Guest Blog Frizday – The tale of an NYC lobster roll

17 Jun

Sooo ladies and gents, it’s that time again – time for guest blog frizday!!!!!! Today’s guest blog comes from a dear friend of both Kteb and me – Mr. Chris Brook (CBrook as we call him). Here are some things you need to know about him – he LOVES Boston sports, he’s from Maine, he LOVES plaid shirts (as you can see below), he’s a beer snob (like me) and this guy KNOWS a lobster roll…enjoy!

Sometimes you hear the city calling your name and all you can do is follow its beck and call.

Such was the case just last weekend when two friends and I decided to make a weekend trip to New York City. After enduring crippling traffic in Greenwich, Conn. and five long hours in an SUV, we were starving. We parked in Queens and navigated our way through the belly of the beast, taking our appetite to a hole in the wall in East Village: Luke’s Lobster on East 7th.

Luke’s, a stone’s throw from Tompkins Square Park, was started just a year and a half ago by former lobsterman-turned-restaurateur Luke Holden. The place has made a name for itself quickly with its lobster rolls though: They’ve already got four locations in New York, a newly opened shack in D.C. and one of those oh-so-hip-these-days food trucks.

Hailing from Maine myself, of course I was skeptical. How could a lobster roll from New York stack up against one from my homeland nearly 300 miles away? I was about to find out.

This thing was loaded with meat, which according to a sign on the counter had come from way up there in Maine: Beals Harbor. Do a Google Maps search for it; it’s up there – past Acadia, past Bar Harbor – this critter was caught an hour from Nova Scotia. This was Real Maine.

Anywho, the roll was overflowing with cold, succulent meat. Not processed but in big chunks – this was quality stuff. The lobster was rounded out with a smidge of mayo, some lemon butter and some spices I couldn’t quite put my finger on. As lobster rolls usually come with a sprinkle of paprika, I’d wager there was some mixed in there.

The real kicker? The roll! It was a split-top bun that was from Maine too, made by Country Kitchen, a big bakery out of Auburn, Maine; the sides were buttered and toasted a tasty golden brown. The crispy sides of the roll complemented the meat perfectly. Served with a refreshing Maine Root Mandarin Orange soda – it was a wholly awesome trifecta of Maine-ness.

Lobsterrific

With our stomachs full it only made sense to do a little imbibing and sample some beers we wouldn’t have been able to try in Boston.  At The Ginger Man on East 36th I was able to throw back two beers from Cigar City Brewing out of Tampa Bay. Their year-round offerings Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale and Jai Alai IPA were solid takes on their styles. The brown ale was rich and malty while the IPA was a big, fruity hop blast. Adequately hoppy and at 7.5% ABV it had everything I’d normally look for in an American IPA.

It wasn’t until we got to Pony Bar on 10th Ave. that we made our best beer discovery of the weekend. A bit of a hike from where we were, just above Hell’s Kitchen and three avenues over from Times Square, the walk was worth it. They had some Ballast Point Sculpin IPA on tap – a pleasure to find on draught at any establishment as it’s constantly rated the best IPA in America. While I’d seen it before, this was different – this time it was on cask. As beer nerds can attest, cask ale’s the way beer was meant to be: Unfiltered, sans carbon dioxide and served cool but not cold to let the flavors expand. Even more surprising: The beer somehow had habanero peppers infused. On its own, Sculpin is a great drinkable IPA with a huge citrusy hop flavor but with the habaneros it took on a whole new flavor. Each sip was a blast of West Coast hops that quickly gave way to spiciness, giving our mouths a surprising burn… but in a good way!  It truly was a bizarre beer drinking experience. While it wasn’t something I could’ve ordered a few rounds of (I think I’d be afraid of heartburn sneaking in!) I was pretty happy with the novelty of the whole thing after drinking just one.

Ballast Point Brewing Co.

~CBrook (aka: @brokenfuses)

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