Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A little bit of Maine in the East Village.

Continuing our tradition of exploring the city's best lobster rolls, my brother Jeremy and I met up for a pre-theatre lunch at Luke's Lobster on Saturday afternoon. Luke's, in the East Village, has a distinctly different sensibility than our last lobster roll venue, Pearl's. While Pearl's is a sit-down restaurant with wine and desserts, Luke's is a strictly order-and-eat-at-the-stool-in-the-window kind of place. Both, though, have their roots in the classic New England seafood shack.

Where Pearl's roll is more of a salad roll (mayonnaise, onion, celery), Luke's is pure and simple. The generous heap of lobster meat is served in a butter-toasted hot dog roll (the classic choice) and topped with more butter (drawn, this time) and some dusty, diner-style black pepper. The lobster itself is fantastic - juicy, tender and full of that wonderful, clean flavor of the North Atlantic.

Even better, you can feel good about eating the seafood at Luke's. It's all sustainable, caught in Maine, and shipped in quickly. I'm not saying that being virtuous makes the food taste better, but it sure doesn't hurt.

Jeremy also ordered a cup of the clam chowder, which was stellar. It's hard to tell from this photo, but the soup was full of little chewy bits of fresh clam and tender potato. It was creamy, but not overwhelmingly thick, and had that nice sweetness I look for in a seafood chowder. I can't wait to go back and try the shrimp and corn chowder, and soon.

Overall, our verdict is that Luke's is a fabulous bargain ($14 for a lobster roll) and delicious. Our heart, however, remains at Pearl's. Both of us prefer a lobster roll that bites back, even just a little bit. And it's no secret that I love me some mayonnaise. That said, I highly recommend a trip to Luke's - a must for any seafood-loving New Yorker, for sure.

Anyone have a vote for where we should head for our next lobster roll?

Luke's Lobster
93 East 7th Street (Between 1st and A)

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