When I told Tina that we were going to do breakfast and lunch on the third (just a few days after she’d finished her GREs) she saw the list and replied in seconds, I believe her exact words were: “I haven’t been and probably I’m the last NYC blogger to eat it.” I know this because I copied it from the e-mail she sent me.
There are two reasons why the NYC blogscape is abuzz with the deliciousness that is the Lobster Roll at Luke’s. #1. they’re great at social media. They get it. They understand what brand engagement is and don’t need to retool some Yellow Pages era advertising to hit their target market. When I contacted them, Ben and Luke were so excited about the project that they changed their address to 93 East 7th just for my visit. #2. Their product is buzzworthy. Lobster rolls made to conform with the exacting standards of the Mainers who make them. A commitment to lobster roll perfection like none other on the island.
So obviously Tina and I both had lobster rolls (we also got a little serving of Lobster Bisque with the most lobster I’ve ever had in Lobster Bisque). Growing up, I never really liked lobster rolls (stay with me here) for the reasons that the Luke’s Lobster website explains: too much mayo and celery, not enough lobster. Another thing; I didn’t come from a very wealthy family, and a stuffed hot dog bun costing $10 wasn’t something on the menu too often. Jeff (Co-owner and Luke’s dad) told me that lobster rolls weren’t as popular back when Luke and I were kids. I think Luke is six years my junior, but I appreciated being lumped into Gen-Y if only for a sentence.
Luke’s rolls remind me of my my mortgage sales summers and the lobster of the best spots on the coast. A not-too-heavily-buttered, crisp bun, just enough mayo, sweet and salty lobster doused with lemon butter and herbs, pleasantly firm to the tooth. The milk solids in the lemon butter remain and help give the lobster roll that homestyle Maine taste. The buttered bun … I don’t understand why Crif Dogs is so popular when they don’t butter the outside of their bun. I asked them why they didn’t do it and they said it was, “too much of a hassle.” I don’t understand how you can sacrifice taste for hassle, but someone who didn’t appreciate food must have made that decision. I digress, the buttered bun was exactly as I’d imagined it ever since my mom sent me the New York Times article on Luke’s.
Another thing that makes this place great is that the lobster is cared for with pride by the same family from when it’s pulled out of the water to when it’s placed on your plate. It’s mathematically impossible to get a better lobster roll in NYC, and that’s the reason; no wholesale markup. Luke and his dad, Jeff (owner of Portland Shellfish), set this vision into motion this summer. They needed a GM, and Ben (link to bio) responded to a Craigslist ad – he was the Holden’s first pick from the start.
We were joking around and saying our guys when I ended up promising the guys that if I appeared on The Today Show, I’d give them a shout. I probably shouldn’t make that promise to any more restaurants; I have eighty-something stops to go.
But take it from a true Mainer; if there was one restaurant I had to name anyway, Luke’s would definitely be at the top of the list.
The IRL Arts Foundation and The Wandering Foodie thank Luke’s Lobster for providing this meal.
93 East 7th Street
New York, NYâ€Ž