Name of the restaurant: Knuckle and Claw.
In the heart of Silver Lake, nestled between two used bicycle shops is a subway-tiled little restaurant with a limited menu written on butcher paper.
The items on the menu — mostly crustaceans tucked into a thick piece of bread — may not sound like a lot, but owners Nikki Booth and Chloe Dahl know what they're doing. Since the shop's grand opening on March 12, there has been a steady stream of customers. Because the fresh lobster is flown in from Maine daily, quantities are limited and items end up selling out before the day is over.
Concept: What started as just an idea evolved into a farmers market booth, a Kickstarter campaign, and now, finally, a brick-and-mortar. Knuckle and Claw is a New England-style lobster shack serving uncomplicated lobster, crab, and shrimp rolls that are heavy on the seafood and light on the celery, mayo, and other fillers.
Which dishes represent the restaurant and why: Order two mini rolls: a lobster roll and a Dungeness crab roll. They take large chunks of lobster, place in between a perfectly grilled, buttery piece of bread baked from a hard-to-pronounce bakery downtown, drizzle on a mixture of lemon and melted butter with a turkey baster, sprinkle a secret mixture of seasoning, and there you have it: one of the better lobster rolls in town.
The second roll does the same but with generous pieces of Dungeness crab: a second perfect little sandwich. Don't be mistaken in thinking the mini rolls are half the size of a regular roll. They're actually about three-quarters the size.
Who's at the next table: Young men with perfectly groomed beards and nice glasses. Women in designer sunglasses sitting out in the patio. A family who lives nearby. A few people stopping in on their lunch break. Some looky-loos made it through the door, saw the menu, exchanged glances and walked out. Shellfish on a piece of toast may not be everyone's cup of tea for a weekday lunch no matter how delicious it is.
Appropriate for: People who love seafood but also want something casual. There's plenty of seating at the bar overlooking the food preparation area, but there's also a secluded patio to the side as well as outdoor seating in front of the restaurant.
Service: Friendly, talkative, and excited about their new restaurant — and appropriately enthusiastic about pickle and bread sandwiches.