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Great Lobster Rolls, in Austin? Only at Garbo's

Great Lobster Rolls, in Austin? Only at Garbo's

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This new food truck is selling some high-quality lobster

A while back I was talking with my mom, and being the honorary Junkie that she is she let me know about a new truck that has popped up: Garbo's Lobster rolls.

"Lobster rolls? What the heck are they," you may well be asking. What could be better than that? Garbo's serves up some great rolls done either Connecticut or Maine style. Connecticut style is served on a roll spread with tarragon butter, Maine is without. I opted for a half roll, Maine Style, and soup. Here's a quick look:

Roll: The bread itself was perfect for the sandwich, which is to say that while tasting good it knew its place. It had a nice fresh baked kind of taste without being too bready. As for the lobster salad, it was delicious and had very generous amount of lobster. Maybe I'm just used to crab salad which is usually made with krab, not crab, and seems to consist mostly of mayo. Not the case here at all. This lobter salad is absolutely delicious.

Bisque: The soup offered when I went was lobster bisque. It had a nice rich broth, and again a surprising amount of lobster meat in it. I figured it would be just be a nice lobster broth but was pleasantly surprised to find large pieces of meat in it as well.

All in all this is a very good truck and well worth the visit. If you're interested in trying them, and I suggest you do, you'll need to visit their site for current locations because they are mobile.

Mobile Food Throwdown Awards Best Lobster Roll in Austin

As the event began at 11:30 AM, representatives from each food truck introduced themselves before cooking started. Dock & Roll served their lobster roll with habanero vinaigrette sauce and a cucumber, blueberry, watermelon salad. Garbo’s took a basic approach to their lobster roll, with half an ear of corn on the side, covered with cheese sauce and bacon.

With more than 200 people in attendance (all tickets sold out), lines for food were long, especially at Dock & Roll. To keep the crowd entertained, event hosts Tony and Christina from provided trivia. A number of local businesses generously offered giveaways, including Austin Eats Food Tours, Passbook Austin, Bird’s Barbershop, Austin Marathon & Half Marathon, Chi’Lantro BBQ, Trucklandia and Kong Screen Printing. Kong was on site at the event, creating event t-shirts on the spot.

Ticket holders stand in line at Mobile Food Throwdown 2015

Austinites eat in the shade at Mobile Food Throwdown 2015

First Look: Garbo's Wells Branch

By Rod Machen,

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the great state of Maine. In two short days, I had lobster four times. There wasn’t another choice. It was expected.

What’s not expected is to be eating fresh Maine lobster in Austin. What’s an even further surprise is for this type of restaurant to be smack dab in the middle of suburban North Austin, Wells Branch to be precise.

But there on Bratton Lane, in a strip mall featuring Polvo’s, pizza, and generic Chinese, lies Garbo’s, the long-awaited, brick and mortar version of the beloved lobster roll food truck. On a recent Friday night, there was no shortage of people wanting to try a little slice of New England. By 6pm, a waiting list had formed.

Space is well used. A small deck has been converted to communal-style seating – just like the large tables inside. Some foliage helps disguise the fact that the eating area is just a few feet away from the street, but it’s the food that transports one far away the asphalt.

We started with the clam fritters. Fried food is a universal language, so I expected to like them, though they still managed to surprise. Instead of a crispy, crunchy offering, these clams were hidden in a batter that was eggy, moist, and light, and served with a amiable mayonnaise-style sauce.

For a middle course, we chose the clam chowder. Made in the creamy version that we are most used to in Texas, the soup was not overly rich with cream but had lots of flavor, both from the clams and vegetables as well as from a generous use of spice. The oyster crackers looked a notch above what Nabisco makes, and I confirmed that they are indeed imported from the northeast. It showed they left just the right about of butter on the napkin. These could be snacked on by the bucket full.

