The Rex Burger & Lobster amps up classic fare
New Yorkers crave lobster rolls in the summertime—so much so that we are willing to travel the Island’s full expanse for a bite of the fresh, buttery crustacean sandwich. But with The Rex Burger & Lobster in Mineola, there’s no need to limit lobster roll consumption strictly to the summer months way out east.
No matter the time of year, Rex offers lobster with straight-from-the-sea freshness thanks to a shipping process that delivers the delectable creature from the coast of Maine in less than 24 hours. Served on a soft bun with a side of salted butter, Rex’s lobster roll is packed with hand-shucked tail, claw and knuckle meat for a savory mouthful that elicits an uncontrollable groan of delight from the diner.
Not content to lazily skate by with its top-notch lobster roll, The Rex brings other American favorites to the table—all elevated by the skill set of head chef and comfort food connoisseur Michael Butigian. The chef, along with the restaurant’s owner Jonathan Otto, set out to pair fast-casual menu tropes of burgers, fries, fish fillets, steak and chicken sandwiches and shakes with a sleek, bistro-style atmosphere, craft beer and farmed ingredients.
The purposely simple menu gives the chef the power to focus on perfecting the preparation—and the results are nothing short of stunning.
Rex’s classic burger features two grilled-to-order Angus beef patties served on a toasted bun with American cheese, hand-leafed lettuce, vine-ripe tomato, grilled or raw onion and signature Rex sauce, which adds a hint of West Coast burger joint flavor. Flat-top griddle cooked, the burger is juicy on the inside while maintaining a flavorful crust on the outside.
As for poultry, Rex offers two variations of the classic fried chicken sandwich. The mild version is soaked for 24 hours in a buttermilk brine, then dredged in a proprietary blend of seasoning. The result is a crisp and luscious bird served on a toasted bun. But the gusto is jacked up with a spicy version of the sandwich. Here, Thai bird chili is added to the seasoning mix, bringing a delayed potency that builds as its eaten, but doesn’t render the eater incapacitated.
The fried chicken recipe at the Rex is so good that they could open a dedicated on-the-bone fried chicken eatery and give the heavyweight franchises a run for their money.
Expanding beyond lobster, burgers and chicken, the Rex recently added a filet mignon sandwich and a fried fish fillet sandwich to its menu. Using only center-cut Angus beef, the Rex’s filet mignon is so tender, it could be cut with a dull spoon. It’s served with grilled onions and a homemade cheese sauce, mimicking—and surpassing—the flavor profile of a Philly cheese steak. As for the fish fillet, the Rex uses wet-battered hake—a sustainable member of the cod family—along with American cheese and homemade tartar sauce for a sandwich that, again, easily surpasses this fast franchise classic.
As for fries, the Rex serves fresh hand-cut Idaho russet potatoes blanched for crisp perfection on the outside and an unmistakable creaminess on the inside. The fries are served with a choice of dipping sauce, including roasted garlic, black truffle, spicy mayo and melted cheese. The black truffle is phenomenal, made with paste straight from Italy.
To take the edge off the meal, the Rex pours shakes made with pure Häagen-Dazs ice cream. Choose between chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, mint chip, cookies and cream, and dulce de leche—with house-made whipped cream.
The Rex Burger & Lobster, located at 524 Jericho Tpke. (at Herricks Road) in Mineola, can be reached at 516-739-2747 and www.the-rex.com, and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.