Luke’s Lobster Pound: Lobster Roll & Bisque

For the most affordable lobster roll in this city, Luke’s Lobster Pound steps up to the plate and hits a home run. I’m not convinced its anywhere near the epitome of lobster rolls, but it’s darn good!

shi’s eating has already covered our visit to Luke’s, but here’s my take on it.

First, you should know that Luke’s UES locale is not a typical sit-down restaurant. It’s more of a counter-top and high-table joint. Might meet your fancy. I won’t judge. When I went, it wasn’t too crowded. The will I get a table oh no how will I eat my dinner anxiety had no place at Luke’s.

So, the lobster roll. Gobs of lobster pieces are loaded onto a toasted simple top-split bun. The lobster salad is lubricated to my taste and the bun didn’t taste anything like Wonder bread. I hope you know that’s a good thing.

I also ordered lobster bisque and attached high expectations to the small white soup container. Could it be as good as the Tavern at Dan’l Webster Inn? No, not nearly. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend the bisque. Sure, there were bits of lobster, but the liquid was too thin and boring. I was looking for excitement! Flavor!

A few hours following our dinner, I felt hungry again. Was the lobster roll not big enough? I couldn’t tell. When you order two to fill your gut, the deal may not be as convincing. Check out their menus for interesting combination platters if you’re bottomless.

I look forward to trying Luke’s other location. Where’d you find your favorite lobster roll? Can a girl get a hint?


Minetta Tavern: Black Label Burger

At last, I had the opportunity to try the Black Label Burger at scenetacular Minetta Tavern. Reservations can be made only one month in advance of your desired date to dine. We wanted August 18 at 7:30 PM. D called on July 18 and could only get 7:00 PM. Yes, that’s how popular Minetta Tavern is.

So, the food.

Black Label Burger

The Black Label Burger is delicious. Black pepper seared into the meat, the carmelized onions on top, the buttery bun it sits between. The burger is less fatty and so, less flavorful in the conventional burger flavor sense (think Shake Shack). No cheese, no condiments. I consumed it as one should.

I felt the an understated highlight of the plate was the fries, which are crisp, thin McDonald’s-style potatoes.

What impressed me the most was our appetizer, southern fried rabbit legs with waffles. This wasn’t on the menu but, when I saw plates of it glide by us, I felt we had to try this special appetizer. The rabbit legs were covered in juicy, slightly tangy bits of meat under perfectly golden fried breading. And the waffles! Corn kernels dotted the batter resulting in a subtly sweet companion to the rabbit. Yum.

Chicken fried rabbit legs with waffles

When we arrived, we were relegated to the busy bar for about 15 minutes before our table was ready. Well-dressed, fine (white) people bustled around us, shaking people’s hands, exchanging false pleasantries with the hostesses. It was if some of them had stepped out of Vogue magazine.

The hostess led us to our table, a corner booth with minimal space to breathe but likely the most private seats in the cramped house. There I noticed people who were denizens of Ralph Lauren ads, J.Crew catalog, Golf News magazine.

To return, I’d likely have to coax myself by celebrating a major milestone there. I’d like to try the Minetta Burger, so, perhaps that milestone will come sooner rather than later.

Oh My My “Mine”

Utterance on an upbeat and a low-key guitar swings in. Whose voice is this? you wonder. Her smooth inflection jogs your memory: this is Taylor Swift. On “Mine,” the first single from Speak Now, Taylor’s maturity shines through—as songwriter, singer, and, well, Swift.

If you aren’t one of the scores who’s already downloaded “Mine,” you can hear it here.

"Teardrops on My Guitar" on 5/15/10

At first listen, it’s clear that “Mine” has broken from the standard Taylor mold. It involves romance and a guy—elements of many of her songs—but beyond that, it tackles uncharted territory. The music feels laidback, bereft of anger or urgency; her vocals are enhanced by background singers (mostly male); the protagonist is pragmatic, collaborative, and without vengeance. Yeah, that’s new Taylor alright.

A relatable story about a more-adult relationship and how one person,
“the best thing that’s ever been mine,” can make a real, stable relationship feel possible, no matter how emotionally vulnerable you are. One of my favorite lyrics is, “Do you remember all the city lights on the water?/ You saw me start to believe for the first time.” There’s a quiet intimacy in this line; a revelation that feels more mature than the less nuanced declarations of love as found in earlier songs.