For the entree, we stuck with Garbo’s most famous offering, the lobster roll. It’s available in two styles: warm with butter or cold with mayo. (Actually three, if you count the extravagant caviar and truffle option.) Both choices are valid, but that night the butter called. Not only is the lobster so fresh that it confirms its provenance, but the bun, made locally by Sweetish Hill, almost steals the show. It’s firm enough to handle these rich ingredients, but flavorful enough to make this sandwich a beautiful dance.

For dessert, we settled on the blueberry pie. It came out on a wooden tray, scooped more in the style of a cobbler, but in the end that distinction didn’t matter. Ice cream helps break up the sweetness of the filling, but its the strong blueberry flavor that makes this dish work. Between two spoons, it didn’t last long.

As evidenced by this meal, Garbo’s is not just a lobster roll joint. It’s New England comfort food that shines not only because of the freshness of the ingredients but the execution of them as well. While the trucks will still be out-and-about for lunch, Garbo’s will open six nights a week serving the dinner crowd. If this first visit is any indication, the word ‘crowd’ will continue to be accurate.

Lightly battered cod, served with tartar and vinegar. We LOVED the fish and chips!

Longtime restaurant up near Anderson Mill, Freda’s Seafood Grille boasts a lobster roll served on a split-New England bun, and where the cold-water lobster tail is doused it either in warm butter or lemon mayonnaise for more flavor. There are other lobster dishes too, like the lobster and shrimp bisque and the cold-water lobster, which is paired with a baked potato and asparagus.

The lobster-obsessed Wells Branch restaurant and roaming food truck Garbo’s does its lobster rolls in one of two ways: Connecticut (warmed in butter) or Maine (mayonnaise, celery, and lemon). Can’t decide between the two? Get a second roll for $11.

Austin’s Best Seafood Restaurants

T he humidity and heat in Texas is often something to gripe about. In the summer, you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. But the heat and humidity also comes from being close to the water, and in some ways it’s responsible for all of the fresh and delicious seafood we have access to in the Lone Star State.

Few Texas cities have embraced seafood quite like Austin, though. It’s an underrated mecca for great fish. Austin’s best seafood restaurants are a step above. Here’s the short list of the top echelon…

Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar

This South Congress restaurant serves up fresh fish and oysters that are flown in daily from both the East and West Coast. You can get a selection of oysters and almost every fish you can imagine — including octopus — on Perla’s crowd-pleasing patio.

Perla’s is famed for its juicy oysters, flown in from both coasts. (Photo by Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar.)

Deckhand Oyster Bar

500 Parker Dr. & 4211 S. Lamar Blvd.

Perfect when you’re having oyster cravings, need some deep fried calamari, or some popcorn shrimp, Deckhand’s two locations are sure to please. Its Southwestern Stuffed Oysters are a great way to dip your toe into the world of oysters. These are cooked oysters that are stuffed with pico de gallo and Monterrey Jack cheese.

For an elevated dish, check out the Mussels Vin Blanc, a full pound of delicate black mussels sauteed with onions, peppers and ginger, and simmered in a Riesling sauce.

Hillside Farmacy

Hillside Farmacy serves up a little bit of everything, but you can’t hit this East Austin joint without trying its fresh oysters or crab cakes, finished off with pickles and a creamy remoulade sauce.

Enjoy fresh oysters with creamy remoulade sauce at Hillside Farmacy. (Photo by Hillside Farmacy.)

Mongers Market + Kitchen

Mongers’ smoked fish dip just may be the best way to begin a summer meal in Austin. It’s made with pickled fresno chile, radishes and celery for a fresh and smokey flavor profile.

Afterwards, try out Monger’s seafood chowder for a mix of land and sea. You’ll find fresh seafood, potatoes and bacon all packed in.

Mongers’ raw bar is a great way to try out a poke bowl, or you can choose between oysters, scallops, blue crab fingers, clams and daily crudo. With all of Mongers’ options, it’s impressive that the restaurant’s able to serve its expansive menus with such care.

