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Soft Shell Crabs


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I had good crab at Fat Kat in Little Ferry. Tony is also in the middle of a six week series in the Record food section.

The best part of the Guiniea Pig? The Cheeks! Definately the cheeks!!

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I like my SSC sticking out of a Spider Roll or sauteed in olive oil and put on a sang-wich between two pieces of white bread toast.

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." ~Winston Churchill

Morels- God's gift to the unworthy human species

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They have soft shell crabs on the menu at Bud's Hut in Avenel.

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best --" and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called. - A.A. Milne

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I was walking down Church Street on Friday and noticed the sign in the Church Street Cafe that Soft Shell Crabs are in.  Crabs are my favorite seafood and soft shells are the favorite of my favorite.  I dragged my husband there on Friday night.  We actually had some discussion about calling Sesame to see if they had them on their menu, because I was a bit leary about Church Street Cafe.  We decided to go there anyway.  The service was fair, I received my entree while two thirds of the way through my salad, and the crabs were okay - just that.

The clock is ticking on the season.  Has anyone had soft shell crabs anywhere that were great and memorable?  I can't bring myself to clean them while they are alive.  Sometimes I will have Whole Foods or Kings clean them and speed home to cook them, but a restaurant experience is preferred.

Thanks.

Marie

Down here in South Jersey there are a number of places for softshell crabs. The best ones are off the beaten path. Try Crabby's on route 50 in Mays Landing/Belcoville which is fairly easy to gety to. Everything is fresh.

Also for the ones who believe getting there is half the fun try the Shellpile Resturant. Its in Shellpile which is right next Bivalve. You have to buy a membership to have beer with your crabs. The softshell farm/ranch is right next to the place. They don't get much fresher. Call ahead to make sure they are open.

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I was walking down Church Street on Friday and noticed the sign in the Church Street Cafe that Soft Shell Crabs are in.  Crabs are my favorite seafood and soft shells are the favorite of my favorite.  I dragged my husband there on Friday night.  We actually had some discussion about calling Sesame to see if they had them on their menu, because I was a bit leary about Church Street Cafe.  We decided to go there anyway.  The service was fair, I received my entree while two thirds of the way through my salad, and the crabs were okay - just that.

The clock is ticking on the season.  Has anyone had soft shell crabs anywhere that were great and memorable?  I can't bring myself to clean them while they are alive.  Sometimes I will have Whole Foods or Kings clean them and speed home to cook them, but a restaurant experience is preferred.

Thanks.

Marie

Down here in South Jersey there are a number of places for softshell crabs. The best ones are off the beaten path. Try Crabby's on route 50 in Mays Landing/Belcoville which is fairly easy to gety to. Everything is fresh.

Also for the ones who believe getting there is half the fun try the Shellpile Resturant. Its in Shellpile which is right next Bivalve. You have to buy a membership to have beer with your crabs. The softshell farm/ranch is right next to the place. They don't get much fresher. Call ahead to make sure they are open.

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf

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This week, our night out was Aozora in Montclair. They offered a special soft shell appetizer. It was tempura fried, cut in half, and sitting atop a wafer covered in mango chutney. There were a few sauces surrounding the wafer - I'm not sure what they were. The whole presentation was excellent.

The rest of the food was well-prepared and beautifully plated as well. I had the seared tuna with roasted tomatoes sitting on sweet potato fries, and my husband had the duck breast served with a duck spring roll and pureed squash.

The service was mostly good and we were happy with our choice for the night.

Marie

NJDuchess

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Not my favorite item -- however, my sister had the softshell crabs at Fat Kats two weeks ago - and went back the following week for more - raving about the fresh seasoning, presentation and whatever magic chef Tony makes happen in his Little Ferry kitchen, she also raved about the night's special featuring long neck clams -- now that's something I can get into!

Jan

"When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking."

- Elaine Boosler

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had an outstanding soft shell crab at Oceanos in Fair Lawn last night.  These are some of the freshest tasting and meatiest soft shell crabs i've ever had.  Here's a pretty bad pic in low light.

Now I have an "oo lee" (don't know how to spell it. but that's how it's pronouced in italian ) for SS crabs. It means a " yen for"

So which shall it be..Wondees or Oceanos...?

Oh, decisions, decisions..

i may be wrong, but i always got the impression that Wondee's has soft shell crabs well beyond the actual season, which suggests to me that they are, at times, frozen. Oceanos, on the other hand, is dealing with top-notch seafood, as i ramble on about here.

Owner Nicos (Nick) and his father (and executive chef) Peter Panteleakis know seafood.  I'm pretty sure Peter is picking the day's selections out himself by hand.  That kind of attention to detail and that kind of passion for seafood translate onto your plate:  you're getting pristine seafood.  When I joked with Peter about the extra time and effort that goes into overseeing every piece of fish, he responded immediately with his gentle smile "I have to."  Peter, who has been in the restaurant business in the Fair Lawn area for a few decades, knows no other way.  And we are all the beneficiaries of that dedication and experience.

they're in different leagues. although, that basil and chili is quite tasty over at wondee's. :biggrin:

Just to mount a feeble defense for the merits of frozen foods, I will stake the claim that seafood frozen when fresh is still good. Its feeble because, hell, there is no beating fresh.

