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annecros

Stone Crabs: Restaurant vs. Market

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I will not eat stone crab out. Ever. I am not too keen on the mustard sauce everyone serves them with, and they are more reasonably priced in a decent market.

I know, you are in Miami and have to eat at a stone crab place. I would seriously recommend to a real eater to just got to a market, buy them by the pound, go back to your room with a lemon, and have at them.

They have to be sold cooked. If you happen to have a microwave or kitchenette, so much the better. Melt some butter. Some places even sell that mustard sauce on the side, but as I said, I am just not that keen on it.

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I will not eat stone crab out. Ever. I am not too keen on the mustard sauce everyone serves them with, and they are more reasonably priced in a decent market.

I know, you are in Miami and have to eat at a stone crab place. I would seriously recommend to a real eater to just got to a market, buy them by the pound, go back to your room with a lemon, and have at them.

They have to be sold cooked. If you happen to have a microwave or kitchenette, so much the better. Melt some butter. Some places even sell that mustard sauce on the side, but as I said, I am just not that keen on it.

I strongly disagree. The claws you get at Joe's or Billy's or any busy, good spot are the best, most reliable, fresh claws. That can't be said for any market, even Capt. Jim's, which is my go-to market. Claws are a premium delicacy, and the best ones go to the restaurants. No one is out there catching their own stone crabs. I can also guarantee that they will not be much cheaper to-go at Epicure or Capt. Jim's, or anywhere else. The price difference is marginal, unless you want to buy your claws at the supermarket, which I strongly suggest you avoid. As for the mustard sauce, you don't have to eat it-I'm not a big fan either.

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The guys at Delaware Chicken and Seafood have me spoiled I guess. I wouldn't buy them at Publix, for sure, but these guys have it wired. On 441 across from the Hard Rock just south of the overpass. I call them in, ask when the next delivery is coming in, and the counter guys will go in the back for me. They turnover a lot of seafood - and make crab cakes and soups and such with their inventory after it's a day or two old.

The restaurants down here are just hit and miss for freshness most of the time, and if I'm spending that kind of money I want a hit. I'm a bit stingy like that. :biggrin:

Nothing wrong with driving out to the beach for a stone crab picnic, either.

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I will not eat stone crab out. Ever. I am not too keen on the mustard sauce everyone serves them with, and they are more reasonably priced in a decent market.

I know, you are in Miami and have to eat at a stone crab place. I would seriously recommend to a real eater to just got to a market, buy them by the pound, go back to your room with a lemon, and have at them.

They have to be sold cooked. If you happen to have a microwave or kitchenette, so much the better. Melt some butter. Some places even sell that mustard sauce on the side, but as I said, I am just not that keen on it.

I strongly disagree. The claws you get at Joe's or Billy's or any busy, good spot are the best, most reliable, fresh claws. That can't be said for any market, even Capt. Jim's, which is my go-to market. Claws are a premium delicacy, and the best ones go to the restaurants. No one is out there catching their own stone crabs. I can also guarantee that they will not be much cheaper to-go at Epicure or Capt. Jim's, or anywhere else. The price difference is marginal, unless you want to buy your claws at the supermarket, which I strongly suggest you avoid. As for the mustard sauce, you don't have to eat it-I'm not a big fan either.

I may have mis-stated some pricing, so for the record, I was at Capt. Jim's yesterday and here's what I found.

Stone crab season is in full swing. They are harvested between October 15th and May 15th, and, interestingly, only one claw is removed from the captured crab. The (now one-armed) crab is tossed back in the water, to regrow his delicious claw just in time for next season. The claws must be boiled, and then chilled, which prevents the meat from sticking to the shell (this all happens before the claws are shipped). The claws are normally sold by the pound in markets and restaurants, and the size designations are as follows:

Medium/.19 lbs and under

Large/ .20-.29 lbs.

Jumbo/ .30-.39 lbs.

Colossal/ .40 and up

Some places do 'Selects', which are between Medium and Large, or 'Junior Jumbos', which are between Large and Jumbo.

At my local fish market, which happens to be the incredible Capt. Jim's (which is also a restaurant), the prices as of today were as follows:

Size Retail/Restaurant

Medium $19/21

Large $25/27

Jumbo $33/35

Colossal $37/39

It seems they are expensive, but pretty reasonable compared to anyone else. And their claws came in that morning.

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At my local fish market, which happens to be the incredible Capt. Jim's (which is also a restaurant), the prices as of today were as follows:

Size    Retail/Restaurant

Medium  $19/21

Large        $25/27

Jumbo      $33/35

Colossal  $37/39

It seems they are expensive, but pretty reasonable compared to anyone else.  And their claws came in that morning.

