Only seen a couple of posts since Belle Isle moved across the bridge from East Boston to Winthrop, so I thought I'd make a handy thread for discussion on the new location as we went there yesterday afternoon for the first time since the move.
Been to the old location probably 50 times, and since we live south of Boston and outside 128, you know that we must love Belle Isle to go that far that often.
Building is much more substantial
Plenty of parking (although if the place fills up, I wonder if this might change), and nice not to be on the street or in the rutted back lot.
BATHROOMS! And even with some nice decoration (check out the seaglass inspired trim on the walls)! Big step up from the gallon sized jar of generic Purel!
Big counter, new menu boards (a bit further away than the old ones, I'll bring my glasses in next time!), more people behind the counter (and, it appeared, in the kitchen), Pepsi dispensing machine (instead of the 20 ounce bottles), little red buzzing lobsters to let you know when your food is ready, 2 big screen TVs, and BEER AND WINE!
Seating area is huge, probably can seat 100 people inside, and it looked like there might be outside seating as well. Windows facing the old location and across the harbor, looked like they will open nicely in warm weather. Seating is mostly large picnic bench style, with fixed benches. Easily can fit 8 at a table. Also two traditional tables with chairs with backs in the middle of the floor, and a couple booths on the wall furthest from the windows.
For 3PM on a rainy, cold Sunday afternoon, the place was busy! Must have been 25 people eating or waiting for food when we got there. Considering the old place was crowded with 15 people, this bodes well for Belle Isle.
We always get the same thing: Me, a lobster roll with fries, her, a lobster roll with onion rings. But now there was an option! The traditional roll is still $19.99, but you can get a Tail Only roll for $27.99. Tempting, but not tempting enough for us to bite.
Comments: With all the new staff to take care of the customers, I fear we may lose a little of the familiar touch. I've always been recognized at the counter and my wife and my regular order has always been known. I have no problem placing my order, but that was a nice, homey touch that I fear I will miss.
Sign warned that food was taking 10-15 minutes, but our lobster rolls were ready in about 5-7 minutes -- our little electric lobster buzzed and we picked up our late lunch. I did see the staff bringing food to some customers which was nice.
The food. So you know, we rank Red's Eats as 100 on the Lobster Roll scale. Belle Isle has always been a 99 for us, with nothing else consistently over 95 (and we've taken a few "Lobster Roll Quests", where we drive ridiculous distances and eat way too many lobster rolls). We opened the carefully folded paper and this is what we noticed (note: This is based on a single sample and may not be indicative of anything):
1) Sandwich was piled high, and the lobster was falling off the sides of the roll, but it seemed smalled, end to end
2) There appeared to be more lettuce underneath the meat than before (3 leaves vs. 1)
3) The ratio of tail to claw/knuckle meat seemed to be lower than in the past. Could this be because of the "tail only" alternative? I don't know.
Conclusion: The lobster roll was delicious, but we give it a 97, instead of a 99. Still the best option south of Wiscasset, and maybe we just caught it on a bad day (for them). Not gonna stop us from stopping in and gorging ourselves, but will keep an eye out on quality.