When you're on the hunt for good grub on a bargain, a $13.95 sandwich might take a little justifying. But look, we're talking lobster here.
What draws seafood fans to Alive & Kicking Lobsters, tucked away down by the river, just outside of Central Square, is no ordinary hot-dog-bun lobster roll. In fact, it's not a lobster roll at all. Instead, Alive & Kicking redefines the classic by giving us a lobster-salad sandwich on thick, delicious Italian bread — one bite into the toasted, buttery goodness is a revelation.
No celery or other fillers get in the way of the seriously undiluted taste of New England's favorite crustacean. Mayonnaise plays such an absolutely minimal part that calling this lobster "salad" feels disrespectful. The lobster comes all but naked on two toasted slices of Scali bread. Each week, owner Louis Mastrangelo swings by Revere to hit up Esposito Baking Company; they make the bread specially for Mastrangelo, who picks up about 40 loaves a week.
To wash down your sandwich, grab one of their house-brand sodas ($1.50). The ginger ale has a nice bite of ginger in it, and the cream soda tastes really smooth.
Alive & Kicking's no-frills charm extends to more than just the food. Built by Mastrangelo himself, the storefront looks just like a house, only with a glorified version of a driveway for a parking lot. Behind the outdoor patio-furniture-strewn dining area, you'll find the "garage," where the serving counter, lobster tanks, and toaster ovens await the savvy.
And you can count yourself among the savvy if you belly up to Alive & Kicking's counter — tracking this place down merits some serious blue-collar-Boston cred. Only yuppies and tourists pay too much for lobster.
Wondering about the rest of the menu? It's a moot point. The sandwich stands alone: no menu. But if you want to grab some fresh seafood to cook yourself, you can. Fish and crustaceans come in from places like Ipswich and Rowley. Their prices are market value, so lobster ran $10.50 per pound on my last visit — $7.95 and $8.95 for 1 1/4–pound lobsters and 1 1/2–pound lobsters. Currently, they're running a special: Maryland soft-shell crab at $4.95 apiece.
In the future, Mastrangelo plans to add a crabmeat sandwich and a sautéed-fish sandwich. Look forward to it.
Alive & Kicking Lobsters, located at 269 Putnam Ave in Cambridge, is open Monday–Saturday 11 am–6 pm, and Sunday 12–3 pm. Call 617.876.0451.