Sunday, August 28, 2011

Me, Some Lobster Rolls, and Irene (Luke's Lobster)

Lobster Rolls

I've been back in classes for just one week so far, and yet summer feels like it happened so long ago. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was walking through the streets of Paris under bright skies, eating pastries and veal brains, and just basically having a great time. Fast forward to the present, and now I'm dissecting a human brain, preparing for a hurricane in New York City of all places, and already looking forward to a vacation. While Irene has forced the shutdown of the MTA, the postponement of the Saturday and Sunday Braves-Mets games, and the evacuation of tens of thousands of NYC residents from flood zones, there was a silver lining to all of the chaos and mayhem wrought by the hurricane before it even arrived: discounted lobster rolls at Luke's Lobster. $10 lobster rolls? In the words of the immortal Austin Powers: Yeah, babyyyy! 

Luke's Lobster began in the East Village in 2009, and it has already opened up a couple of other locations in the city and even in Washington DC, with the one in the Upper East Side just a five minute walk from my apartment. While I've been meaning to try their lobster rolls, I just never really got around to doing so...that is, until yesterday night, when my brother, ardent Twitter follower that he is, found out about the "Hurricane Special" being offered at Luke's. Needing to unload their inventory of seafood before the storm in case of (I suspect) a loss of power, the menu prices were heavily reduced: lobster rolls for $10 ($16 regularly), crab rolls for $8 ($10), and shrimp rolls for $6 ($8). Needless to say, it doesn't get any better than a $10 lobster roll, so we hustled over to pick some up.

Now, while I'm usually all for trying out different menu items, my inner Asian math nerd told me that to order a crab (20% off) or shrimp roll (25% off) would be stupid given the fact that the lobster roll was 37.5% off. It's all about the value shopping, as you can tell. So while it would have been nice to sample all of the different rolls, the two of us went ahead and just ordered three lobster rolls.

Opening the cardboard containers holding the sandwiches, the lobster rolls' smell instantly reminded me of Red Lobster's cheddar biscuits, which are probably one of my favorite bread baskets ever. Although I have never ordered a lobster roll myself, I've seen them sold at many places before, and nowhere else have I seen a lobster roll with such incredibly large chunks of lobster meat. When Luke's says chunks, they really do mean chunks, and there were literally whole lobster claws stuffed into the roll. The lobster meat, sweet and fresh, was overflowing from a delicious, buttered-and-toasted split-top roll. The mayo, thankfully, was applied sparingly, and I actually appreciated the bit of extra moisture that it lent to the lobster roll. My brother and I had ordered one lobster roll sans mayo since neither of us are fans of the condiment, but we both agreed that the mayo-enhanced sandwiches were better.

Huge chunks of lobster and hardly any mayo = win

If I could describe these lobster rolls in one word, it would be glorious. So, so good. So good, in fact, that when we heard (via Twitter again, of course) that, fortuitously, the only Luke's location that would be open on Saturday would be the one in the UES, we hurried over to pick up four more lobster rolls for lunch. $70 for seven lobster rolls over the course of two meals is, of course, a bit over the top, but clearly, $10 lobster rolls in NYC are something that should be taken advantage of to the fullest extent possible. As incredible as Luke's lobster rolls are, I don't know if I could stomach paying regular price for what amounts to a sandwich that is the size (and satiety) of a hot dog. Here's hoping for more hurricanes in the NYC area, as cheap, delicious lobster rolls can make even the minor inconvenience of a deadly storm seem like a perfectly acceptable tradeoff.

Luke's somehow found my blog and posted about it on their Facebook page and Twitter feed. Thanks for the shout-out!

Luke's Lobster
242 E. 81st St.
New York, NY 10028


  1. hmmmmn. luke's is taken to be the best in new york. I actually found it to be average and a little miserly. so if you ever in these parts, i will take you out for a roll that has pleased me more. as well, the places along the maine short also outshine mr. luke. but you are eating the right food. did you have a beer or what?

  2. @Global Province Smith: I don't know if Luke's makes the *best* lobster rolls in NYC, but they are one of the few places that has them and is not a sit-down restaurant. I'd be more than happy to take you up on that offer the next time I'm up near Maine, though.