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Where to get Soft Shell Crabs

CanIHaveABite Apr 30, 2010 06:22 AM

I saw Hamersley's has a Soft Shell app on the menu. Any other restaurants have them yet? Also, what stores usually sell them? Thanks.

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    rknrll RE: CanIHaveABite Apr 30, 2010 06:27 AM

    Last summer, Courthouse Seafood had them constantly. Huge sign in the window advertising them.
    New Deal down the street would get them every couple days but sell out pretty quickly. I believe they were $1/ea more at New Deal, but they were also usually larger.

    If you call New Deal, Carl will be most helpful and probably be able to give you a time frame.

    1. 9
      9lives RE: CanIHaveABite Apr 30, 2010 06:30 AM

      Hamersley's is doing well to have them so early. I'm in Beaufort Cty, SC and they have a 2 week season that ends today and I've had a lot of them; but it's a small fishery and not much gets shipped from the immediate area.

      The larger VA/MD season starts in a few week. Lots of restaurants will serve them. Peach Farm does a great spicy fried version.

      The better fish markets will all have them, New Deal, Courthouse, Mardens, Concord Prime and mercato de Mare come to mind but I'm sure there are others.

      Peach Farm
      4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

      1 Reply
      1. re: 9lives
        barleywino RE: 9lives Apr 30, 2010 07:35 AM

        had one at Scampo the other day but it wasn't as crispy as hoped...Prezza will have them too but not sure when they start

        215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

      2. Joanie RE: CanIHaveABite Apr 30, 2010 06:59 AM

        This was on Daily Candy yesterday:

        Celebration of Soft-Shell Crabs at 51 Lincoln
        What: Chef Jeff Fournier fetes the limited-edition crustacean with a different recipe for each day in May (crabs arrive daily from Maryland).
        Why: Dishes ($12-$28) range from no frills (Old Bay-seasoned crab, fries, drawn butter) to avant-garde (soft-shell mac ’n’ cheese).
        When: Thru May 30. Sun.-Wed., 5-10 p.m.; Thurs., 5-10:30 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 5-11 p.m. 
        Where: 51 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands (617-965-3100).

        51 Lincoln
        51 Lincoln Street, Newton, MA 02461

        1. b
          bobot RE: CanIHaveABite Apr 30, 2010 08:33 AM

          Saw on Twitter that Craigie St. will have them on the tasting menu tonight

          1 Reply
          1. re: bobot
            rchudy RE: bobot Apr 30, 2010 09:15 AM

            nice. I'll be at Craigie tonight.

          2. a
            AlisaAAM RE: CanIHaveABite May 4, 2010 07:26 AM

            Does anyone know of a fishmonger or store on the South Shore to get soft-shells? I work in Cohasset and live in Milton, so a trip over to Cambridge just for soft shells is a tad out of the way for me. I'm willing to make the trip if needed for these delicious crustaceans, but something closer would be great.

            2 Replies
            1. re: AlisaAAM
              9lives RE: AlisaAAM May 4, 2010 07:44 AM

              You have an excellent fish market in Scituate, Mullaney's. They may have a second store in Cohasset. I'd give them a call and see when/if they have them.

              1. re: AlisaAAM
                Pegmeister RE: AlisaAAM May 5, 2010 05:07 AM

                Try giving Burkes in N. Quincy a call.

              2. rebs RE: CanIHaveABite May 4, 2010 08:44 AM

                I haven't looked around yet, but I know New Deal has them every season.

                As far as restaurants, I second Peach Farm. Also, a couple of years ago I went to Bernard's at the Chestnut Hill Mall for a quick bite after shopping and was pleasantly surprised that they had a special of soft shell crab that day. 2 HUGE fried, juicy delicious soft shells. Bernard's doesn't normally wow me, but I still think about this dish and my mouth waters.

                Peach Farm
                4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

                1 Reply
                1. re: rebs
                  emilief RE: rebs May 4, 2010 10:29 AM

                  We were at Bernards Sunday and they had soft shell crabs- 2 big crispy juicy crabs. I usually do not like these critters but once I took a bite I couldn't stop eating.

                2. n
                  nickls RE: CanIHaveABite May 4, 2010 11:37 AM

                  I had a soft shell appetizer special at East Coast Grill on Friday. It was about $13 for one crab. The waiter said it was great and I agreed. He also said you could get two as an entree if you wanted.