For a southern flair, the Blue Crab Cake Sammie is made with fried green tomatoes, creamy tartar sauce and an apple-jalapeno slaw.

Mongers Market + Kitchen serves up scallops with the works. (Photo courtesy Mongers Market + Kitchen.)

French Quarter Grille

I will always argue that there’s no comfort food better than Cajun food. You’ll get your fill of Cajun classics at French Quarter Grille, which serves up cajun favorites with Étouffée, which can be served with shrimp, crawfish, crabmeat gumbo, fried crawfish and more.

Although it’s sometimes branded a bottom feeder by more snobby eaters, the catfish is blackened to perfection before being served over dirty rice and then topped with shrimp and crawfish gumbo.

Clark’s Oyster Bar

Clark’s inviting and open restaurant in West Austin is the go-to spot for lobster rolls when you can’t take a quick trip to Maine. With an impressive happy hour, a wide range of oysters and clams, Clark’s is a great place when you feel like taking a trip under the sea.

Check out its Shrimp Toast, with pea tendrils, shaved celery, and a spicy Harissa aoili, or the authentic New England Clam Chowder, served with oyster crackers…. because, duh.


Alcomar pairs seafood with ingredients and dishes from each of Mexico’s coastlines to create a fresh and creative menu. The Austin seafood restaurant‘s Shrimp Pozole Rojo is restorative, and its Lobster Enchiladas will have you wondering why these two don’t pair up more often.

Alcomar takes seafood to the Mexican coast with dishes like this pan-seared shrimp with guajillo rice and sour orange-habanero vinaigrette. (Photo courtesy Alcomar.)


Both a food truck and a restaurant, Garbo’s spotlights New England seafood with coastal charm. Clam chowder, lobster bisque and Fish & Chips are a given, but we were wowed that Garbo’s offers both Connecticut and Maine style lobster rolls, the first warmed in butter and the second served with mayonnaise, celery and lemon.

Don’t forget to try the Lobster Grilled cheese, which features white cheddar, smoked gouda and bacon, alongside tomato soup.

Austin&lsquos Best Seafood Restaurants (and Food Trucks, Too)

Feeling crabby? Looking for a meal that&rsquos shrimply the best? Are you on a &ldquosee food&rdquo diet? OK, now that we&rsquove gotten those puns out of the way, it&rsquos time to get to the business of eating. Whether you like your seafood raw, fried, baked, or grilled, check out these eateries around Austin that are sure to satisfy your cravings.


801 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704

Much like Adele, Beyonce, Pink, and Shakira, Uchi is a one-name superstar that dazzles the senses. (Not surprising it also tops our best sushi in Austin list.) With a reputation for fresh fish and inventive fare, this cute red bungalow houses some of the tastiest raw and cooked seafood creations in the city.

At the raw bar is where you&rsquoll see an array of freshly flown-in fish from Japan, while the rest of the space is lined with booths and tables. Along with sushi, sashimi, and rolls, the menu offers &ldquocool tastings&rdquo like yellowtail with ponzu and &ldquohot tastings&rdquo such as grilled branzino with maitake mushroom.

Quality Seafood Market

5621 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751

When you want a good old-fashioned chow down, Quality Seafood Market is just the place to make it happen. Along with the retail fish market, there&rsquos a restaurant where you can choose from daily blackboard specials and grab a seat at the oyster bar.

Get your fix of fresh Gulf oysters on the half shell, salmon street tacos, and that famous melange of fried calamari, zucchini, carrots, and jalapenos. With a storied history and bustling yet welcoming vibe, Quality Seafood Market is a true Austin classic.


4200 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78756

No &ldquobest seafood in Austin&rdquo list would be complete without Uchiko. If the name sounds familiar, you&rsquore right. The &ldquochild of Uchi&rdquo doesn&rsquot fall far from the tree when it comes to fresh fish and artfully presented Japanese dishes.

