Yes, I'm on a weird lobster binge, though merely coincidence (wink, wink), It was a bright sunny Sunday when I headed over to check out the Treasure Island Flea Market. I grew up haunting flea markets and such with the Mom, and while I don't buy things anymore, I still enjoy wandering the aisles seeing what personal possessions people are passing off as "collectibles." One thing the TIFM has going for it is the number of food vendors and trucks that partake in the action. Outside of Off The Grid or SOMA StrEat Food Park, it's one of the places you can peruse multiple trucks at once. This day was no exception and lucky for me, there a handful I'd not tried yet. After walking down the procession I zeroed in on Sam's Chowder Mobile to see if they could do lobster better than other folks.
The truck seems to have grown out of the physical location of Sam's Chowder House and now they have several trucks cruising the area. Seeing as how they went the opposite direction, from brick and mortar to food truck, I had some hope they'd gotten things worked out before hitting the road.
I decided to suck it up again and go all in with their full size lobster roll for $17.25. They do have a half size of this for $12 but it seemed really small and I guess if I'm trying it, I'm gonna try all of it. It's a pretty decent sized roll nicely toasted with a slathering of butter. The meat was also stacked top to bottom in the roll. It included several large whole claw pieces, I counted 3 full ones, in addition to the shredded parts. It was mixed lightly with butter and some celery. And yeah on them, the meat was cooked perfectly. It ran that fine line between creamy and chewy just right. Brought back all those childhood memories of lobster tails and butter. Though, I do think it could have used more butter. Yes, I say that for a lot of things but in this instance where it's supposed to be a main ingredient, I wish they'd kick it up a notch or maybe offer a side of it for dipping. Still, price notwithstanding, I did like this version and would be more than happy to eat it again (if someone else was paying--I own my cheapness!). The slaw wasn't bad either. A little too much may for my taste and needed a dash of pepper, but crisp, tangy and a pleasant enough side.
But it wasn't all about lobster with Sam's, they offer a handful of other things and one that caught my eye was the shrimp po'boy and fries. Fried shrimp, lettuce, tomato and remoulade on a toasted, buttered roll served with Old Bay Seasoned fries. The bun instead of a roll is a new thing but it works. You get generous amounts of lightly deep fried and crispy shrimp that allows you to get shrimp in every bite. I kind of liked this a lot. Probably more than the lobster roll. I do wish the remoulade had more of a kick like traditional New Orleans, but as is, it's good enough. The fries were also served hot and crispy and had that great Old Bay flavor sprinkled generously about. I know for some folks, Old Bay can be hit or miss, but I like it and it gives the whole thing that seafood by the bay vibe. The big bonus here is this is $10. That's a full sandwich WITH fries for $10. Add in the fact you get a healthy portion size and in food truck and San Francisco terms that is a bargain people!
What this all adds up to is Sam's Chowder Mobile is a seafood winner for me. While $17 for a lobster roll still makes my cheeks clinch, their other offerings come with sides and hefty portions that can withstand the prices. Unless you are a big eater (yes! like me) I'd say some things are even big enough to share--if you are into that kind of thing. Kind of makes me wanna' go down and check out their Half Moon Bay spot. Or you could just look for their roving truck, throw out a line and reel them in! Okay, that was too cheesy even for me.