When Luke Holden encountered his first New York lobster roll, he couldn't believe his eyes. At around $20, it was over priced, drowning in mayo, and over-stuffed with celery––nothing like the seafood he had become accustomed to while growing up Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Luckily for New Yorkers, Luke was a life-long lobsterman and new exactly what he needed to do. He phoned his father, the owner of a seafood processing company, and together, they devised a plan. Thanks to longstanding relationships with Maine fisherman, Luke was able to arrange to have fresh lobster meat sent directly to him, steamed and sealed in air-tight packages just a few hours after being plucked from the ocean.
Once the fresh catches arrive at Luke’s Lobster, Luke and his chef fold a full quarter-pound of the tender morsels into the toasted, Maine-style rolls that were lauded by The New Yorker. A tiny smear of mayo allows the lobster to shine through, enhanced simply with a light sprinkling of butter, lemon, and secret spices. Crab and shrimp rolls come similarly garnished, though the seafood is so fresh that Luke's even gives diners the option to skip all the extra stuff and let the meat stand on its own. Those who have extra room can sample New England Clam Chowder, made in Maine from the seafood processed at Luke's family's company or wash the briny goodness down with a Maine Root Soda, which offers up hints of blueberry, orange, ginger, and the rich, Maine soil from whence it sprang.