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Nov 16, 2000 01:08 PM

San Francisco Dungeness Crab Season Opens!

  • m

The SF Dungeness Crab season opened yesterday, Nov. 15 and will go until the end of June 2001. The fleet was delayed a day with yesterday's storm, very few boats going out in rough weather. With blue skies today, we should have a bigger catch. How do you kick off the season in chowhound style?

I had some disappointing crab cakes at lunch yesterday, obviously from frozen meat. Then tried to order a Singapore-style black pepper crab for dinner --- sold out --- foiled again! I'm in search of fresh crab again tonight.

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    Alexandra Eisler

    Last week my daughter (7 months old) was given her own "crab cracker" to prepare for the opener...

    (at least her grandparents give her useful toys!)

    7 Replies
    1. re: Alexandra Eisler

      Nature and nurture are shaping your little chowhound.

      I'm north of the Gate today. I've reserved a couple live ones at Egg Basket in Fulton.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Had some crab as part of the set family menu at Dragon House Restaurant on Geary Blvd in SF. The meat was very sweet - it was battered and deep fried. The $48 menu was more than enough for 4 adults and two teenagers. Seafood & tofu soup, Peking spare ribs, a very good steamed whole fish (sole), Crispy chicken, mixed seafood claypot, steamed oysters with ginger & scallions, spinach with garlic, and the usual sweet bean soup for dessert. A good neighborhood restaurant... good value. There seems to be quite a few of these places spread throughout SF....we're not quite as fortunate in the East Bay. I like the food at Daimo at the Richmond Ranch 99 Mall but the service was horrendous last time we ate there for dinner. Bad enough that I'd think twice about returning, which is unfortunate because the food really was quite good.

        1. re: gordon wing

          Ummm, that sounds really good! Great value too.

          I had crab Friday night too, at Young's Cafe in Chinatown (Kearny and Sacramento). An impromptu decision - I'd run into a woman at the Commonwealth Club who I'd met through colleagues and dined with in Hong Kong five years ago! It took us about 2 hours to figure out how we knew each other, and ended up wanting to have some Chinese with our friends. The crab was batter-fried with slices of fresh chiles and scallions and had spicy minced pork stuffed in the body shell. The other dishes that shined were the chicken soup with snow ear fungus (soup of the day), pea shoots with garlic, and stir-fried chicken with long beans and min see (brown bean) sauce. The prawns with honey walnuts was weak - the walnuts were cold, fried ahead of time and not crackly. We'd come from a winetasting and had been given a bottle of 99 Buttonwood Santa Barbara County Marsanne. The restaurant doesn't have an opener, but I carry a corkscrew in my purse, and they gave us plastic tumblers. The wine was delicious with a pineappley/guava flavor and good acid balance to enjoy with a meal.

          It's been a few years since I've been, but I used to go to the Silver Dragon in Oakland Chinatown for the set family menu (wo choy) which were a bargain. The dishes were a bit small but the selection and balance was always good. The black pepper sauce short-ribs were a frequent special, not on the regular menu. I've attended a number of banquets there and the kitchen is very competent. My sense is that it's not a place that doesn't get much week day dinner traffic from walk-ins.

        2. re: Melanie Wong

          Don't think I've ever eaten better Dungeness Crab than the one we had at the R&G Lounge (as touted by Chowhound), prepared Salt and Pepper style-MAN, OH MAN! That was a crab to remember.

          1. re: roberta

            Roberta, thanks so much for coming back to this board with your feedback!

            If you've not dined with Alpha Dog Jim before, this one got the "3 ooh" rating. When he likes something, he emits an "ooh". If he really likes it, 2 oohs. Over the top gets three, and he has this cute way of closing his eyes as if to block out all other sensory distractions. Then his eyes pop open wide and he starts chattering excitedly. In this case, he said, "Melanie, don't you think we need to order another one of these?" I assured him that we'd have much more coming along (THE chicken) and he would need to save room.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I really do all that?

              1. re: Jim Leff

                Yes, you do, Jimmy. :-)

      2. Great news! Time for a trip to La Vie, 22nd Ave & Geary. (I know I've mentioned it a couple times before...but a timely reminder never hurts.) ;-)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Tom Hilton

          My first crab of the season weighed in at 2.35 lbs. and set me back $11.21. Very lively, full of crab butter and sweet as could be. I'm a happy camper.

        2. where would one be able to buy fresh dungeness crabs in the east bay, might i ask? i'd like to get some and steam them myself, but i don't know the area very well since i just moved here. any recommended fish markets? thanks! :)

          3 Replies
          1. re: flipper

            Good Day!

            Try 99 Ranch on Pierce St. in El Cerritto. Mucho live seafood. As always, in the East Bay, call Berkeley Bowl. The address is 2020 Oregon St., you will have to look the telephone # up.

            I made one of my frequent roadies to Berkeley yesterday. Tanya and I took both sets of parents (mine, hers). We did Everett and Jones BBQ for lunch, and then went shopping at the Bowl. I don't remember seeing D. crab, but I was trying to dodge the meat and seafood counters and their pre-turkey rush.

            I want to wish all hounds a glorious Thanksgiving. I can't think of a better Chowhound holiday.


            1. re: Brandon

              Yes, Ranch 99 is definitely a good place to go for live crab - very reasonable prices and a huge tank full of these critters. The address is 3288 Pierce Street but it's actually in Richmond ( right over the border ) not in El Cerrito. On I-80 going toward Sacramento, take the Central Ave. exit. Just before you take this exit you will be able to see the Far East Mall that house Ranch 99 Market. Monterey Fish in Berkeley also usually has live dungeness crab - their prices will be higher. But any seafood they carry is of the highest quality. They sell picked crab meat from Maine - that is very good. ( also used at the French Laundry )

            2. re: flipper

              In addition to Brandon's suggestions, you might also try Oakland Chinatown. There are 4 or 5 fish markets and I'm sure that some or all will have live crabs in the tank. The area is quite compact so you can wander around and see who has the lowest price, liveliest, and biggest crabs.