Cheap Eats 2016: Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls

Cheap Eats 2016: Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls
Mason's famous lobster rolls. Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Best Carryout Doesn’t Serve Alcohol

Now is the time to hit this tiny sandwich shop, before winter returns and owner Dan Beck is forced to rely on frozen lobster. Until then, he’s sourcing much of his titular product from a small outfit in Maine that claims to be able to trace every large-clawed crustacean back to the boat where it was harvested. In a stew made with a dozen ingredients, that dedication to freshness of course counts, but it’s also less obvious. In a lobster roll, where the star is made to stand alone—just a buttered, griddled roll and a little mayo (not too much!) to keep the tail meat moist—Beck’s mania for sourcing matters more. Anything fresher and you’d have to move to Maine. Would it be nice to have more on the menu than just a chowder and a bisque and some chips to go with your lobster roll? Yes, it would. But we’ll take Beck’s singular focus and pursuit of the highest quality possible over a halfhearted attempt to be more things for more people.

Also good: Connecticut-style lobster roll (with butter, not mayo).

See what other restaurants made our 2016 Cheap Eats list. This article appears in our May 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.