If it weren't for my friends who suggested having lunch at Luke's Lobster, I wouldn't have thought of it. I wouldn't even have noticed it. On the outside, it looked like a small, ordinary place just thriving for business, like all the other eateries in New York.
On the inside, seating was limited to only several wooden high tables. The space was so narrow that there wasn't much room to walk. Nobody stayed long; so tables were usually vacant within 15 minutes, tops.
A large blackboard hung on one side of the wall, serving as the menu. I was surprised to see that the place only served five types of entree. Just five. For some reason, I'd expected a wide range of variety. But I noticed a pattern forming among New York restaurants; most of the really famous places only had few items on their menu. They weren't known for a variety - they were known for the few that they had. Those were the dishes that attracted large crowds. They were the niche restaurants.
Luke's Lobster specialized in fresh seafood rolls. The menu said: We make our rolls MAINE style! The seafood is served chilled atop a buttered and toasted New England-style, split-top bun with a swipe of mayo, a sprinkle of lemon butter and a dash of our secret spices. Tell us if you'd like your roll without mayo, butter or spices.
Mmm. Sounds delicious. Needless to mention, so did the prices.
The chilled shrimps were wrapped in the warmth of the buttered toast. I took one bite and my eyes widened in surprise: "This is soooo good!"
I meant it. I'd never tasted anything like that. The shrimps, peppered with the secret spices, screamed succulence.
The crab and lobster rolls were equally delicious. But we were so eager to eat that I didn't get the chance to snap photos of them. When I realized that, it was too late.The little paper baskets were littered with nothing but mayo streaks and bread crumbs; so I apologize that I only managed to take closeup shots of the shrimp rolls.
A generously-peppered serving of shrimps.
Each roll contained a generous helping of seafood. So you could be sure you were going to get your money's worth out of this.
Definitely, definitely try Luke's Lobster if you're into seafood. And if you live in New York.
It wasn't until we'd finished eating that one of my friends admitted he was allergic to seafood.
"It's okay, I'll be fine if I don't eat too much seafood," he said.
"But you ate an entire lobster roll," I said.
"Well, it's Luke's Lobster. My allergies can wait."
Photographed and written by Carissa Gan.