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9 Catt. 1: In re Red Hook Lobster Pound

2012 May 2
by CATTLEYA, J.

Opinion of JUSTICE CATTLEYA, in chambers.

Before the Cart is Red Hook Lobster Pound (“RHLP”), a food truck that is known on the street for its pricey lobster rolls. This food truck is no stranger to the Cart—we have already spilled ink on the topic of the $15 roll. See In re Red Hook Lobster Pound, 2 Catt. 1 (2011). In that opinion, we noted that RHLP’s menu also featured an $8 shrimp roll. We quickly dismissed the option, however. “[N]o one in their right mind orders shrimp over lobster,” we said. Id. Well, I was not in my right mind one afternoon, and I ordered the shrimp roll. (Actually, my mind was not “wrong.” It was just all too aware of my many expenses for the month, such as paying my newly-hired law clerk.)

Red Hook Lobster Pound

The first draft of my review of RHLP’s shrimp roll was very short. “It was good,” I wrote, “but it was not lobster.” I discarded that draft because it wasn’t fair. It was like comparing apples with oranges, steamed tofu with chicken fried steak, Carrot Top with Tupac, Wuthering Heights with Pride and Prejudice. It was also doing a disservice to those who wanted a real review of RHLP’s shrimp roll and wouldn’t be satisfied with “Take your $8, eat peanut butter and jelly one day to save another $7, and then treat yourself to a lobster roll.”

So I offer to you, loyal reader, my real review of the lobster roll’s oft-ignored cousin, the shrimp roll. To make the shrimp filling, RHLP tosses wild Maine shrimp in a homemade garlic tarragon mayonnaise. The sweet pieces of Maine shrimp were tiny (less than an inch long), but wonderfully sweet. The mayo dressing was lightly applied and didn’t hide the freshness of the shrimp. The taste of tarragon was evident, but it was not overpowering as often occurs with the intensely-flavored herb.

Shrimp Roll

Although the shrimp filling was executed quite well, the bread left a stronger impression with me. I have previously raved about RHLP’s bread. See Red Hook Lobster Pound, 2 Catt. 1 (Cattleya, J., concurring). I wrote, “The buttered bread developed perfect grill marks and a toasty outside, leaving behind a slightly crisp layer into which my teeth could sink with satisfaction. At the same time, the bread was just thick enough so that the inside was still soft and pillowy.”Id. Luckily for me (and for you), the bread is the same whether you order the lobster or shrimp roll. Again, there was the delicious buttery taste . . . the toasted exterior . . . the pillowy interior. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water! (The attentive reader will by now have noticed how easily satisfied I am by a great piece of bread. See, e.g., In re Lemongrass, 7 Catt. 1 (2012); In re Rolling Ficelle, 6 Catt. 3 (2012).)

The bottom line is that RHLP’s shrimp roll was good . . . but it was not lobster. (Yeah, yeah, I know what I just did there. See supra.) The shrimp roll did not knock my knee high socks off like the lobster roll did. I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t been thinking about the lobster roll while I was eating the shrimp roll. (And by “thinking” I mean “wishing that I had gotten the lobster roll.”) But if I were living in a world where RHLP’s lobster roll didn’t exist, I would be quite happy to share my lunch break with the shrimp roll.

A note about the portion and price: At $8, RHLP’s shrimp roll is comparably priced to other sandwiches on the street. See, e.g., In re Willie’s Po Boy, 7 Catt. 4 (2012) ($9 crawfish sandwich); Lemongrass, 7 Catt. 1 ($7.50 pork sandwich); In re El Floridano, 2 Catt. 2 (2011) ($7 pork sandwich); Rolling Ficelle, 6 Catt. 3 ($6.95 ham sandwich); In re Bada Bing, 5 Catt. 2 (2012) ($6.50 chicken sandwich). But unlike some of these sandwiches, the shrimp roll will leave you hungry. That’s not to say that the shrimp roll isn’t worth its price tag. It is. It’s just that you might find yourself standing in front of the vending machine at 3:30pm. (If you do and can’t decide while you’re staring at the rows of salty snacks and sweet candy, may I suggest Cheetos or Cheez-Its? They’re my personal favorites.)

I will now address an issue that I should have addressed at the beginning of this opinion. (I can feel the Chief Justice rolling his eyes at my oversight.) When reviewing a food truck’s offerings, this Supreme Cart determines whether the offering is “street food.” Street food is “the kind[] of food[] that can be cooked in front of you and [is] meant to be eaten with your hands, without forks, while standing up.” In re Eat Wonky (The Whoopie Pie Case), 2 Catt. 5 (2011). Street food is entitled to the presumption that it should be affirmed by this court. In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012). It is well-settled that sandwiches, under which category the shrimp roll fits, is street food. See Willie’s Po Boy, 7 Catt. 4; Rolling Ficelle, 6 Catt. 3; Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2. Therefore, RHLP is entitled to the presumption that its shrimp roll should be affirmed by the Cart. But, as should be clear by the reasons stated in this opinion, even without this presumption, RHLP’s shrimp roll—on its own merits—would be affirmed.

AFFIRMED. It is so ordered.

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