Seafood comes in every day from Japan&rsquos famed Toyosu market, and produce comes from local farms. Similar to Uchi&rsquos menu options, there are numerous rolls, sushi, and sashimi as well as cool tastings (try the kanpachi crudo) and hot tastings like halibut with romanesco, hazelnut, and coconut beurre blanc. Sounds amazing, doesn&rsquot it?

Clark&rsquos Oyster Bar

1200 W. 6th St., Austin, TX 78703

With its yellow-and-white striped awning and shaded outdoor seating that leads to a bright, white, diner-like space, Clark&rsquos Oyster Bar feels as if it could be somewhere along the coast of New England. Only it happens to be in Austin.

Offering lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, this lively seafood haven is where you&rsquoll load up on everything from oysters, clams, and caviar to lobster rolls, mussels in white wine, snapper (crispy or ceviche-style), cioppino, and so much more.

Deckhand Oyster Bar

Multiple locations

With a mission to offer reasonably priced seafood in a family-friendly environment, Deckhand Oyster Bar is the kind of place where you can let your hair down and enjoy a fuss-free good time.

With two locations &mdash North is on Parker Drive and South is on South Lamar Boulevard &mdash the bar&rsquos specialty is Gulf Coast oysters and made-to-order seafood dishes that span Thai, Cajun, and American cuisine. You can get your fresh fish broiled, blackened, or fried, and enjoy favorites like crawfish etouffee, shrimp pad thai, Southwestern stuffed oysters, and po&rsquo boy sandwiches.


14735 Bratton Ln., Austin, TX 78728

If a trip to the East Coast isn&rsquot in the books anytime soon, don&rsquot worry. You can get plenty of fresh Maine lobster at Garbo&lsquos, which has a restaurant located in the Bratton Square strip mall, a trailer on Congress in downtown Austin, and a couple of roving food trucks.

While the trailer and trucks have a fairly short menu of classics &mdash there&rsquos a few lobster rolls, a crab roll, burger, and lobster Cobb salad &mdash the brick-and-mortar eatery has a substantially larger list of vittles, including clam chowder, shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, oysters, fish &lsquon&rsquo chips, seafood platters, and more.

Mongers Market + Kitchen

2401 E. Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78702

Just as its name says, Mongers Market + Kitchen is part market, part raw bar, part kitchen, and all good. Whether you want to pop by the shop to pick up the catch of the day, or you feel like lingering for a bite inside or on the outdoor patio, the results are the same: deliciously fresh seafood. Gulf Coast catches are the focus here, so expect local favorites like BBQ shrimp, grouper, red snapper, and a whole lot more.

Perla&rsquos Seafood

1400 S. Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704

With a giant marlin on the wall, oversized aquarium, and under-the-sea decorative accents, Perla&rsquos has that nautical vibe on lock. (It also has a pretty tree-lined patio with tiny Edison lights.) Along with the cool scene, this seafood and oyster bar is a fun spot for a lunch, brunch, or dinner date.

Oysters on the half shell, sandwiches, and classic appetizers will start you off right. But when you want to go for broke, try any of Perla&rsquos plates, surf &lsquon&rsquo turf options, or fresh fish that can be pan-roasted, seared, fried, or oak-grilled.


Multiple locations

While we like to keep things local, this national chain earns high marks thanks to its consistently good food and luxe scene that makes you feel like you&rsquore successfully adulting. With two locations &mdash downtown Austin and the Arboretum &mdash Truluck&lsquos is popular for special occasions and business meetings. (Translation: It&rsquos pricey.)

Since it&rsquos a national outfit, you&rsquoll find a wide variety of seafood, from Mediterranean branzino and Pacific swordfish to Great Lakes fried perch, Hawaiian ahi tuna, and Faroe Island salmon. If your wallet&rsquos a little tight, stop by during the half-price weeknight happy hour (excuse us, &ldquococktail hour&rdquo) in the Stone Crab Lounge.

