Steamed Crab Legs in Santa Cruz?
Alright, so we went to Stagnaro's last night, and it was quite good! I We ordered the seared ahi tuna appetizer, I ordered the crab louis salad, and my boyfriend ordered the cioppino. With 1 coffee and 1 hot tea, the total with tax + tip was $80.
We were seated in the upstairs "lounge" area, which at 7:00 on a Tuesday night was damn near deserted. By the time we were leaving (around 8:10), they were obviously cleaning up for the night and nobody else was sitting up there! I had no idea things quieted down so early on weeknights. The downstairs was packed when we got there, and still pretty full when we left.
I'd read on yelp that being relegated to the upstairs meant poor service, but our waitress was great. Not overly intrusive, but always there at the right time. And when we needed our check, it was there and back in a flash.
The ahi appetizer had nice, fresh fish with supple texture -- much better quality and better sesoned than the ahi they use in the seared tuna salad at the Crow's Nest. It was spicy, with a chopped salad of green onions, celery, cabbage, carrots, and [I think sunflower, maybe pea] sprouts underneath.
Boyfriend went nuts over the cioppino (market price for crab legs was about $30 and I think he felt bad about ordering the most $$$ thing on the menu since I was taking him out, plus he loves cioppino anyway), and he also loved the warm, complimentary sourdough rolls. He had good reason -- I tried a scallop, a piece of calamari, and some of the soup, and it was wonderful! The seafood was all perfectly cooked, nothing was rubbery, and the soup had a real depth of flavor and lovely smooth texture. Absolutely great.
My louie salad had a very generous amount of crab on top (probably 8 oz), obviously fresh, but I ran into pieces of shell a little more often than I would have liked. The beets were of the canned shredded variety, and I pushed those aside. Ate the slices of cucumber, which were good, but didn't even manage to get to the tomatoes before I admitted defeat -- that salad is enormous. The iceberg could've been dried a bit more thoroughly as well. So ok, the louie wasn't perfect, but it certainly was huge! If we go back I think I'll try something other than salad and salady appetizers, but what can I say I'm on a diet.
So, things learned for next time -- order something other than a salad, try to get seated downstairs (not because of any service problems, but it's deserted up there!), and ask about the specials. $80 is really steep for the two of us for dinner (I did tip 20%), without alcoholic drinks, so we probably won't be back for a while.
Have you been yet, Carb Lover?
Much thanks for the detailed report, operagirl! No, I still haven't been, although your positive report of the cioppino encourages me to go on Mon. night soon when it's on special for $10.95. Too bad your boyfriend didn't go for the crab legs, but I can see them being pricey. I think they may sell them at their seafood stand outside a la carte, so that might be the economical, no frills way to go.
I noticed in yesterday's Metro that lots of restaurants seem to be advertising weeknight specials. For instance, 515 in downtown has Wed. all-you-can-eat mussels and frites night for $11. That w/ one of their beers sounds mighty tasty...
It sounds like you want snow or king crab legs?
I just was down at the wharf this past weekend. It pretty much looks to be the same tourist trappings; however, I'm interested in checking out Stagnaro's again since their upper floor was remodeled and they have $10.95 dinner specials from M-Th to attract more locals now that tourist season is over. I believe they have steamed crab legs of some kind, although I can't vouch for the quality. Give it a try though; we might get surprised!
We'll probably go on Mon. night to try their cioppino for $10.95. Please report back wherever you end up.