14 October 2010

Luke's Lobster

A summer treat continuing its welcome well into autumn, Luke's Lobster is one of my favorite NYC food discoveries. Luke Holden (only 26-years-old) just recently quit his "day job" as a banker to focus solely on his wildly successful pair of restaurants. His father, Jeff, owns a seafood-processing plant in Maine (where Luke was born and raised), and is the source of all of the delicious shellfish at Luke's Lobster. In fact, everything in the restaurant comes from Maine: the bread, the chowders and bisques, the ice cream, even the sodas. The shellfish travels from the ocean to your plate within a mere 48 hours, and always from the same source, reaffirming the company's commitment to sustainability.

The idea behind a Luke's Lobster roll is both quality and quantity at a reasonable price. Rolls in the city typically go for anywhere between $20-30, and what you end up with is usually a little bit of lobster mixed with a ton of mayonnaise and celery. No bueno. At Luke's, a lobster roll starts with fresh, toasted and buttered bread which is ever-so-slightly smeared with mayonnaise. It is then stuffed with a quarter pound of delicious chunks of lobster meat and topped off with a celery salt-based spice blend and a little bit of lemon-infused butter. And at $14, it doesn't leave my wallet wondering what happened.

You can also order the same roll at Luke's made with shrimp or crab, both as crave-worthy as the lobster. On my second visit to Luke's, my friend Royal and I went in for the Noah's Ark: two servings apiece of each of the three rolls, with empress claws, chips, and sodas thrown in for good measure. (My favorite soda, by the way, is a fabulous, almost throat-burning ginger brew. Hey, I love ginger.) We still talk about it.

Now that the chilly weather is arriving, I have a feeling my go-to meal will be half a roll paired with a cup of thick, creamy clam chowder or lobster bisque. East coast autumns have never tasted so good.