yes. Lobsters, no.)

Here, then, is a round-up of the lobster rolls you could have been enjoying had you been around and, if you were around, chosen to eschew skyway chain restaurants and chew on some inspired food.



The original: Smack Shack

Smack Shack was one of the original food trucks in downtown Minneapolis, appearing on the scene that first summer of 2010. Lobster and seafood is what they do. If you observe their truck from above, say, in one of those skyways where you’re trolling for taco Tuesday, you’ll see the giant lobster painted on the top of the truck and perhaps be intrigued enough to leave your comfort zone and treat yourself to a truly spectacular sandwich. I don’t have the links to prove it, but Smack Shack’s lobster roll has been reviewed by many as rivaling anything found on the northeast coast. Chef Josh Thoma tosses globs of succulent lobster in a cucumber tarragon lemon dressing and stuffs it into tender griddled milk break made by local bakery star and bread provider to the food trucks, The Salty Tart. I can also personally attest that The Salty Tart’s beer bread is another amazing creation, especially if you toast it and slather it with fresh, local butter. But I digress.


Next up: Get Sauced

Chef Driven is the umbrella company for a few different food ventures, one of which is the Get Sauced truck. Get Sauced appeared on the scene late last season and made an immediate impact. Their menu is Latin-influenced and features amazing tacos and tortas made with seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Out of the blue last week, a Mexican lobster roll appeared as the special item. This version was a toasted bun (from the Salty Tart as well?) packed with more of a salady filling. There were nice, giant pieces of lobster mixed with shredded meat, sweetcorn kernels, cilantro, and spicy spices. Sweet, succulent, spicy, splendid. Chunky lobster, yes. Succulent, again yes. The same only different, definitely, deliciously!


Newcomers: SushiFix

This summer, 2012, has seen an exponential growth in the number of food trucks on the streets both in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Do I exaggerate about the exponential part? Of course. But as more trucks join the scene, it becomes harder to stand out from the crowd. SushiFix does not have that problem, because they are the first truck to serve fresh, amazing sushi. Or sushi of any kind. And while you’re finishing rolling your eyes about the notion of a mobile food truck serving sushi that’s anything less than disgusting, let me disabuse you of that notion. Food trucks are licensed and inspected like any fixed kitchen and, amazingly, they employ modern techniques such as—wait for it—refrigeration. The proprietor is a well-experienced sushi chef previously of a respected restaurant in town and I’m pretty sure that I read that the fish is overnighted daily from Japan (I’m not doing much research-linking tonight but I’m 97% sure I’ve read these things to which I’m referring). But if you’re still skeptical, hey, go back into the skyway and enjoy that sodium-bomb chemical sub. 

Today in the pre-lunch Twittersphere, SushiFix announced that their special was a lobster roll. A sushi lobster roll!  I suppose sushi is often made with lobster, but because we were dreading the forecast high temperature of 100°F/38°C, a fresh roll with lobster, tempura shrimp, avocado, and strawberries—strawberries!—seemed like just the thing. And so it was. My only “complaint”? The outer strawberries made the pieces a little slippery to pick up with my chopsticks. First world problem. And for the first time (except maybe that other time I had SushiFix’s spicy tuna roll) I didn’t even think about employing the soy sauce and wasabi. For the record though, I’m pretty sure the soy sauce is homemade or, as is currently the fashionable terminology, house made.

We are not deprived.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: