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Best Monmouth Co. Soft Shell crabs

It's time to introduce my young daughter to soft shell crabs. Any thoughts on where to take her for a quick local fix?

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  1. Seal - I'm not sure if you are looking for a seafood shack or a sit down restaurant. However, Drew has been serving one of the best preparations of soft shell crabs that I've had in a long time. His comes two jumbos to an order pan fried and topped with a caper brown butter sauce and over a mound of smashed potatoes.

    1. Rays in Little Silver has always done a good soft shell. You can have them fried or sauteed with white wine & garlic...

      1. What's Your Beef in Rumson has always had excellent soft shell crabs - fried or sauteed

        1. Charley's Ocean Grill in Long Branch had soft shells over linguine as a special the weekend before last. I don't remember the exact sauce, but it was excellent.

          1 Reply
          1. re: wizard2

            I thought they were only okay. Last year they were very good, served over linguine with cherry tomatoes. Same dish this year, but someone decided it was a good idea to dredge them in cornmeal instead of flour. Too bad, because the aggressive coating took away all the sweetness and subtlety of the softshells. I found them disappointing.

          2. Sallee Tee's typically has very good variations for their soft shell crab on their specials menu..

            1. A little girl’s first soft shell crab is too important an experience to trust to a real chef. This is a life moment. No sir, no table linens or fancy sauces. You need a sunny day, outdoor seating, preferably a water view.

              I’m thinking deep fried ‘til crispy, fresh hard roll, some tarter sauce, perhaps even lettuce and tomato. I’m thinking Keyport Fishery, or maybe Spike’s in Point Pleasant. (I’d call first as the full moon was last week and the availability of fresh softies may be an issue.)

              12 Replies
              1. re: MGZ

                "Spider on a bun" at the Fair Haven Fireman's Fair...

                1. re: equal_Mark

                  S'truth you tell, Mark. The sscrabs at the FH Fireman's Fair are a rite of passage. A treat of the season.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    Yummy! Keyport Fishery Soft Shell Crab Sandwich 7.99.

                      1. re: njchowgal

                        Tyvm to all for the replies - much appreciated :o)

                        1. re: seal

                          It's not my idea of a culinary experience, but since you mention she is your (how?) young daughter, why not make it just a fun afternoon out with her at that Circus Place on Route 35?

                          Please note I make this suggestion without ever having been there, but I have passed it many times and I saw it on a Food TV show once. There's also that little place in the vicinity, Mr Shrimp, for another option.

                          If I'm wrong about the quality of either place, please be gentle while throwing your punches or darts at me. Thank you.

                            1. re: fourunder

                              fourunder - No darts or punches, but the one and only time I took my kids, we tried the soft shell crab sandwich and fried chicken and both were pretty bad.

                              1. re: bgut1

                                bgut1, I'm a little too old for their theme and probably the reason why I never stopped there. I have not been back to Mr Shrimp since the days of the *nasty* prior owner, who has since passed away. No worries and I will bear that information in mind and give it a pass myself.....but really ......fried food can be bad? I never imagined the possibility that could be.

                                1. re: fourunder

                                  I, too, am surprised to hear that the food was "pretty bad." The Circus is certainly not fine dining, but I've never disliked anything I have had there. Then again, I don't think I have never been there at a busy time. Perhaps, it's the nostalgia of having gone there occassionally from childhood through middle age? Perhaps, it's the fact that it's the only place where drinking beer in my car is not frowned upon?

                                  fourunder - The Circus doesn't really have a theme - it's basically just old school carhop service with a giant menu. Leave work early, grab a date, throw a couple beers in a cooler, and try a late lunch some weekday. No one's too old for that!

                                  1. re: fourunder

                                    It was a while ago but I recall the fried chicken to be yellow and the french fries to be chalky (think bad cafeteria fries) while the soft shell crab was soggy. I left that afternoon not understanding what the fuss was about. I guess it was just the nostalgia for the place.

                      2. What about getting her a spider roll at a sushi joint?