With regard to soft shells, yea, fresh and live is obviously optimal, and for a restaurant, you would expect nothing less, but don't discount frozen softshells as far as home cooking. They are hand cleaned and packed and immediately frozen. I've found that seafood instantly frozen keeps pretty well. A little relevant anecdote: We went Alaska a few years ago, caught the limit of halibut and helluva lot of salmon, but the only way to get it to NJ was instantly vaccuum freezing them and shipping them. Three months later, we were still pulling halibut and salmon packages out of the box freezer, and they werestill delicious. So while if we pay restaurant prices we like to see them fresh, aint nothing wrong with frozen.

But nothing beats preparing them at home; a lot of places in NJ have a tendency to over-deep fry, or Kentuckify things (in accord with a lot of american taste buds). I dont live in NJ anymore, and i haven't been to either restaurant, so that is a gross and unfair generalization, and certainly don't take that for gospel truth.

But there (was) a great fishmonger in Closter, NJ, which will definitely prepare them. Then just soak em in something like buttermilk for a while if your squeamish and dont want to deal with live crabs, then dredge in a little cornmeal and flour, and pan fry with a little garlic. maybe a little basil mayo - but thats already getting close to overdressing. Not really too much to ask for good crab.

(Or if you feel like having an excuse to go to new york, Citarella's often has sscrab, though Im not a huge fan of their seafood - fairway sometimes has sscrab too, but dont depend on it.)

Edited by Gustibus (log)
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I used to get the all you can eat Maryland style crabs (or garlic crabs) at the Hard Shell Cafe in Marlton.  But they've closed.  One of the principals there opened a crab takeout place nearby - Loupy's Crabs.

Expensive, but worth it when the craving becomes too strong.

I can’t say I disagree, but I had one of my most disappointing experiences ever in a restaurant there. This is coming from someone who eats out way, way too often and is truly a go-with-the-flow guy who realizes mistakes happen.

But Loupy’s is a bit loopy when it comes to professionalism.

Loupy’s sells their blue claw crabs by the piece and size: medium, large, jumbo….

The Dungeness and snow crabs are sold by the pound.

We were visiting my parents in Marlton and my wife compiled an order for six. Three adults distinctly heard her, without question order “SNOW crabs” for my mom. For whatever reason, the guy who took the order thought she wanted blue claw crabs. Why, I don’t know, as there is no question whatsoever he was told snow crabs.

Anyway, he asks what size? Having never gotten an order from there previously, my wife relays the question to my mom. Bewildered as my mom also never got food from there before answers the guy’s questions and presumably we are done.

We get there and my dad notices they gave us the wrong crabs. Loupy himself, could only say, “These are fresh blue claw crabs, we just got them today.” My dad tells him that’s great but it’s not what we ordered.

Loupy seems incredulous and speaks to the kid who answered the phone. The kid claims my wife didn’t say snow crabs. I call the wife and verified what I heard with my own two ears, my mom heard and my dad heard—she sure as bleep did.

Loupy then insists, “Well I heard my guy ask what size and she answered. We don’t even sell snow by the size, we sell it strictly by the pound.” Loupy is actually 100 percent in said account. However my mom ONLY ANSWERED once the guy asked which size regarding the clearly stated snow crabs. Assuming she misunderstood the menu and thought they were sold by bucket size, she simply responded to the questions.

Loupy even had the audacity to say, “What am I supposed to do with these crabs? We cooked them?” I bit my tongue on the answer but…

I believe communication is a two way street and so is miscommunication. But bottom line is we gave the right answers to the wrong questions. If they want to argue my mom should have known medium, large, etc couldn’t possibly refer to snow crabs, I guess they have an argument, but other than that, they guy misheard, made a mistake, no big deal, stuff happens. However it took some discussion before Loupy FINALLY gave us what we ordered and stopped trying to get us to take the mistakenly cooked food.

I was about 30 seconds—and I assure you there is no easier guy on earth and I’ve never done anything like this ever—from just walking out and leaving him with the order. I’ve never experienced anyone so belligerent in trying to completely cleanse his hands of a mistake.

Bottom line is I can’t deny the food is great (but as mentioned expensive). And yes he did eventually make good.

As eventually is an understatement, I will have a tough time patronizing this place again.

Edited by CoolPapaBell (log)

Nobody eats at that restaurant anymore. It's always too crowded.

---Yogi Berra

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Bangkok Garden in Hackensack.

We went there last night for dinner and they had a soft shell crab special. You could have it three possible ways, including batter fried with a garlic sauce on it with some lovely spinach.

Tasty.

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