Gluten-friendly on the left, original on the right. [Photographs: Cleo von Siebenthal]

We recently got word that Luke's Lobster has joined the growing list of restaurants offering gluten-free alternatives to their gluten-ful menu items. After four years of gluten-free customers BYOBreading and requesting lobster rolls sans bun, the East Village lobster shack (and its food truck) has introduced a new "gluten-friendly" bun.

They say "gluten-friendly" and not "gluten-free" because Luke's tiny kitchen can't guarantee food totally and completely devoid of gluten. But for those with more lenient intolerances, the "friendly" works as a disclaimer, steering clear of misleading those whose stomachs will start to riot after a single bite of potato roll. The buns are supplied by Better Bread, a gluten-free bakery, with a $2 supplement to the $15 roll.

The gluten-friendly bun.

We got two lobster rolls, one on the normal bun and one on the gluten-friendly version for a head to head comparison. The verdict? The gluten-friendly roll is totally edible, but not something we'd go out of our way for. Thanks to the butter the buns are toasted in, the gluten-friendly bun is somewhat similar in flavor to the original, but its dry, foamy texture lacked the gentle chew of the original version.

The original bun.

We're admittedly biased in our judgements, as none of us have gluten intolerances and are just fine indulging in wheat flour bread. But for those on a gluten-free diet, Luke's new bun is a perfectly acceptable substitute, and there's no need to continue bringing your own bun just to get a lobster fix.


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