Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Luke's Lobster

Last date I was here: 06/29/2011

Restaurant: Luke's Lobster (

Location: Penn Quarter/Archives-Naval Memorial

Total Rating: 4
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 4

Summary: This Manhattan restaurant "shack" is newly opened in the Penn Quarter/Archives-Naval Memorial section of downtown DC. Offering classic Maine style seafood rolls and chowder or bisque, Luke's Lobster is the brain child of Luke Holden and his father, natives of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Their roll is simple -- a toasted, buttered, split-top bun with a swipe of mayo, topped with 4 ounces of pure lobster/crab/shrimp (not a salad) and secret spices. According to their website, "the lobster meat is sealed in these air-tight bags to lock in that fresh-from-the-ocean taste and to prevent contamination. Throughout the 315-mile trek from Maine to Manhattan, the lobster meat remains in pristine condition, having last touched Maine air. The result is a deliciously fresh lobster roll that allows you to truly taste Maine at its best. Luke just wouldn’t have it any other way." Closest Metro is Archives-Naval Memorial.

Having been open in DC for about 3 weeks now, there has been quite a buzz and so I was delighted to try Luke's Lobster for lunch on this gorgeous summer day. We arrived at about a quarter til noon and it was still fairly empty inside. Quickly glancing at the large chalk board menu on the wall, I stepped up to the "shack" hole and placed my order. The cashier stamped a card, handed it to me, and explained that 10 stamps earns you a free lobster roll. Miss Vickies chips and Maine Root soda are the main side offerings, however a few dessert options such as red velvet whoopie pie and blueberry pie were also available. Seating in the DC location is very limited, and it would benefit them to increase the outdoor seating area as well, although I know this can be tricky along the busy and narrow sidewalks of DC. Nonetheless, a line soon formed as more office workers piled in for the lunch hour - most getting their orders to go. However, the number system seems to work well here and orders were called out of the window fairly quick. I shared the Taste of Maine sampler with a colleague and it was plenty for me. The meat was plentiful, with whole chunks of fresh meat. The taste was super fresh, light and perfectly brined. Even the rolls were toasted just right. The crab roll was more shredded meat, but very tasty. The shrimp roll had whole pieces of shrimp, but was a little plain. The star was the lobster roll. I have had other lobster rolls before and these are unique in that they truly are solid pieces of meat with minimal seasoning and butter - not a filler mixture or tuna salad mixture with heavy mayo. You really get value for the price at Luke's Lobster. This place is perfect for summer and I can't wait to go back!

What I ate:
Taste of Maine
half lobster roll, half crab roll, half shrimp roll, Empress crab claws, chips and a soda

Luke's Lobster on Urbanspoon

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