The last time I ate a lobster roll it was at a seaside shack a few miles outside of Mystic, Conn., lobster roll sacred ground, as it were. So I was curious of the offerings at the new 167 Raw
(289 East Bay St.), a to-go seafood deli and cafe. But owners Jesse Sandole and Kyle Norton know what they’re doing. They’ve paired their insider seafood sourcing (Sandole’s dad has been in the fish biz on Nantucket Island for 30 years, so he has connections) with an eager young chef, Sean Rieflin, a three-year Macintosh veteran, and the result is wicked good.
167 Raw’s rolls clock in at $18 with a side of chips and feature large chunks of fresh meat tossed in a light aioli topped with chives on a lightly toasted Butcher & Bee bun. (For comparison, The Ordinary’s lobster roll was priced at $23 before becoming a Tuesday-only special paired with salad and dessert for $35.) In addition, the marble four-seat counter offers made-to-order fish ($6), fried oyster ($6), shrimp tacos ($6), pescadero carnitas ($5), and veggie tacos ($4). But perhaps the tastiest surprise was what Sandole and Norton are calling an ahi poke salsa ($10) featuring small cubes of tuna chopped up and seasoned with cilantro. It’s particularly delicious when eaten with a side of their crispy pita chips.
We didn’t snap up any deli items this time, but fresh live lobsters were in stock, in addition to Little Neck clams, yellowfin tuna, flounder, sea scallops, and more.
Yes, the store is super small, and seating at the open kitchen counter is snug, but Sandole, Norton, and Rieflin are friendly conversationalists. With a hearty roll in hand and a Mexican Coke to wash it down, it’s easy to overlook the cozy confines. 167 Raw is open Mon.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Fri.- Sun. 10 a.m.-’til.