Don't Call It "Lobstah"

A Maine-minded truck embraces California

The lobster roll is one of the most venerated sandwiches.

Rarely do you see "takes" on this summery East Coast favorite. An unorthodox garnish such as tarragon can feel like a radical presence.

Cousins Maine Lobster is largely true to that rigid canon, serving both Maine- and Connecticut-style rolls ($13 each) from its food truck.

It also serves tacos. Yes, a taco of some sort is a food-truck requisite in a city where news of Roy Choi's possible vegetarianism is treated as a sign of the foodie apocalypse. But these lobster tacos (pictured; $10 for three), with their Baja-like toppings of cabbage, salsa and crema, were not only delicious; they put Cousins in context. After all, pure lobster-roll fidelity would implicitly demand that we mistake the Santa Monica Business Park or that stretch of Main in Downtown for a shack by the Atlantic Ocean. 

Of those classically styled rolls, we preferred the Maine version, which features cold claw and tail meat served on a crisped split-top roll smeared with a judicious swath of mayonnaise. The warm lobster meat in our Connecticut roll was, alas, rubbery.

Another break in tradition comes at the sweet end of the meal. Cousins has whoopie pies, naturally, but it also serves lobster-meat-studded vanilla ice cream ($5).

Cousins Maine Lobster; twitter.com/cmlobster