Luke's Lobster (UES) | 242 East 81st St. (bet. 2nd & 3rd Aves.) | 212.249.4241 | | |


MANY OF MY friends, fans, and followers have seen my spend a lot of figurative ink on the opening of the Upper East Side second location of the very popular East Village seafood shack called Luke's Lobster. I have done so because for a couple of reasons.

First of all, Luke's has the best lobster roll I've ever had, and I had them for seven consecutive summers going to camp in Maine when I was much younger. But the original location is just too geographically inconvenient to enjoy them as often as I would like.

Secondly, and more excitingly, it hopefully continues the progression of a food renaissance that has flourished the East Village, Morningside Heights, all over Brooklyn, but scantly in Yorkville, where Italian/pizza, Chinese/sushi/Thai, and beer-selling burger joints make up over 90% of the restaurant options.

Following in the footsteps of the excellent Cascabel Taqueria, which started selling its modern and fresh Mexican tacos and housemade chorizo only months ago, Luke's is giving New Yorkers from the other boroughs reason to regard the Upper East Side as a dining destination, for maybe the first time ever.

And those eaters will be nicely rewarded, as I hit Luke's Lobster, just blocks from my apartment, a few minutes before the grand opening. I wasn't the only one.

Once the opened the doors, customers rushed the counter to get their orders in, giving menu preferences to the cashier, Luke (Holden), also a co-owner (with Ben Coniff), while Lauren documented the special day on video and my long-time friend and dinner partner, Nicole, secured us seating by the street facing, almost floor-to-ceiling height windows.

The menu is identical to the downtown location, with the future additions of fried items such as fried belly-on clams and fried shrimp.

Nicole and I first ordered the deliciously lush, rich, flavorful and yet light Maine lobster bisque, then followed up with the "Noah's Ark", which boasts 2 shrimp rolls, 2 crab rolls, 2 lobster rolls, 2 Empress crab claws, 2 bag's of Miss Vickie potato chips, and two sodas.

Why tell you how insane good every part of this meal was when I can show you. Nicole volunteered to become my full-time photo editor, but in this case,since the food was so over-the-top, I figured I'd go over the top as well with my photos.

I present to you (again, figuratively) seventeen thousand words....

Nicole and I agreed that the Empress claws maintained their flavor under a dollop of bright cocktail sauce, and pleased the palate equally without accoutrement. The lightly buttered, toasted bread a more than capable dais on which to perch its tasty ingredients. The shrimp was prepared perfectly, firm but not tough. The cooling crab was nicely flaky and lumpy and full of deep sea taste. The lobster was so fresh you it took us out of the city and somewhere where sea mists cooled off our faces. And this seafood abbundanza cost us less $25 bucks each! We happily stuffed ourselves, not being able stop eating until we had finished everything and prepared to leave, as seen in this video.

The coming arrival of an Upper East Side Shack Shack might attract new hordes of "trendies" to the UES, but Luke's, I believe, will give this—my—neighborhood enough "foodie" cred to bring other, great, unique-minded restaurants and cuisines here.

I say, keep 'em coming! When it comes to much better food, or better food options, can you ever really have too much...?! ;)

Bun Apple Tea!


Luke's Lobster (UES) on Urbanspoon

Luke's Lobster (UES) | 242 East 81st St. (bet. 2nd & 3rd Aves.) | 212.249.4241 | | |