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Apr 8, 2010 08:33 AM

Dungeness in Houston?

All this talk of crabs has me thinking of one I've never really understood the appeal of - Dungeness. I love King and Snow crab which are not from the Gulf, but Dungeness --- I've only had it a couple of times, tried to fix it at home and once at a restaurant, though I can't remember which one. Friends in the PNW rave about it but I haven't experienced anything great. So there it is on the menu of that place in El Campo I mentioned in a thread on the TX board. Would I order Dungeness in El Campo? I don't think so, particularly since it's a crawfish farm. But are there any places in Houston that offer it? And what's the dish to go for or what's the best prep if I buy it at a market? Or should I just forego Dungeness in Houston?

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  1. I had it once at Joe's Crab Shack about 8-9 years ago or so. It wasn't bad although the crab was fairly small. Normally I would never order it around here but sometimes you get lucky and that day I wanted it bad enough to give it a try.

    When we are in Tofino, BC or on the San Juan Islands, I eat dungeness every meal. A whole crab, salad and bread will run about $18-$25 at lunch. But I'm talking big crabs, not like the anorexic one at Joe's. I'm not so worried about the size when I order, it's more important that it's not overcooked.

    The taste is not as great as a blue crab but there's so much meat in the dungeness that one crab is all you need. In Tofino, some places will offer 1/2 crab at lunch and I've had that and it was plenty.

    I would forego it in Houston, hop a plane to Seattle, and then a ferry to Friday Harbor. Exit the ferry, head straight up the hill to Friday's Crabhouse and try one. It's the first thing I do when driving off the ferry.

    The best ones I ever had were given to me by a property manager in exchange for some fresh halibut and salmon that we had caught the day before in Tahsis, BC. We pulled into our cabin on San Juan Island and I pulled her out about 10# of fresh fish and later that afternoon she brought me two huge steamed dungeness crabs she'd caught that day in False Bay (the west side of San Juan Island). Yum!!

    2 Replies
    1. re: texasredtop

      Sounds like something I need to put on my Bucket List. I'll skip taking a chance on Joe's Crab Shack. As I recall, the one I tried at home was rather mushy, which I thought was not my fault, but the other one, yeah, I thought it wasn't as good as Blue so I wondered what all the raves were about.

      1. re: dexmat

        Well, I love all crab and while it's not quite as good as blue crab, what really is? :-)

        It's still very good. But I never had a mushy one. I could eat about 20 blues compared to one dungeness. So it's a lot easier to mess with.

        Check with the PNW board, I bet they'll have some tips about cooking them yourself. One place in Tofino would steam them in a small contraption about the size of a toaster oven. I'm not sure if boiling them is the way to go or not.

    2. I just remembered where I had some delicious dungeness crab. I know it's hard to believe but it was at L'Auberge in Lake Charles on a Friday night seafood buffet. It was about 5 years ago so I wouldn't know if it's still any good. But I was shocked at the size of the crabs and at the excellent preparation. It's hard to find that in casino buffets.

      1. I found it a few years back at Hong Kong Market in Houston...fresh from British Columbia...alive and fact it almost gave my sister's dog a heart attack when it refused to go in the pot!!

        Hong Kong Cafe
        9108 Bellaire Blvd Ste A, Houston, TX 77036

        2 Replies
        1. re: geegeeTX

          Thanks. I'll keep that in mind and maybe try this again.

          1. re: dexmat

            Central Market has them live.

            They're good, but having grown up near the Chesapeake, I'm a blue crab snob.