Thanks for that informative post, Miami Danny. I'm assuming these prices are per pound?

How many pounds of claws do you suppose comes on an average plate of "Selects" at a place like Joe's? That's seven claws, in case you don't know the average Joe's plating amount.

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At my local fish market, which happens to be the incredible Capt. Jim's (which is also a restaurant), the prices as of today were as follows:

Size    Retail/Restaurant

Medium   $19/21

Large        $25/27

Jumbo      $33/35

Colossal   $37/39

It seems they are expensive, but pretty reasonable compared to anyone else.  And their claws came in that morning.

Thanks for that informative post, Miami Danny. I'm assuming these prices are per pound?

How many pounds of claws do you suppose comes on an average plate of "Selects" at a place like Joe's? That's seven claws, in case you don't know the average Joe's plating amount.

heres a tip for you... i get my stone crab fix from a great place in california; Catalina Offshore.

They sell Pacific Stone Crab. it is not 100% as sweet as the Florida stone crab, but it is still really good, and their prices are amazing. They have it frozen year round, and fresh in season, for an average $10 per pound. i highly recommend it.

http://www.catalinaop.com/Frozen_Jumbo_Cra...hellfish_b2.htm

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At my local fish market, which happens to be the incredible Capt. Jim's (which is also a restaurant), the prices as of today were as follows:

Size    Retail/Restaurant

Medium   $19/21

Large        $25/27

Jumbo      $33/35

Colossal   $37/39

It seems they are expensive, but pretty reasonable compared to anyone else.  And their claws came in that morning.

Thanks for that informative post, Miami Danny. I'm assuming these prices are per pound?

How many pounds of claws do you suppose comes on an average plate of "Selects" at a place like Joe's? That's seven claws, in case you don't know the average Joe's plating amount.

Yes-The prices I listed are by the pound. Stone crab claws are graded by the pound, not by the piece. Honestly, I have no idea what Joe's puts on the plate-every stone crab restaurant I know serves by the pound-maybe they do it differently there? I haven't been in a while.
Edited by Miami Danny (log)

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Now, I'm going to have to do a pricing/scouting trip for claws tomorrow.

Hubby is traveling on business, so he'll never know I had a plate of stone crab without him.

:wink:

Hey maher, Publix down here carries the "Jonah" crabs year around as well. Much cheaper, but as you say, just not as sweet.

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Now, I'm going to have to do a pricing/scouting trip for claws tomorrow.

Hubby is traveling on business, so he'll never know I had a plate of stone crab without him.

:wink:

Hey maher, Publix down here carries the "Jonah" crabs year around as well. Much cheaper, but as you say, just not as sweet.

In fact, Jonah's were $7/lb over the weekend at Publix. The problem is usually only about half of them are any good. Still, if you get lucky and they were stored properly, that's not bad, considering. Nowhere near as good as Stone Crab Claws!

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Now, I'm going to have to do a pricing/scouting trip for claws tomorrow.

Hubby is traveling on business, so he'll never know I had a plate of stone crab without him.

:wink:

Hey maher, Publix down here carries the "Jonah" crabs year around as well. Much cheaper, but as you say, just not as sweet.

In fact, Jonah's were $7/lb over the weekend at Publix. The problem is usually only about half of them are any good. Still, if you get lucky and they were stored properly, that's not bad, considering. Nowhere near as good as Stone Crab Claws!

Ive generally had pretty good luck with the catalina ones.... amazing for crab cakes too... Ill be keeping an eye out for any Jonah crabs in the local markets as well.

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Ok, reporting on Delaware Chicken and Seafood:

On November 8, 2007 - No selects. Medium, Large, Jumbo and Colossal.

Per pound pricing:

M - 13.99

L - 21.99

J - 30.99

C - 35.99

Bought 1lb of Large, 5 claws. Plenty for my late lunch, and as good and fresh as I have ever eaten!

Those mediums look like a deal. I am sure there is more shell to meat in those than the Large's though, and if I'm eating them I want to make sure I get enough.

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The guys at Delaware Chicken and Seafood have me spoiled I guess. I wouldn't buy them at Publix, for sure, but these guys have it wired. On 441 across from the Hard Rock just south of the overpass. I call them in, ask when the next delivery is coming in, and the counter guys will go in the back for me. They turnover a lot of seafood - and make crab cakes and soups and such with their inventory after it's a day or two old.

The restaurants down here are just hit and miss for freshness most of the time, and if I'm spending that kind of money I want a hit. I'm a bit stingy like that. :biggrin:

Nothing wrong with driving out to the beach for a stone crab picnic, either.

