Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Amato's- Raised On "Real Italians"

You can tell there's alot of mayo.
Everywhere, Maine

I initially thought I would feel guilty about doing this review. I reviewed Amato's lobster roll in 2007, when they were advertising that they proudly served Duhaime's Lobster Salad. That lobster salad was inedible- way too salty and mushy.  It has been a few years since the review and 'tis the season for cheap lobsters. Amato's is now advertising a lobster roll for $8.99.  I could not resist buying one while picking up a veggie Italian for lunch.

If the roll was bad I might have had second thoughts about writing a review that denigrated Amato's at all. It would be like writing a review slamming your grandmother's cooking. You see, I was raised on Amato's and so were my siblings. Yes, we had normal food: corn, tomatoes, clams, and lobster, but we ate at Amato's a lot and it is one of the few food experiences I distinctly remember from childhood, along with sucking on lobster antennae stolen from the fridge. I would suck on them like licorice.

Amato's is a Maine institution and has come to define the Maine submarine sandwich style, with a super mushy roll, sparse meats and cheeses, wedged veggies with salt, peppah, oil... It has similarities to a Chicago style hot dog, sans the neon relish. Amato's is as much Maine as Mardens or Reny's. These establishments still primarily belong to Maine and have yet to take the international stage like Beans. Whenever my older sister returns home from Seattle she makes Amato's her first stop.  The unchanged style and taste of their subs brings us back to a simpler and happier time.

Brunswick Location
I took my first bite of the lobster roll with the expectation bar buried in a hole- nowhere to go, but up.  I was really shocked with the roll. It was heavy on the mayo and the lobster meat was obviously processed, but processed well. It had that sweetness missing from so many lobsters. There were whole claws and knuckle chunks interspersed with smaller pieces comprising the mayo matrix.  The roll was not grilled as a smaller version of the Amato's sub roll.  There was iceberg lettuce by default.  There was quite a bit of lobster salad, a good 6 ounces.

I am giving this a thumbs up and so did Serious Eats. I probably won't eat another one this summer because I need to spread my lobster money around, but this was more than a solid roll at 9 bucks. I will still eat lunch at Amato's twice a week for the entire summer.  I am partial to the Bath and Brunswick locations. A comment about their tag line: "Home of The Real Italian." Don't take this too seriously. The only other food I might be suited to blog about is the italian porchetta sandwich.  I have roamed Tuscany for 9 years in search of the best (Acquapendente Market on Saturdays- 2 Euro) and my Porchetta purveyors would become arabiata about the misappropriation of "Italian" used to describe Amato's- I still love 'em!

1 comment:

  1. Nice post (and thanks for shouting out my Serious Eats post). I am missing that Brunswick Amato's. The one here in Rockland is shockingly, unspeakably bad.