If you happen to love lobster like I do, Maine lobster is the absolute best you can experience. While I’m not the Galloping Lobster Gourmet, I have had lobster from various regions and I’ve always preferred Maine lobster for its superior taste and texture.
Thanks to gourmet food trucks, many truck chasers have experienced this delicious Maine offering. When I first heard that Cousins Maine Lobster truck was starting its operation, I was less than enthusiastic to learn about another entry into this already existing market.
Despite my skepticism, I checked their website and looked up their menu which features lobster, crab and shrimp rolls. Three of my basic food groups all on one truck! I checked further and found ceviche, lobster tacos and lobster bisque. I was also intrigued because Cousins Maine Lobster featured sustainable seafood.
My schedule finally sync’ed with Cousins Maine Lobster and I was able to visit them at the Gateway Lot on Century Blvd. There I met co-owner Sabin Lomac and briefly chatted with him while I ordered a number of items from their truck. I wasn’t able to talk to Sabin in-depth because the line was too long. Fortunately, I was able to later talk with Jim Tselikis , Sabin’s partner, cousin, and co-owner. Hence the name, Cousins Maine Lobster.
At the time I spoke with Jim, Cousins Maine Lobster had only been on the road for 3 weeks. He said that it was too early to draw any conclusions about their operation, but added that he and Sabin were extremely pleased with how well they were doing. Despite an ambitious menu, Jim said that he doesn’t want to leave the menu as is and will eventually introduce “two or three items into the pipeline”. He added that they also will add some new desserts as well. Some of their specials may only be on their menu for a month.
I learned that the Maine lobster industry is quite unique. In fact, Jim stated that “We are able to guarantee sustainable Maine lobster because the Maine lobster fishery is inherently sustainable.” They return juveniles lobsters to the sea to allow them to grow to maturity and reproduce.
Jim added that “Maine fishermen take it a step further by punching notches into the tail flippers of egg-bearing females before returning them to the ocean to identify them as good breeders. The notch will last through four molt stages allowing the female to reproduce four more times. Oversized lobsters are returned because the bigger the lobster is, the more eggs it can carry – and big females need big males to mate!”
While the information may be fascinating to learn, the average truck chaser is probably more interested in the overall culinary experience. Cousins Maine offers two different lobster rolls. Upon reading their menu, it is not obvious what the difference between the “Maine” and the “Connecticut”. As you might expect, the “Maine” is the true Maine experience: chilled lobster in a toasted bun “lightly brushed with butter” and a thin spread of mayonnaise. The Connecticut is topped with warm lobster and is drizzled with melted butter. Both versions have lobster seasoned with “Cousins Seasoning” which consists of celery salt and 6 other spices.
If you like lobster bisque, you must try Cousins Maine Lobster’s version. What separates their bisque from the best lobster bisque I’ve had is that they include large pieces of lobster in the soup. The soup is incredibly creamy and when you bite into a piece of real Maine lobster, the experience is unforgettable. Cousins Maine has offerings that suit the local clientele as they also have lobster tacos as well as a “lobster martini” for those that are watching their carbs.
I wondered who was creating these tasty dishes and Jim told me that some have been created by Chef Chris Tula. Chris attended the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and later worked as a Sous Chef in Boston. The ceviche and the lobster tacos were created by Director of Operations, Maxson Smith.
They proudly state that their lobster is plucked out of icy Maine waters 24 hours before it is served. If you have ever had your own business, you quickly realize how much work they have taken upon themselves. Seeing that Cousins Maine Lobster has a Monday outing, I asked Jim how it was possible to serve lobster that was caught 24 hours earlier. He responded that the Maine Lobster industry is a 7 day a week operation and that includes shipping on Sunday. He added that it costs a bit more to ship on Sunday, but that is how they are able to certify the freshest possible product.
If you’re interested in trying the best lobster roll in LA, you must try Cousins Maine. They’re scheduled for a visit to the South Bay with a lunch time stop a the Automobile Driving Museum’s Eat Fleet on Friday, June 22.
Cousins Maine Lobster