Recipe Review

I Tried the Lobster Roll Recipe from Luke’s Lobster to See If Mayo + Butter Really Is Better

published Jun 3, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

I had an internship in New York City in the summer of 2015 and I vividly remember Luke’s Lobster being the it thing. I remember going to Smorgasburg and trying one, and I remember how busy they always were when I’d walk past their locations throughout the city. Given that their entire brand centers around lobster rolls, my expectations were pretty high. Are they just handing over their secret lobster roll recipe that has taken the Northeast by storm? I needed to try it out for myself.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

How to Make Luke’s Lobster’s Lobster Rolls

This one calls for chopped, chilled lobster meat, so if your lobster isn’t already cooked, go ahead and choose your favorite method to cook them and let them chill in the fridge (or buy pre-cooked meat). To start, brush melted butter onto the sides of your split-top hot dog buns and toast them in a pan until golden-brown. Once toasted, gently pry the buns open and spread mayo on the insides. Then add the chilled lobster meat and drizzle with melted butter. Sprinkle the lobster with a dried oregano, dried thyme, and celery salt mixture and serve immediately.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

My Honest Review of Luke’s Lobster’s Lobster Rolls

I felt pretty underwhelmed by this recipe. I’m genuinely not sure if this is the one that they use in their stores but if it is, that’s honestly pretty disappointing. I felt like it didn’t really fall into either category of lobster roll (Maine-style or Connecticut-style) because the lobster was neither incorporated into a chilled mayo mixture, nor was it tossed in a warmed butter mixture. Even though melted butter was poured on it, the lobster was chilled and tucked into a mayo-coated bun, so it kind of teetered on an awkward lukewarm (no pun intended) temperature.

I found the dry spice mixture to be a total miss. Lobster rolls are the dish of the SUMMER. Use fresh chives! Tarragon! Basil! Literally anything that’s not a dry spice. The recipe doesn’t call to trim the edges of the buns, although in the picture it does look like they were trimmed, so maybe this was an oversight. Either way, I think the edges should be trimmed, always. Nothing about this recipe made sense to me and I think it resulted in a pretty sub-par lobster roll.

If You Make Luke’s Lobster’s Lobster Rolls, a Few Tips

  1. Trim the buns. Trimming the edges off the buns gives you even, golden-brown toast on both sides.
  2. Use fresh herbs. Replace the dry herb mixture with a handful of fresh chives, dill, or parsley.
  3. Pick a lane. For this recipe, I would either warm the lobster in the skillet with melted butter, or toss the chilled lobster with a bit of mayo. I’m all for a compromise, but this just didn’t do it for me.

Overall rating: 7/10