Towards the tail end of my Tokyo trip, I was craving for Western food badly enough that I decided to brave the queue at Luke’s Lobster, a seafood franchise located a stone’s throw away from Takeshita Dori in Harajuku.
Contrary to my initial belief, Luke’s Lobster did not originate in Japan; it was brought over from New York some time around 2015. The idea came about when founder Luke Holden and his father set out to make their idea of a perfect lobster roll: chock full of fresh, chunky lobster claws, minus the diluted coleslaw and mayonnaise mix that seemed to plague most restaurants in New York.
As luck would have it, the queue had pretty much dissipated when I joined, although it swelled to about 20 people by the time I reached the front counter. Good timing, or maybe I’m just incredibly lucky when it comes to queueing for food overseas (why the same luck doesn’t apply to my favourite stalls at Amoy during lunchtime is a mystery).
The queue for Luke’s Lobster is split into two sections: the longer one along a board walk, and another much shorter one that leads to the counter, possibly to minimise overcrowding along the walkway. Staff in bright blue shirts will direct you over when it’s time. The wait time to get into the second queue was pretty short, and it did feel like we were being processed in an almost factory like manner.
Menu wise, Luke’s Lobster keeps it simple: choose between Lobster (¥980 for Regular, ¥1,580 for US size), Crab (¥1,380) or Shrimp (¥950). Many go for the US Lobster to make their time’s worth. Kettle chips, drinks, and other sides like coleslaw and soup of the day are also available.
As I wanted to try two flavours, I went for the Lobster and Shrimp Roll (¥1,380). Each roll comes cut in half and wrapped in brown paper for that rustic look.
Biting into my roll, I could taste that buttery goodness slathered over bread that stayed crisp throughout my five minutes of photo taking (what? I had to document this ok!). The lobster claw meat (there are supposedly about 5-6 claws worth in a single roll) lived up to its reputation – fresh, chunky, and with a slight briny taste that made me think I was dining on a peaceful dock instead of central Tokyo. The shrimp was incredibly fresh too, but if you want my honest verdict, the lobster trumped it all.
The Coleslaw (¥380) was pretty decent, with cut lettuce and corn slathered in mayonnaise and other sauces. I regretted not getting the soup, as it was a rather chilly afternoon.
Looking around, it appears that Luke’s Lobster is a huge hit with tourists, with customers of varying nationalities speaking in different languages. One thing was obvious, though: everyone was equally excited to get their first bite of the lobster roll they had traversed far and wide for.
Would I queue for an hour for this? Maybe not, as there are just so many food options in the vicinity, like Harajuku Gyozaro and Chao Bamboo, to name a few. I did enjoy the walk through the surrounding neighbourhood, though, as the crowd was much smaller than at Takeshita Dori.
In fact, I managed to chance upon a rather familiar sight.. 😉
Catch up on my other Tokyo reviews here!
- Discovering Izu Peninsula
- Eating Your Way Around Harajuku
- Ryu Sushi @ Tsukiji Fish Market
- Book and Bed Hostel @ Ikebukuro
- How to buy Ghibli Museum tickets outside Japan
(Accurate as of July 2017)
Address: 6-7-1 Jingumaee, Shibuya-ku/東京都渋谷区神宮前6-7-1
Contact: +81 03 5778 3747
Opening hours: 11am – 8pm daily