Luke’s Lobster May Not Have The Cheapest Lunch, But Damn Is It Good

It’s not every day that we fully endorse shelling out $17 (plus tax) for a lunch that may or may not fill you up, but if you like seafood-filled buttered hot dog buns at all you’re going to want to check out Luke’s Lobster. The shop opened on S. William St. (btw. Hanover Sq. & Broad) on Friday, joining two other locations in the city and the just-launched truck. Brian had absolutely raved about the lunch he had when the truck stopped in midtown, so I was excited.

There was a line when I got there for a later lunch but it had mostly died down by 2 p.m. It helped that they have a lobster roll express window where they only sell that one item. For everything else you have to step inside the small nautical themed shop, and that’s what me and a co-luncher did. Plenty of butter and seafood-straight ahead…

The first thing I noticed was that it smelled of butter and little else inside. (This is not a complaint). And the reason for this smell is the people putting the sandwiches together by pressing and crisping buttered hot dog buns in the open kitchen. They should really start selling butter-scented candles or air freshener.

There is a counter along one wall with stools, and one large table. Thankfully there’s also a plaza with plenty of seating across the street for when the weather’s nice.

I placed an order for a lobster roll combo ($17) that included a bag of Miss Vickie’s chips, half of a dill pickle and a Maine Root soda. You can get the same combo with shrimp ($10) or crab ($12) rolls. My co-luncher went with the crab roll so we could try two different things. They also have chowder and bisque with or without bread bowls, and a couple of mix-and-match combos including something called the Noah’s Ark for $40 if you’re into sharing…or pigging out at lunch.

First, a kudos to Luke’s for not buttering the outside of the roll after toasting it. Both my hands and camera thank you. Second, I would eat this lobster roll every day if my heart and wallet could take it. I’m thinking the slightly cheaper shrimp roll is going to be in my stomach soon enough. There was just a hint of mayo, the roll was absolutely stuffed with lobster, including a ton of claw meat, and not much else except celery salt to mess with the flavor of the seafood.

The crab roll was good but for me didn’t top the lobster. It followed the same principle of letting the crustacean shine but seemed to have a bit more mayo than the lobster roll. They were both good, but I think it’s a preference thing. And just look at that delicious claw above.

I haven’t eaten at the nearby Urban Lobster Shack on Stone St. but I’m thinking a revisit is going to be in order soon for comparison, even though their rolls are a different breed. Now if only the Red Hook Lobster Pound truck would start coming down here regularly so I could get my hands on that shrimp roll Brownie was raving about…

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • There is a ton of seafood in their rolls.
  • It makes me feel like I’m on a boat while at lunch.
  • I’m a mayo hater and they use it sparingly.
  • The butter smell inside makes me happy.

THE — (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • No way I could afford to eat here very often.
  • I’m a big eater and I’d rather go get more food for my money.
  • The smell of celery salt lingers on my hands.

Luke’s Lobster, 26 S. William St. (btw. Hanover Sq. & Broad), (212) 747-1700



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    I appreciate and applaud the fact that Luke’s lets you get the full, natural, flavor of the lobster, but as someone who already has an issue with the taste of lobster it really bothers me. A lot. Unfortunately, their lobster roll just isn’t for me. I will, however, take that shrimp roll with the quickness.

  • I’d love to see a comparison review with the Urban Lobster Shack. I feel they’re a bit more affordable than Luke’s but still not a place you’d go to more than a couple times a year.

  • God I love Luke’s. If there was one near my apartment, i’d have a serious problem.

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