We'll be in town next week and I plan on hitting Delaware for some stone crabs and other seafood. We'll be grilling for xmas day and I havent been to Delware since before I moved away from Ft. Lauderdale. Robin has never had a stone crab and I'm excited for her to try them.

How are the prices at Delaware? Is it worth it to buy them there or at say Billy's?

eta: I posted before I read your last post.


Edited by CaliPoutine (log)

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Thanks to Anne, I picked up some FL Golden Crab and Stone Claws from Delware's a few days ago. They were super fresh....the golden crab were live until I asked them to clean it for me.

Then I went to Joe's and ordered claws 8 claws for $48 and a slice of key lime pie for $7.50!! The Crab claws tasted the same (not like Joe's does anything special to their crab claws), though the ones from Delaware's cost me around $11 !!

This little experiment settles it for me :rolleyes:

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Thanks to Anne, I picked up some FL Golden Crab and Stone Claws from Delware's a few days ago. They were super fresh....the golden crab were live until I asked them to clean it for me.

Then I went to Joe's and ordered claws 8 claws for $48 and a slice of key lime pie for $7.50!! The Crab claws tasted the same (not like Joe's does anything special to their crab claws), though the ones from Delaware's cost me around $11 !!

This little experiment settles it for me  :rolleyes:

Sounds pretty 'fishy' to me....Are you saying you got 8 stone crab claws for $11 retail and then paid $48 at Joe's for the same size claws? And that some random fish market (apologies to Anne) in Hollywood gets the same quality claw as the most venerable restaurant in Miami Beach? Claw quality can vary widely, not just the store/restaurant source (wholesaler/crabber), but the geographical source as well. The best claws go to the people who pay the most, and it ain't some chicken market.

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Thanks to Anne, I picked up some FL Golden Crab and Stone Claws from Delware's a few days ago. They were super fresh....the golden crab were live until I asked them to clean it for me.

Then I went to Joe's and ordered claws 8 claws for $48 and a slice of key lime pie for $7.50!! The Crab claws tasted the same (not like Joe's does anything special to their crab claws), though the ones from Delaware's cost me around $11 !!

This little experiment settles it for me  :rolleyes:

Sounds pretty 'fishy' to me....Are you saying you got 8 stone crab claws for $11 retail and then paid $48 at Joe's for the same size claws? And that some random fish market (apologies to Anne) in Hollywood gets the same quality claw as the most venerable restaurant in Miami Beach? Claw quality can vary widely, not just the store/restaurant source (wholesaler/crabber), but the geographical source as well. The best claws go to the people who pay the most, and it ain't some chicken market.

No offense taken Danny - I can handle myself.

The name of the place is misleading - if you have the opportunity to visit I promise you that you will understand that it is not "some" "random" market - and I think I qualified the argument by stating in the beginning that a quality market (not Publix) is a better source for stone crab than standing in line at Joe's along with the snowbirds and schmucks. That was my original theory, and I think I am right.

Of course, if you want to stand in line at Joe's with the snowbirds and schmucks, knock yourself out. At the very least you will be able to say you were there. :wink: Keep in mind, in the restaurant business, if folks are standing in line and cooling their heels for an hour - then the restaurant is selling the stuff too cheap - in the mind of a successful restaurateur.

Now, when you talked to the folks at the seafood market - I know that they explained to you that the claws are cooked on the boat. All of them. I understand and agree with your point that people that pay the most get the best. No doubt. However, you know enough about the restaurant business vs. the retail business to understand the differences in the overhead. The retail markup is never going to be as high as the restaurant markup. I mean sheesh, they have more square feet under air at Joe's, imagine just the bills for the linens, the hostess has to be paid, the dishwasher, even the wait staff gets at least a couple of bucks and hour, etc, etc, etc. I think if you reflect upon that - it won't sound as fishy as you are implying. And come on, even you surely have dumped a couple of eggs, a cup and a half of lime juice, and a can of condensed milk into a graham cracker crust at some point. Seven dollars and fifty cents a slice for Key Lime freaking pie. Scaling that markup to the stone crab, it is not so hard to understand. No doubt that Joe's and Billy's get a volume discount. Joe and Billy (actually by now the grandkids) also have a lot of bills to pay at the big house on the beach. They simply do not pass it on to the customer. Paying more at the consumption point does not guarantee you will have a better claw.

Get to know the guys behind the counter. Make friends, keep them close. Apologies to you, and you know I really respect your judgment and opinion, but man - you've been living down here all this time and haven't figured this out? Dude.

The Golden Crab, right now, is the best bang for the buck of any seafood in Florida.

Eleven bucks had to be the mediums. 8 per pound sounds about right. I go "Large" or I go home. Higher flesh to shell ratio.

