I've lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan for about seven years now. That's meant enduring seven years of raised eyebrows, "Oh, I'm so sorrys," and "But where do you eats?" Truth is, I moved to the neighborhood for the cheap rent, and stayed for the convenient commute. But, finally, my years of patient waiting (broken only by marvelous dinners at the now-shuttered Bar États-Unis and the slightly-too-dear-for-everyday Spigolo) seem to be paying off. The Upper East Side is creeping ever so slowly toward becoming cool.
A few new places with cred have opened recently (not to mention the Shake Shack due to start slinging burgers by the end of the month), including an uptown branch of the downtown seafood mecca, Luke's Lobster. Jeremy and I visited their original East Village shop back in March, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The rolls are plain and simple: lobster, butter, salt, pepper and a touch of Hellmann's, served up on a butter-toasted hot dog bun.
Now that they're so close to home, I've gotten the chance to try the shrimp roll, which is similarly unadorned, and just as tasty. The shrimp are small and tender, and pop lusciously in the mouth. For me, the buttered roll is half the point of a seafood roll, and the shrimp's less aggressive flavor lets the roll shine even brighter - so that made me pretty happy.
Most exciting of all, Luke's uptown branch has installed a Fryolator and will soon be serving fried belly clams. (As early as today; the staff needs to conquer some eyelash-singeing hiccups first.)
This New Englander couldn't be more excited. Bring. It. On.
242 E. 81st Street (Between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)