"Love Story"

Where the fabled “Love Story” concedes that “this love is difficult but it’s real/ Don’t be afraid we’ll make it out of this mess/ It’s a love story, baby, just say yes,” “Mine” tells us how and why it’s difficult, and exposes her vulnerability. After “flashing forward” to her adult relationship with the “Mine” guy, she admits, “But we got bills to pay/ We got nothing figured out/ When it was hard to take/ Yes, Yes/ This is what I thought about” and returns to the chorus where she focuses on what’s good about her relationship. She sings, “Every time I look at you it’s like the first time.” Truth in power of positive thinking? Sure. Instant therapy? Absolutely.

In the bridge, she rethinks a defining line from “The Other Side of the Door,” a landmark track on Fearless Platinum about a frustrating distance between two people who aren’t communicating their true feelings to each other.

And I remember the slammin’ door,

And all the things that I misread.

So babe if you know everything

Tell me why you couldn’t see

That when I left I wanted you to

Chase after me?

“Mine” takes a different approach:

And I remember that fight, two-thirty AM

You said everything was slipping right out of our hands

I ran out, crying, and you followed me out into the street

From “Door” to “Mine” Taylor has made some progress. The guy in “Door” obviously doesn’t and cannot know what she wants because she’s afraid to reveal her true emotion (“I said leave but all I really want is you”), but in “Mine,” her partner understands her vulnerability because she’s revealed herself to him. I can’t say whether Taylor Swift (the real person) has personally changed—I suspect she’s been “Mine”-mature all along—but her perceptive ability as written into this song is brilliant.

She doesn’t need that white horse—because it wasn’t the horse (or the guy with the horse) who could turn her life into fairy tale. Now, she’s found an adult relationship (as further evidenced by the line, “And there’s a drawer of my things at your place”) and is proud of it. “Mine” shows Taylor’s embarked on crafting a new narrative for herself—a story more tangible to most of us.

Speak Now will be available October 25.

Rice Krispies Treats Twist

A tempting recipe appeared in my google reader last week: Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats shared by as bad as it looks. Intriguing, I thought. I haven’t had a Rice Krispies treat in about 10 years, and neither have you (unless you are a child reading this blog, or have a child.)

Completely consumable for adults.

They took about 20 minutes to prepare and 1+ hours to set. (Your desire to eat them probably determines how firm you’ll allow them to be.) What makes them so great? Four ingredients! One pot! No oven! Irresistible buttery flavor! Make them today.

Tavern at the Dan’l Webster Inn: Lobster Grilled Cheese

You think you know grilled cheese, but I’m certain you don’t.

Remember the hole-in-the-wall Grilled Cheese restaurant down on the Lower East Side? I thought their fare was the ultimate representation of grilled cheese. I was wrong. (So wrong, in fact–they’ve closed shop.)

The Tavern at Dan’l Webster Inn, located in Sandwich, MA (Cape Cod), features a lobster grilled cheese. Set apart on the menu–centered, near the bottom as though the other dishes are its modest preamble–and proudly noted, “Voted Best Sandwich in Sandwich” you can’t miss it.

When I first heard about the lobster grilled cheese, I imagined cheddar or American cheese, sorely underestimating the culinary aspirations of the rustic Tavern. Two perfectly toasted pieces of white bread cradle melted brie and a dash of dill with a layer of pesto lining the upper slice. Fresh lobster, chopped into soft geometric pieces, fills the middle portion of the sandwich.

If you think that’s heavenly, you’ll find their lobster chowder and lobster roll absolutely transcendent.

Prior to my visit to Cape Cod, I hadn’t ever eaten lobster. To put it mildly, I went lobster-wild at the Tavern. The grilled cheese was an obvious choice, but we needed another dish. We chose half a lobster roll with lobster chowder.

First, the lobster roll. It was exactly what a lobster roll should be. A crusty, lightly poppy-seeded bun was dwarfed by a portion of lobster salad meant for a larger or second roll. The salad itself had big chunks of chowder lubricated with just-enough mayonnaise. When I look at pictures of lobster rolls, I either see too much white or too much red.

Check out this lobster salad. To New York lobster pounds: THIS is the right color.

Next, the lobster chowder. Thick and creamy, with sizable, succulent pieces of lobster. Still tongue-tied, I’m not sure what more I can say. I’ve never had anything like it. I doubt I ever will.

Next time you go to Cape Cod (or even Boston–seriously), take a detour to Sandwich for the best sandwiches and chowder you’ll ever have. One more recommendation? Don’t bother with Ice Cream Sandwich. Like you, I wanted an ice cream sandwich from Sandwich. All I got was a coffee ice cream Chipwich wannabe.

Overall, I found that the best thing to eat on Cape Cod is lobster. And Portuguese Soup.