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Yes, those were medium. The large at Delaware were $26/lb I think and much higher at Joe's.

All I am saying is that I would not tell the difference in quality. I am no stone crab aficionado, but at least I tried but places before commenting.

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Yes, those were medium. The large at Delaware were $26/lb I think and much higher at Joe's.

All I am saying is that I would not tell the difference in quality. I am no stone crab aficionado, but at least I tried but places before commenting.

Trying both places is a sound scientific method. :wink:

The large are in my comfort zone, more meat, less shell. Mediums hurt my fingers with the picking, but darling daughter doesn't have the same health issues I do, and blue crab are her crab of choice. The jumbos and colossals are not as sweet, in my humble opinion. I don't know why. I am sure there is a perfectly reasoned explanation for that phenomenon.

I am not sure I would call myself an aficionado, but I have eaten them on the dock at 2 AM immediately after the traps are pulled and the boats driven home. I have also wrung my own Florida Lobster. I gag over seafood that isn't fresh.

As long as you are in a reputable market that you trust, there really is no difference, and you can purchase an exponentially larger quantity for the same money.

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Yes, those were medium. The large at Delaware were $26/lb I think and much higher at Joe's.

All I am saying is that I would not tell the difference in quality. I am no stone crab aficionado, but at least I tried but places before commenting.

Trying both places is a sound scientific method. :wink:

The large are in my comfort zone, more meat, less shell. Mediums hurt my fingers with the picking, but darling daughter doesn't have the same health issues I do, and blue crab are her crab of choice. The jumbos and colossals are not as sweet, in my humble opinion. I don't know why. I am sure there is a perfectly reasoned explanation for that phenomenon.

I am not sure I would call myself an aficionado, but I have eaten them on the dock at 2 AM immediately after the traps are pulled and the boats driven home. I have also wrung my own Florida Lobster. I gag over seafood that isn't fresh.

As long as you are in a reputable market that you trust, there really is no difference, and you can purchase an exponentially larger quantity for the same money.

The same is true of almost any retail product compared to almost any restaurant product. You're simply saying that anyone who eats at Joe's (or, it seems, any restaurant, instead of buying their food at retail), is a shmuck. You're entitled to your opinion. I always assume that many people on a food board like this are discerning diners who enjoy eating at restaurants. Perhaps my assumption is incorrect.

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And what I meant by 'fishy' was that 8 stone crab claws for $11 sounds improbable. Delaware Chicken's prices as of today were $12.99/lb. for mediums. Mediums are 7 or fewer per pound. Maybe prices went up in the last few days.

As of 12/26/07...

Med-$12.99

Large-$19.99

Jumbo-$26.99

Col-$35.99


Edited by Miami Danny (log)

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Up here in New York my wholesale fish guy is selling Jumbo's for 17 a lb.. At a place like Fairway Super Market in Manhattan they are selling Mediums for $17 or $18 per lb.

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Up here in New York my wholesale fish guy is selling Jumbo's for 17 a lb.. At a place like Fairway Super Market in Manhattan they are selling Mediums for $17 or $18 per lb.

Are you sure they are stone crab? "Jonah's" are deceivingly similar.

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Yeh, this is going from price sheets. Not Jumbo sorry, large.


Edited by Daniel (log)

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And what I meant by 'fishy' was that 8 stone crab claws for $11 sounds improbable.  Delaware Chicken's prices as of today were $12.99/lb. for mediums.  Mediums are 7 or fewer per pound.  Maybe prices went up in the last few days.

As of 12/26/07...

Med-$12.99

Large-$19.99

Jumbo-$26.99

Col-$35.99

If you smile and ask about the kids, they will toss an extra claw in the bundle after they weigh and price.

Sort of like the "Are you from the Keys?" discount in the Keys.

Say yes.

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The hubby wants crab claws for Valentine's Day, which means we have to get them shipped. We used to order from Keys Fisheries, but I understand they supply Joe's and now only provide the mediums at their market.

Is Delaware Chicken and Seafood a reliable source? I know these will cost dearly, but we figure it's still cheaper than two plane tickets to Miami.

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The hubby wants crab claws for Valentine's Day, which means we have to get them shipped.  We used to order from Keys Fisheries, but I understand they supply Joe's and now only provide the mediums at their market.

Is Delaware Chicken and Seafood a reliable source?  I know these will cost dearly, but we figure it's still cheaper than two plane tickets to Miami.

Before Anne answers about Delaware, try Billy's (in Hollywood) website (crabs.com). They start at 18.99/lb for mediums. I've eaten there often and they are reliable.


Edited by Miami Danny (log)

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