#6: Uni Panini, El Quinto Pino & #59: Shrimp Roll, Luke’s Lobster


56 & 57 down. 44 to go.

Today was finally Friday. And was hot outside — really, really disgustingly hot. Weather sites were using adjectives like “horrid” to describe the record breaking temperature, and there was no hiding the sweat seeping through my shirt. Offices were advised to use less electricity to prevent possible black outs. Most people found an air conditioned room, copious amounts of alcohol, and stayed there as long as possible. We, on the other hand, decided to trek around the city and make a big night out of it.

After work, I met up with Dr. Dean and Professor Chaudhary, the top two Quest leaders, for the Uni Panini sandwich at El Quinto Pino. Uni means sea urchin in Japanese, and panini means small, overpriced sandwich. Perhaps I’m just used to my sandwiches being XXL, as The Quest’s average sandwich size is over 12″, but this one looked like it was out of Honey, I Shrunk the Sandwiches. It took me longer to eat Chic-fil-a’s Chicken sandwich than the Uni Panini, though it tasted MUCH better. The sea urchin was prepared with mustard seed giving it an intense spicy, almost horseradish flavor with a clean, fresh ocean after taste. Yet, four bites and $15 later, we were still unsatisfied, especially considering this was the #6 sandwich on the list.

We just wanted to go someplace where beer flows like wine. Where soup dumplings instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. Fortunately, Grand Sichuan was right around the corner. We were seated quickly, and immediately put in an order of soup dumplings while we contemplated the rest of our meal. Things were looking up. Seconds from placing our order, we realized we were about to make a huge mistake. Chinese food would not replace the disappointing sandwich experience. Only another sandwich could fill that gap. We ate our dumplings, drank our beers, and paid our bill.

There was one minor issue — between the sea urchin sandwich and soup dumplings, we weren’t that hungry. We still wanted another sandwich, we just needed to kill some time beforehand. Weeks earlier, Professor Chaudhary bought a $20 Groupon — good for 4 beers, 4 shots, and 1-hour of private room karaoke. Cheaper than any bar we’d end up at, we hopped on F train and ended up at Boho Karaoke, the same place I ventured to weeks ago after knocking off Georgia’s Eastside BBQ’s Fried Chicken sandwich. They tried to keep us from singing that night, but tonight it was our turn. I know what you’re thinking — three person private room karaoke sounds incredibly lame. You’re probably right, but if I cared about my reputation I probably wouldn’t have painted flames on my car in high school or had a pony tail. And I probably would have left this part out of the night’s events and certainly wouldn’t have included a video of it at the bottom of this post. We rocked the house and had a blast every missed note along the way.

After an hour of screaming Aerosmith songs and dancing on couches, we were ready to eat again. We left the comfort of our air-conditioned, music-making machine and headed into the disgustingly humid depths of the East Village to Luke’s Lobster. It was worth every bead of sweat dripping down my back. The Shrimp Roll was the perfect summer sandwich. The buttery toasted roll was overflowing with cold, refreshing shrimp, sprinkeld with a little salt, a little pepper, and a little drizzle of butter. It was simple and out of this world, completely rejuvenating our tired bodies.

So rejuvenating that after Round 2 of sandwiches, it was time for Round 2 of karaoke.

We headed a block over to Sing-Sing where we proceeded to share our musical talents with the rest of the world. Or at least the ten people and two really drunk girls at the bar. Record breaking karaoke, record breaking temperatures, and record breaking sandwiches. Nights like this don’t happen too often, or often enough.


El Quinto Pino | 401 W 24th Street and 9th Avenue
Luke’s Lobster | 93 East 7th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A


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6 Responses to #6: Uni Panini, El Quinto Pino & #59: Shrimp Roll, Luke’s Lobster

  1. jiggles says:

    are sea urchin and shrimp sustainable?

  2. greg yagoda says:

    Excellent question, Jiggles. Thanks for bringing that up. According to Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium these are both sustainable options.

    Sea Urchins are hand-caught so bycatch and habitat damage are both not an issue. Though in some areas of California sea urchins are overfish, they reproduce at a young age and can lay millions of eggs at a time.

    The shrimp from Luke’s Lobster are from Portland, Maine. While wild caught shrimp typically result in a HUGE amount of bycatch (every 1lb of shrimp can yield 10lbs of bycatch!), the United States has very strict fishing regulations. Fisheries can use bycatch reduction devices to prevent catching unwanted marine mammals or finfish. Also, Northern Shrimp are generally caught over soft bottom habitats which are more resilient to habitat damage from trawling. I have sent an email to both Luke’s Lobster and Portland Shellfish to ask how the shrimp are caught and what measures are taken to reduce unwanted catch or habitat damage.

    In general though, I avoid eating shrimp at all costs and recommend you doing the same. They are one of the worst seafood choices you can make as a consumer. This is probably the second time I’ve had shrimp in 5 years. The other time was sustainably farmed shrimp from Franny’s in Brooklyn.

  3. Brian says:

    Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog, and love it! I am working my way through the sandwich list as well and sit at 38.

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