Order this... Southeast Light Delights, where lobster is the star
How far would you go to grab a bite at the Southeast Light Delights food truck? Many people walk 6,336 steps from the ferry up the hill to the Southeast Light to enjoy hot and cold lobster rolls. One couple, along with their dog, hiked eight miles from Coast Guard Road to enjoy Lobster Grilled Cheese. Some ride bikes up the more-than-one-mile hill to the top; others arrive via moped and car. However you get here, you’ll be glad you made the trek to the place Restaurant Guru recently named “The Best Place in New Shoreham.” André Boudreau’s food truck has become a destination for visitors and locals alike, all looking for the answer to one of the most-asked questions on the island: “Where can you get the best lobster roll on the island?”*
History both old and new abound on the grounds where Southeast Light Delights makes its home. Sitting at a picnic table or under an umbrella on Adirondack chairs, you can’t miss the impressive Gothic Revival architecture of the Southeast Lighthouse, erected in 1873. If you venture behind the grounds of the food truck to the bluff overlooking the ocean, you’ll see the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. Five giant wind turbines provide all of the power to the island as well as a point of interest for tourists. While you’re waiting for your order to come up, you can admire the sunflowers and geraniums that fill small pots along side the food truck. Sitting with your food, you can watch families and visitors stroll by on their way to tour the lighthouse and enjoy the impressive view of the ocean and beyond.
André brought out three of his signature dishes; one hot, one cold and one frozen. The Grilled Lobster Cheese sandwich magically manages to let the lobster be the star of this sweet and melty sandwich bursting with an abundance of lobster meat and flavor. Calise sourdough bread is perfectly grilled with lots of butter so each bite is a satisfying crunch, and the cheese doesn’t overpower the lobster but instead complements it to make the sandwich a viable alternative to a classic lobster roll. If you are looking for a classic lobster roll, you will find it here, cold or hot. We opted for the spicy cold lobster roll and it did not disappoint. A hint of mayo, some Tasty Burger salt and a hint of chipotle wrapped around 1 1/4 pound of lobster meat, including claws, knuckles and tail. The little bit of heat from the seasoning balanced the sweetness of the lobster perfectly. Our tasting concluded with Southeast Light Delights new soft-serve ice cream, which include the usual chocolate and vanilla as well as the unusual — cocoa with marshmallow, peach mango, dark chocolate hazelnut and red velvet. Flavors can be mixed to create your own cone of decadence — we had salted caramel mixed with chocolate and it was easy to eat every last bite.
What everyone else is eating/drinking:
Kurt from Edison, N.J. and John from Keyport, N.J. sailed out of Newport and stopped at Southeast Light Delights while exploring the island on bikes. Kurt has been here once before and John was a first-timer. John said the Caprese sandwich was “the best one I ever had, and I would come back here only for this,” while Kurt pronounced the Lobster Grilled Cheese “really really good.” Locals Leo and Wendy of Block Island also come for the Lobster Grilled Cheese. “We come here once or twice a year and this is the best sandwich on the island. We only order this because it’s a great combo.” A first-timer from Boston, Elizabeth loved the natural rocks to sit on while eating a cold lobster roll, saying “This is the best lobster roll because of all the huge chunks of lobster.” Ila from Block Island said, “I would crawl here for the lobster roll, I always want to order two because they are so good, but then I get one and there’s so much meat in it, including the tail, that I just get one. It’s the freshest lobster out here.” Other guests are eating watermelon, drinking Del’s Lemonade, and licking ice cream off sticky fingers. Susan and Bob from Connecticut have been coming here for four years and are maybe one of S.E. Light Delight’s more enthusiastic customers. “We come here every time we can, and get the Lobster Grilled Cheese. There’s no reason to get anything else. We came for Thanksgiving and it was better than a turkey dinner. The combination of cheeses are really good, and the lobster is chunky and delicious.” The couple and their dog, Baily, had hiked eight miles to get here and said that this meal is “our reward.”
If you can’t visit the food truck on the island, you can catch S.E. Light Delights at the Big E in Springfield, Mass. this year in the Rhode Island Building, where they’ll be offering hot dogs and bratwurst in addition to their lobster rolls and sandwiches. André hopes to be back this year for the annual Holiday Stroll — he mentions that even though it was freezing cold last year, customers still ordered ice cream for dessert. And if the view and lobster roll accolades aren’t quite enough to get you up the hill, eating here has become good for the environment. Southeast Light Delights is surrounded by nature, and in turn it has gone green this year and has no more plastic utensils or straws; instead compostable products are used for food service. André is hopeful that at some time municipal composting will become available to cut down on further waste. Sail, bike, walk or drive up the Spring Street hill and see how Southeast Light Delights answers the question “Where can you get the best lobster roll on the island?”
*(The second most-asked question is: “What do you do here in the winter?”)