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Food

Silver Lake Has A New Lobster Roll Joint That Flies In Seafood From Maine Daily

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Maine lobster roll at Knuckle and Claw (Photo by Jean Trinh/LAist)
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You know a restaurant takes their lobster and crab rolls seriously when they're flying in seafood daily from Maine on a Jet Blue plane straight to Los Angeles.

Knuckle and Claw owners Chloe Dahl and Nikki Booth, both 24, had been slinging their lobster rolls at farmers markets in Beverly Glen and Brentwood. Then they launched a successful Kickstarter campaign last year that enabled them to open their first brick-and-mortar restaurant on bustling Sunset Boulevard in March.

Dahl and Booth, who are engaged, came up with the concept of serving New England-style rolls since Dahl spent many a summer in Martha's Vineyard, and Booth's love for seafood came from living in Hawaii for years. (Dahl's name might sound familiar to you because she just so happens to be the granddaughter of James and the Giant Peach author Roald Dahl.)

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Dungeness crab rolls at Knuckle and Crab (Photo by Jean Trinh/LAist)
Their New England-style rolls make the seafood the star of the show. They don't stuff split-top rolls with fillers. They're full of large pieces of seafood—your pick of lobster, dungeness crab, shrimp or blue crab—but only knuckle and claw meat, no tails. The sandwiches are on toasted, buttered brioche buns with a little bit of mayo on the bottom. There's a drizzle of lemon butter on top and a sprinkling of Booth's secret seasoning. We tried both the lobster and dungeness crab rolls, and they tasted fresh and light.

Besides the seafood, all the other ingredients at Knuckle and Claw are locally-sourced. Their Knuckle Sandwich is like a grilled cheese stuffed with lobster meat, and it uses the Cheesestore of Silverlake's Cotswold cheese—a variation of Double Gloucester with chives and onions. The cheese perfectly complements the chunks of lobster meat pressed between two slices of buttered toast.

It's not cheap flying in fresh and high-quality lobster and crab on a daily basis. A whole lobster roll will cost you $18, the dungeness crab goes for $22 and the Knuckle Sandwich is $20. Cheaper options include the Maine shrimp rolls for $9 and blue crab ones for $11. You can also try the cheaper mini sizes that can be eaten in just a couple of bites—those range from $6 to $11.50.

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Sweet corn ice cream bar at Knuckle and Claw (Photo by Jean Trinh/LAist)
For the folks who like to customize their rolls with more mayo, butter or seasoning, Knuckle and Claw recently rolled out DIY kits where you can take the ingredients from their shop and customize the seafood rolls to your own liking at home.You can pair your sandwiches with their chowders—the chipotle corn soup or bacon clam. While the bacon clam is a bit sour for our taste, we love the spicy kick and sweet corn from the other soup.

They also recently teamed up with Los Angeles' Smile Frozen Goods to make specialty ice cream bars just for the restaurant. So far they have two flavors: sweet corn and blueberry sweet corn. The ice cream is creamy and not too sweet, and it comes in some adorable packaging.

Office42 designed the space of Knuckle and Claw to be hip enough to fit into Silver Lake but there are echoes of life on the New England coast. Out front, you're greeted by a blue neon sign of a lobster. There's a white countertop bar inside and subway-tiled walls. The walls are covered with photographs of sandy beaches. In the back patio, there are small vines sprawling across the wooden latticed fence surrounding light blue tables. A wooden sign on a wall shows a picture of a lobster with the words "Martha's Vineyard" emblazoned across of it. It's a casual joint where we could imagine spending warm summer nights. The owners are expecting their beer and wine liquor license to be approved by August.

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The front of Knuckle and Claw (Photo by Jean Trinh/LAist)
Knuckle and Claw is located at 3112 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, (323) 407-6142.