Turf N&rsquo Surf Po Boy

407 Lavaca St., Austin, TX 78701

The antithesis to Truluck&rsquos scene, Turf N&rsquo Surf Po Boy (often called Turf N&rsquo Surf Poboys), is about as no-frills as it gets &mdash although the flat-screen TVs kick it up a notch. Located inside the Lavaca Street Bar, this seafood-meets-taco stand is where Austinites go for Cajun-style po&rsquo boys, tacos, and more.

Get your seafood (or meat) grilled, fried, or blackened. Shrimp, mahi-mahi, redfish, and &ldquonaughty cat&rdquo (catfish with bacon) are just a few of the &ldquosurf&rdquo options while there are dozens of &ldquoturf&rdquo selections, including ribeye, chicken, and pulled pork.

The best lobster rolls in Austin will help get you ready to cheer the Patriots in the Super Bowl

I told you about the best cheesesteak in Austin (along with a dozen other places to buy them), in case you wanted to get in the Super Bowl spirit by eating the trademark
sandwich of Philadelphia. In the interest of equal time (and as a nod to my Patriots-loving co-worker, the tireless and brilliant
Jeremy Schwartz), I&rsquoll tell you my favorite lobster roll in town and some other good options, in case you want to get in a
New England state of mind/stomach. Yes, I could have gone with places to get clam chowder, but I prefer lobster rolls, and
it&rsquos my blog.

My favorite lobster roll in town comes from
Garbo&rsquos (14735 Bratton Ln. 512-350- 9814,, a Wells Branch-area restaurant that also has a couple of roving food trucks. Here&rsquos what I wrote about
Garbo&rsquos and its lobster roll in 2016:

Heidi Garbo is a woman with the confidence to go against the grain. After moving to Texas from Florida, the New England native
opened a lobster roll truck in landlocked Austin. Then she opened another. Then came a brick-and-mortar restaurant in a part
of far North Austin not known for restaurants. The lobster rolls, their crimson knuckle and claw meat bursting from their
toasty pouches, serve as the centerpiece for the restaurant.

You can order the roll with Maine style (mayo, celery and lemon) or Connecticut style (drawn butter). The rolls cost $13 at
the trailer and $14 at the restaurant.

Garbo’s is now in downtown Austin with their trailer with lobster rolls served Maine style (tossed in mayo) or Connecticut style (warmed in butter) with cape cod potato chips. Add a second lobster roll for only $9!

The most famous Friday lunch special in downtown Austin is Perry’s Friday pork chop special. The restaurant is open for lunch every Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Don’t even think about going back to work after this lunch.

LUNCH DEAL: On Fridays, Perry’s offers a half cut portion of their Famous Pork Chop served with whipped potatoes and homemade applesauce for just $14.95 (regular cut priced at $39.95).

The 29 Best Lobster Rolls in America

While Maine has long solidified its standing as the lobster roll capital of America–and with good reason–we’re here to tell you that the sandwich has spread its wings in a very big way.

Because chunks of lobster meat drizzled with butter or covered in mayo and served in a bun couldn’t be trendier right now, there are plenty of new and improved options from West Hollywood to Atlanta.

Here, our picks for the 30 best lobster rolls around the country. How did we come up with this list? Restaurant’s using the freshest lobster available scored points with us, and the quantity of lobster served on the roll was also important. The bun the lobster is served in, along with how the lobster is dressed (for instance lots of mayo, or no mayo at all) also played a role.

But, as all you lobster roll fans know, at the end of the day, the best lobster rolls are just great for reasons that are hard to describe. So trust us when we say, these 30 lobster rolls are just great, end of story.

Have a favorite lobster roll that we missed? Share your pick in the comments below!

Watch the video: Hands Down, THE BEST LOBSTER ROLL In Austin at Garbos. QP EATS Austin Food Vlog (July 2022).


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