HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


fatty crab - thumbs down

  • e

Went this weekend. What a disappointment. We ordered a bunch of food including the fish in coconut milk, fatty duck, crispy pork and watermelon, pork ribs, and crab in chili sauce.

Overall, I can't believe people like this place. The meat was very poor quality. I struggled to find a piece that wasn't almost entirely fat. The crab was difficult to eat as they gave us no utensils for that one. Once you opened the shell, the crab meat was rubbery and had no sense of the flavor of the sauce. The best thing was probably the pork ribs as the sauce was really tasty, but again - the meat was very, very fatty.

Add to that they serve no dessert and rushed us out right away. We'll not go back.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's too bad, you didn't seem to get that the fat is the whole point. Health food no, decadent and tasty, yes. I thought the flavors there were unique and well above average especially for the price.

    4 Replies
    1. re: J

      I agree. Loved this place...

      1. re: nychowgirl

        Perhaps the name of the restaurant might have been a tip off????

        love the food, hate the noise. Probably won't go back.

        1. re: xavier
          new orleanianette

          I went the night of the snowstorm in February and the place was vacant. Had one of my most delicious and memorable meals in NY. We told the waiter to bring us whatever he thought was good, and he did a great job providing us with an excellent meal. The crab is fatty and difficult, but that's part of the experience.

      2. re: J

        I agree too. I was at the UWS location a few days ago.
        The food was really delicious.
        The noise was way too loud.
        The draft beer was perfect.

        I will go back.

      3. Couldn't agree more. And yes, I get that it's about the fat--and I appreciate that. BUT . . .

        Fatty Crab is just ehh. Just.

        Had dinner there last night. We ordered the Fatty sandwiches--like over-buttered finger sandwiches--no flavor--white bread. really lousy.

        The fatty duck was not too bad. but that is one meager portion for about $18. yikes. complete rip-off, and the flavor could not substantiate the price. tasted no duck--just heavy-handed, typically sweet asian sauce. coriander was a nice complement--in fact, a little bowl of coriander would have sufficed.

        The fatty pork belly was the same as the fatty duck--same prep, same result, same cloying sweetness, same over-price, and same meager portion.

        the Haswian (sp?) chicken wasn't too bad, really--portion was fair, price was okay, and flavor, while a bit on the bland side wasn't "wrong."

        Major complaint was the noise level. Can someone tell me why it's desirable to have dance music BLASTING in a dining room?? What the F is that? We were shouting at one another at the small tables--which brings me to another point--this is possibly the most uncomfortable restaurant I have ever visited. Tiny metal tables (three of us squeezed in (and there were four place settings = my god!)), with tiny metal chairs. Just brutal.

        Service was not too bad, though the servers are dressed like skateboarders, and looked none too clean. Perhaps this is hip? Well, perhaps, but I'd just prefer they weren't handling my food.

        Frankly, I would avoid this place like the plague. If you're THAT curious, grab a take-out order and sample what MIGHT pass for acceptable in Chinatown, at about triple the price.

        7 Replies
        1. re: rumbum

          Did you go to the new UWS location? I tried it a few days after opening and have to agree with you re: atmosphere (far too loud) and the duck (horribly, horribly sweet) and the tiny, pricey portions. However, I enjoyed my fatty pork belly. I didn't find it similar in taste to the duck, and loved the texture -- crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. The scallop skewers were also decent.

          The same person who owns Cabrito owns the Fatty Crab restaurants, as well. He seems to envision his establishments as primarily hip, loud, cocktail-centric watering holes that also, incidentally, serve gringoized "ethnic" food on the side. The food isn't awful, and occasionally you find a nice surprise on the menu. But I think I'm too old and unhip to properly appreciate the appeal. Esp. at these prices, I want to go somewhere where the food is the focus.

          1. re: cimui

            cimui: "too old and unhip'? Surely not.
            We were just at the UWS location-first, I hate the "food comes out when it's ready" idea--no pacing, just food piled on the too-small tables (with very uncomfortable seats). The green mango with chili-sugar-salt-four slices of crunchy mango with a small dipping bowl of, well, chili-sugar-salt. Steamed pork buns - 2 for $9, were decent, but not much meat. Wonton Mee - 4 wontons, dried noodles on the side - pretty dull. The one winner was lo si fun -tasty (a little salty), filling, very nice.
            We were there early, and were out within about 1:15...not a relaxed experience.
            I found the waitstaff pleasant, and if someone else wanted to go I would return, but it won't be on my suggestion.

            1. re: David W

              I've never been to either location of Fatty Crab, but "food comes out when it's ready" is totally standard at Chinese and Malaysian restaurants - here and in Malaysia.

            2. re: cimui

              i dont think the atmosphere is the focus at fatty crab, there isnt much of that, at least at the one on Hudson st. its very small with a few tables outside.. The food though is just OK IMHO. some of the sauces are too thick and sweet,,,, I think its supposed to be Malaysian but no comparison to Laut which is authentic Malaysian

              1. re: cimui

                I love the UWS location. If you know what to get. The mussels are great and a good value too!! What I like most about the place is the clientele, I sit and converse with a wide range of people, all ages and professions.
                What I don't understand is how a Malaysian restaurant with American influence where the waiters wear t shirts, the tables do not have tablecloths and the food comes out when ready achieved 2 stars from Frank Bruni??????

                1. re: ChefPeter

                  I'll try the shellfish sometime and would love to hear about your other suggestions, Chef! A few of my friends really like the place, so I keep having to go back.

