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Nov 4, 2008 09:18 AM

Crab with a "K"

I attended a luncheon with my co-workers at a local pub type restaurant. I ordered "Crab" (the way it was spelled) nachos and I specifically asked the waitress if they were made with real crab meat, as they were a somewhat more expensive menu item. She enthusiastically asssured me they were. Well imagine my surprise when I was served nachos with "Krab" pieces red dye and all. I politely informed the waitress that this was not what I wanted. She did not understand my complaint and my co-workers looked at me like I was the biggest B!@%^ in the world. Shouldn't restaurants be required to use real seafood in lieu of the fake stuff? And if they do use "Krab" shouldn't they note it on the menu and charge less? Was I wrong to return it??!!

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  1. Having lived in MD my whole life, this is the exact reason I will not order anything with "crab" in it when travelling outside of the state. I laugh when I see "MD crabcakes" in other states. When my sister almost ordered them once, I reminded her where we were. She was like "Oh that's right, I forgot." lol.

    You were not wrong for returning it, but I'm not suprised the waitress didn't understand the difference. If you've never had real crabmeat, you have nothing to compare it to.

    2 Replies
    1. re: carey24

      Having also grown up in MD (and with my wife from Baltimore), I will absolutely agree that there are great crabcakes to be had in MD. But There also tons of pretenders that just play off the fact that they are in Maryland, so they must be Maryland crabcakes. OFten they are horrible. By the same token, while a bit more rare, I have had really great blue crab cakes outside of Maryland (a few in NJ, NY, etc.). To be honest, I base a lot on what is being charged. If you see two large crabcakes for 11.95, you can be sure they will be awful. Of course a price of $30 doesn't guarantee success, but it's a realistic price.

      1. re: bnemes3343

        I wouldn't be surprised if it weren't illegal to sell Krab as actual crab in Maryland. And I really cannot imagine the reaction they'd get from a Marylander when they were presented with Krab when the menu stated Crab.

        Remember all the trouble Phillips Seafood restaurants got in for claiming to serve local or fresh crab when it was actually pasteurized blue crab from the Phillipines and Thailand? I've had some great crabcakes out of state & some horrible ones in Maryland, too.

        BTW, sounds like the OPer was using your pricing guide to determine quality and she still got Krab!

    2. You were entirely in the right. No question at all.

      Your question about whether restaurants should be required to use real seafood is different. In this case, you asked and were misinformed by the restaurant. If they put "crab" on the menu then it should be the real thing. If you ask and are told its the real thing, then it should certainly be the real thing. But, they are free to put whatever they like on the menu and charge what they wish for it. They are not free to tell you its something else and hold you to it once you discover that it is, in fact, not the genuine article.

      1. You were in the right 100%, restaurants should identify if a menu item is made with Krab.

        I find Krab to be disgusting.

        1. I suspect in this particular case the waitress either didn't know the difference or didn't care, possibly both. However, if someone really wants to be deceptive, you need to be careful how you ask the question. The surimi imitation crab does apparently contain some real crab meat, the rest being processed fish. So "Are these nachos made with real crab" can truthfully be answered "yes" even though that's clearly not what you're asking. Also, surimi is in fact "seafood" although the "real" part is certainly debatable.

          That said, you were right to ask in the first place, right to complain about what you got, and right to return it, IMHO.

          4 Replies
          1. re: FlyFish

            Most surimi I've seen doesn't have any crab meat in it at all, just pollack or other whitefish.

            1. re: Humbucker

              I certainly agree about surimi in general, but it's my understanding that the imitation crab surimi-based products usually contain some real crab, a very minimal amount (maybe just some sort of extracted crab flavor?) in the cheaper brands and somewhat more in the more expensive ones. Regardless, they shouldn't be selling it as "crab."

            2. re: FlyFish

              The appropriate question should be, "is this some bleached fish alternative with appropriate dyes, or is this actually 100% crabmeat?" Obviously, the majority of CH folk cannot tell the difference and that anyting is fair game. This is my opinon based on earlier threads on this very subject. Now, I, who have a knowledge of the two very different substances, feel otherwise, but the masses (who must enjoy Denny's Grand Slam Breakfast) seem to have the majority vote on this. For me, if it is not 100% crab (blue, king or otherwise), it is not CRAB, and anyone who serves the other variations should be hanged.

              Color me biased,


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                And tarred and feathered! I will not touch anything spelled with a K...
                As to your comment that most do not know, I am surprised.

                I would not be surprised if it had crab flavoring in it. "Lets boil all that crab shell detritus and flavor whitefish with the essence from it". "And streak it with some red food coloring". Yum Yes, I see surimi is flavored in many different ways.
                I want the "firm surimi seafood that tastes like a bicycle tire"....

            3. No, you were not wrong to return it. They should have told you what it was. It's dishonest and can be potentially dangerous to some individuals (eg. celiac) as immitation crab can have gluten in it.

              This story kind of worries me because I have a serious allergy to skate fish and know that many fake scallops use skate wing. I'd be pretty pissed off if I ordered scallops, asked the waitstaff if it was real scallop, and received my arch nemesis.