Restaurant Review: Restaurant Review

Divine lobster rolls that don't require a plane ticket to Cape Cod

Garbo's Fresh Maine Lobster

14735 Bratton, 512/350-9814,
Tue.-Thu., 11am-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 11am-10pm; Sun., 10:30am-3pm
Restaurant Review
Photo by John Anderson

Garbo's Fresh Maine Lobster

Various locations, 512/350-9814

Lobster rolls are one of those delicacies that most Texans only get to enjoy while on vacation in Cape Cod or California. An authentic lobster roll consists of a soft bun, filled to bursting with fresh, sweet lobster meat tossed in a little mayonnaise or melted butter. The lobster is the focus, and there needs to be plenty of it. Even in lobster-fishing areas, lobster rolls aren't cheap; they generally run between 10 and 20 dollars. Here in Austin, far from cold ocean water, I only know one restaurant where you can order one (Perla's), and it is fairly cost-prohibitive ($30).

So the arrival of Garbo's Fresh Maine Lobster truck on the Austin scene is truly exciting culinary news. Heidi Garbo, the proprietor, comes from an extended lobster-fishing family in New England. Brought to Austin by marriage, she was quick to see her opportunity to fill our lobster roll vacuum. Because she has an "in" with established lobster fishermen (her father, uncle, and brothers), she can get fresh lobster flown in daily, right off the boats, for a fraction of the cost that others must pay to middlemen.

Garbo's lobster truck sells both a "Maine Style" (chilled Maine lobster dressed with homemade mayonnaise, celery, and seasoning, on Bibb lettuce, in a Sweetish Hill bun) and "Connecticut Style" (fresh Maine Lobster brushed with lemon-tarragon drawn butter, sprinkled with scallions, and served on a toasted Sweetish Hill bun). Both sell for market price, which varies between $13 and $15 – that's right – nearly half the price of competitors. The lobster is always supremely fresh (often less than a day out of the water), and both styles are crammed with big pieces of succulent knuckle and claw meat, making for a rich and heavenly experience.

Garbo's Lobster truck goes to different locations daily, and on any given day can be found by checking the website. Most Saturdays between 9am and 1pm it can be found at the Barton Creek Farmers' Market; the truck can also be contracted for private events.

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