Restaurants in The InTowner
The InTowner
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Restaurant Review ~ Luke’s Lobsters / 624 E St., NW

Good Luck with Lobsters.

Where to begin with the history of America’s favorite seafood, the lobster? Depending on what you read, you will learn several facts: early settlers spurned them as a dietary commodity, feeding those trash sea creatures to slaves, servants, prisoners, lumbermen, the impoverished, or boarders. Some lobsters weighed as much as 25 pounds. And the local Native Americans used lobsters as bait to catch other seafood.

What the true history of American lobsters may be is hard to say, but surely by the mid-1800s early Americans caught on to the fact that lobsters were culinary delicacies whose meat became a treasured commodity on the tables of the wealthy. And the tables of just about anyone with a palate for delicate, succulent seafood, enhanced by melted butter, a wine-based cream sauce, or a pairing with scallops and crabmeat.

Fortunately, savvy fishermen have worked to preserve and protect a prized seafood that could well have become an over-fished food source, preventing its mass distribution in today’s marketplace. And you will be so grateful for that if you drop in at Luke’s Lobster in Penn Quarter (other DC-area locations include Georgetown and Bethesda) that you will vie with patrons in a get-‘em-while-they-are-hot scramble for lobster rolls stuffed with just-cooked claw meat and a bowl of thick and savory lobster bisque with bits of lobster meat —- this does not appear on the printed menu, so it may just be an occasional special. But if you find it, select that rather than the standard New England clam chowder, a menu regular.

Claiming to make their rolls Maine-style —- that is, by heaping lobster meat in a split bun with a bit of mayonnaise and some spices —- the kitchen does turn out a delicious sandwich. Tthough with its hefty price tag, patrons may wish for something a little larger: a roll with soda, chips and a pickle totals $17, almost the cost of a steamed Maine lobster at a local eatery.

Don’t like lobster after all? No worries. Luke’s sells crab rolls, shrimp rolls, and, of course, clam chowder.

Love lobster, but want a little diversion? Consider one of the orders that allows you half a lobster roll, half a crab roll and half a shrimp roll, plus soda, chips and a pickle. With such an abbreviated menu, it’s no surprise that desserts include only seasonal ice cream sandwiches.

The Penn Quarter location has some indoor seating plus several sidewalk tables. But come rain, snow, and bitter cold, squeezing into the eatery will be a bit of a challenge. Of course, take-out is available, and that means you can pick up lunch for your office buddies and become a lobster hero.

Luke’s Lobster / Sun.-Tue. 11am9pm. Entreé price range: $8-$38. 624 E St., NW; (202) 347-3355. www.