With the threat of torrential rains and possible lighting at bay I made a detour to the Upper West Side last night for dinner. I had heard great things about a seafood “shack” called Luke’s Lobster. There are multiple locations in the city and they even have a food truck called Nauti! Shack, it is not, although it is a tiny restaurant. I was greeted by a nautical/fishing boat theme and immediately felt like I was in Maine. The menu was hand-written on a large chalkboard and the chairs were covered in an adorable lobstah pattern.
I had looked at the menu online before I made my journey and figured I’d get the signature Lobster Roll combo for $17. Wavering as I read the menu I opted to shell (haha, get it) out $21 for The Taste of Maine. Luke’s combo comes with 1/2 of each roll on the menu (Lobster, Crab and Shrimp), Empress Crab claws, Miss Vickie’s chips and a bottle of Maine Root soda. I chose the Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper and Ginger Root respectively. I waited less than ten minutes while they freshly-made my order, took my neatly packed brown bag to go and arrived home to find a perfect Summer meal in front of me.
My first impression was Wow, look at all that fish! I didn’t even know where to begin. I sat and looked at my box for a while, just taking it all in. I started with the claws, I figured they were the like the appetizer of the bunch. Shelled just enough so you didn’t have to dig for the meat, they were surprisingly meaty and served chilled with a zingy cocktail sauce.
Next up were the rolls. After careful evaluation I figured I would keep the lobster for last, because it was the most luxurious, I would eat the shrimp second because I like shrimp more than crab (or so I thought) and so the crab was up first. Boy was I in for a surprise. The crab blew me away. I eat crab every summer and I like it, but I never loved it. Well, I don’t know what Luke’s is doing to the crab, but whatever it is they got it right. It was unreal! Super sweet with a light lemony flavor, yum! The shrimp was salty like the ocean and tasted like there was some Old Bay in the spice mix. The lobster was sweet, even juicy and the big pieces of claw meat really impressed me because in all the other lobster rolls I have had the meat was chopped and mixed with mayo. Those are perfectly fine but they aren’t even in the same ballpark as the rolls from Luke’s. From the toasted split-top buns to the fresh picked fish, everything was top-notch. From the Luke’s Lobster website: ” We make our rolls Maine-style! The seafood is served *chilled* atop a buttered and toasted New England-style split-top bun with a swipe of mayo, a sprinkle of lemon butter and a dash of secret spices.” What more can you say?
I was halfway through my first bite of the crab roll, dialing my mom to tell her I found a new place to try the next time she and my dad were in the city. Not many meals get that reaction from me. With Memorial Day quickly approaching, Luke’s helped me to not only get through my Wednesday but also get excited for the Summer and all its prospects! And, if you are within the vicinity of Manhattan, run to Luke’s and get a roll today!