                  Bruni is pretty fair, I think, in distribution of stars to casual restaurants, not just white tablecloth establishments. (I think Cabrito received two Bruni stars, too.) But what I can't figure out is how the food earned two stars -- and I *like* fatty everything.

                  1. re: ChefPeter

                    There are a few other 2-stars that are non-traditional in terms of setup, for example: momofuku ssam has 2 stars, and it's basically the same principle in terms of "food comes out when it's ready' and the watiers wear t-shirts... Bruni has also given 2 stars to Szechuan Gourmet and Spicy and Tasty... so there's some precedent. I appreciate that critics in the U.S. are more willing to give out higher ratings based on food alone - good for Bruni.

                    Personally I agree with you re: the UWS location. I avoided the MPD one for years because I assumed it would be a mess, and I heard a lot of complaints on this board that just going out and getting Malaysian food from a Malaysian restaurant was much better. I'm no expert in Malaysian food, so I can't comment on that, but when I finally went to the UWS location, I enjoyed the dishes. Although they were undoubtedly not authentic, I didn't find them to have the usual "dumbing down" tricks for the American palette that I can't stand, like removing all traces of spice and substituting gobs of sugar. I went on a Friday night. I don't recall it being particularly loud, and the tables were well spaced apart.

                    At minimum, the UWS Fatty Crab is a hell of a lot quieter than Cabrito. Just went there and wow, THAT is a serious noise level. The goat belly taco there is pretty darned good, though.

              2. I say NO NO NO
                #1 Music way too loud and bad selection of tunes. Radio Head, I think not.
                #2 The service was fine though questionable about what they wear. backwards baseball cap, ugly graphic tees, man capri shorts and unwavering stupidity.
                #3 Chinese Broccoli OMFG it was inedible. I don't know where or how the kitchen learned to add soy to salted fermented fish and broccoli. I could've dropped this uber small bowl of overpriced thinly sliced (Should never be thin) nastiness into my tub and floated on top without ever getting wet. There was so much salt it wouldn't surprise me if they were chronic users of Zicam and lost all sense of taste.
                #4 Chicken Wings: It was ok at best, nothing much to complain about
                #5 Mussels: My favorite of the night though again nothing too special. Nothing complex but at least it was enjoyable
                #6 Clay Pot Chicken: Fairly generic! Chinatown runs circles around this.
                #7 Rice: Normal rice but why was it short grain Japanese rice?
                It was dry most likely because it was sitting around since lunch time.
                #8 Coconut Rice: We thought it would be nice to have some more rice with the remainder of the clay pot and mussels but what arrived was overcooked Jasmine with coconut milk and sugar. I'm starting to think that the chef has never been to Asia and also again freebasing Zicam in the back. It was dessert rice, way too sweet for any pairing with any entree. It's as if if i served my guest Ice Cream on top of a grilled steak.
                I would like to see this place disappear! Come on it's not that hard to make a good tasty meal unless you are the cooks at Fatty Crab DT.

                1 Reply
                1. Have never been but this is a place i am fairly certain i would loathe in each and every way...

                  1. Ate there a few weeks ago. Chili Crab was OK but nothing special, the Fatty Tea sandwiches had no taste and the Nasi Goreng was pretty bad, cold and salty. Ate there with an Indonesian Chinese friend who lived in Singapore for several years. In their view, not very good.

                    1. Went for dinner and enjoyed the food. Sat at the bar. The bartender was so annoying trying to make jokes. When explaining the dish where something needed to be mixed together or eaten together as he was explaining he actually took my spoon and did it for me.. Saw him do the same thing to the people next to me. I was like hands of my spoon I think I know how to eat. That was weird.

                      1 Reply
                      1. I was at the UWS location. Thought it was crap. a few interesting dishes like the hot dog, but found they substituted spice for skill. I like hot but this was all out of balance and one noodle dish was gluey

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: msny98

                          I went back to FC , its been awhile.. Anyway , had the pork belly sandwich, suprising that a Malaysian place has pork , the pork was good but I'd rather have my pork belly ,hot or at least warm. The shrimp roll was pretty good, a good substitute for Mary;s lobster roll ( i know lobster and shrimp not the same ) but it reminded me of it. The peppered mussels were good at first , you do get alot of them and the broth is flavorful , but they use so many black peppercorns it is overpowering and after a while just too much pepper. The fish fry , was catfish and ok, not great but the rice with it had a good sauce, Filipino in taste. and they had good shrimp paste on the table with a good assortment of beer. Funny all the waiters recommend Sing Ha beer, which is Ok, although in thailand Chang is preferred.. I had a St Miguel and a Beer Lau both of which I like better than Sing Ha

                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                            It's not surprising for a Malaysian place in New York to have pork, because very few of the Malaysian restaurants are run by Muslims here; almost all of the ones that are actually run by Malaysians are run by Chinese Malaysians, who eat plenty of pork.

                            1. re: Pan

                              thanks Pan, I do know that Laut is owned and run by Chinese Malaysians ,,

                              1. re: foodwhisperer

                                That's interesting. The waitstaff I met there were a Malay and a Pribumi Indonesian.

                          2. re: msny98

                            I agree on the UWS location being crap (haven't been downtown), starting with the annoying hipster waiter trying to upsell me on the number of dishes to order, who fronted the fact that dishes come out as they're ready and in no particular order as something cool and casual... so what you're saying is you prefer to let your kitchen be sloppy to increase output and turnover and that's a good thing? On to the food which was OK, but not worth the hype or the money. Pork buns OK... but for the price I'll go to Ssam bar and have way more interesting food better prepared any day.