Lobster roll lovers have had it rough in San Francisco. In search of hearty crustacean meat sandwiched between pillowy bread, there are those among us who’ve made the walk of shame to Fisherman’s Wharf to get a fix.
But hallelujah! SoMa has caught the first West Coast location of Luke’s Lobster, the popular Maine-based chain (with 10 restaurants in the U.S. and a few in Japan and Taiwan) from third-generation lobsterman Luke Holden and his partner, Ben Conniff.
First opened in 2009 in the East Village of New York City, Luke’s Lobster is a certified B-Corporation devoted to sustainable practices; they’ve created their own supply chain that purchases lobsters straight from the lobstermen of Maine and Canada, cooks them to perfection in Luke’s-owned facilities, and then freezes the meat before shipping it off to their various locations to be used in rolls, salads, and more.
The spot is fast-casual with order-at-the-counter service, but the interior has an inviting nautical theme with exposed brick walls illustrated with fishing boats, hanging buoys, and floor-to-ceiling windows to let the light in. A small bar area with high-top stools is well suited to happy hour, which serves up plenty of specials including a platter of lobster tails and discounts on wine and beer.
But the bottom line is this: The menu may be better than you’d expect. On offer are plump and juicy lobster, shrimp, and crab rolls on split buns that are lightly toasted and brushed with melted lemon butter, mayo, and secret spices. There’s also chowder and a mix of sides, including fries and Cape Cod chips.
Lunch in SoMa? Sold.
Inside Luke’s Lobster
Luke’s Lobster is located at the corner of Mission and 2nd Streets.
Inside, reclaimed wood and steel from New England evoke seafood-shack vibes.
The restaurant is housed in the old Bourdette Building, a historic landmark and one of the few commercial spaces downtown to survive the 1906 earthquake. The design team at Luke’s worked to preserve some of the building’s highlights, including unearthing the original terrazzo tile floor.
During happy hour (4 to 7pm daily), specials include a mini lobster roll platter ideal for sharing and $2 off beer and wine.
Big fan of lobster, shrimp, and crab? You won’t have to choose with Luke’s Trio, a sampling of half-sized rolls with a side of fries.
Need your greens? Dig into the Wild Blue Salad, a blend of mixed greens, pickled blueberries, sunflower seeds, white beans, red cabbage, and your choice of protein (crab, lobster, shrimp, or veggies) with honey balsamic dressing.
Each lobster roll comes topped with a quarter-pound of lobster meat on a lightly-toasted white bun. Lunch combos offer the choice of poppyseed slaw, fries, a side salad, or Cape Cod potato chips.
Luke’s Lobster also has some nice local offerings, including Patagonia Provisions’ tinned smoked or lemon-herb mussels, served with buttered toast at happy hour.
Also a happy hour happy-maker is the lobster tail platter loaded with eight chilled, halved lobster tails paired with cocktail sauce, melted lemon butter, and a basket of fries. Individual chilled lobster tails are available on the regular menu.
Exposed brick walls depict a lobsterman’s day, with drawings of New England nature and fishing boats.
Hearty seafood rolls are the thing here, but the menu also includes clam chowder, lobster-corn chowder, lobster tails, and salads.