                  East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
                  1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nickls
                    Parsnipity RE: nickls May 8, 2010 03:27 PM

                    PIzzeria Posto in Davis had basically the identical app/entree special and pricing on Friday. Good, not great.

                  2. j
                    jjbourgeois RE: CanIHaveABite May 5, 2010 05:46 AM

                    Saveneurs had some last weekend.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jjbourgeois
                      steinpilz RE: jjbourgeois Jun 21, 2010 03:53 PM

                      The freshest soft shell crabs I've ever bought were from Savenors, after taking them home and waiting a few hours before cooking they still twitched when put in the pan.

                      1. re: steinpilz
                        rknrll RE: steinpilz Jun 21, 2010 10:38 PM

                        Did you forget to cut their faces off?
                        Never had one moving after that.

                        1. re: rknrll
                          rebs RE: rknrll Jun 22, 2010 01:39 PM

                          I was wondering the same thing. The cleaning of soft shell crabs involves removing all the innards and furry lung pieces and cutting the faces off. I can't imagine anything would survive after that, no matter how fresh!

                          1. re: rebs
                            steinpilz RE: rebs Jun 22, 2010 03:53 PM

                            I'm pretty sure that Savenors did this, I would it they hadn't and I wouldn eat one ifi t hadn't been done. On the onther hand this was a year or two ago and it's a possibility, but also, the nervous system remains intact in the rest of the crab even after the brain is removed. (sort of like a "pithed" frog).

                    2. q
                      qianning RE: CanIHaveABite May 5, 2010 06:07 AM

                      we got some from courthouse last week. i think they've been getting them in for about two weeks now, not sure how long the season lasts.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: qianning
                        Taralli RE: qianning May 5, 2010 09:57 AM

                        How large were they?

                        1. re: Taralli
                          qianning RE: Taralli May 5, 2010 12:02 PM

                          have to admit i didn't weigh them, and i'm a novice at home cooking soft shell crab, that said, my guestimate is that the carapice was 5" across at the widest. that is definitely a guess, and only based on memory from four/five days ago....so take it with a large grain of salt. they were delicious, absolutely fresh tasting in terms of meat and tamale.

                          1. re: qianning
                            shirshir RE: qianning Jun 15, 2010 01:32 PM

                            i just bought a couple soft shell crabs at courthouse seafood on saturday. they look like they had quite a bit. they sell them at two price points, $5 each for the smaller, and $6 for the larger. they clean them for you too. and boy are they delicious.

                            anyone have any good soft shell crab recipes? i only know of pan frying them after coating them with corn starch and pepper.

                      2. BobB RE: CanIHaveABite May 5, 2010 06:19 AM

                        Saw them in the window at Wulf's in Brookline a couple of days ago.

                        1. Joanie RE: CanIHaveABite May 5, 2010 06:43 AM

                          Damn, already missed the shoftshell BLT w/ basil aioli and spiced chips.


                          1. ipsofatso RE: CanIHaveABite May 5, 2010 07:07 AM

                            Had the salt and pepper softshells at Su Changs in Peabody....perfect Chinatown replica! A+ Usually Connolly's in Gloucester has them as does Rowands in Beverly.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ipsofatso
                              Vanderjane RE: ipsofatso May 5, 2010 09:43 AM

                              Legal Seafoods at the Pru had a special on soft shell sandwich today.

                            2. a
                              AlisaAAM RE: CanIHaveABite May 5, 2010 02:42 PM

                              Just picked some up at Rockyneck Fish at the Fruit Center in Milton!

                              1. greenzebra RE: CanIHaveABite May 5, 2010 05:37 PM

                                Anyone seen anywhere in Cambridge serving them for lunch? Have a craving but don't have time to travel downtown for lunch this week.

                                EDIT: Preferably in or near Harvard Square.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: greenzebra
                                  litchick RE: greenzebra May 25, 2010 07:05 AM

                                  Plough and Stars had soft shell sandwiches on special last week, but they run out early. Don't know if they'll have them this week, but it might be worth a call to check.

                                2. r
                                  rknrll RE: CanIHaveABite May 5, 2010 07:24 PM

                                  They are in at New Deal according to their facebook page. I'm going to get a couple tomorrow.

                                  Also had one tonight at the Plough and Stars. Small, but delicious. Came with a sort of raw onion/pepper salad. 10 bones.

                                  1. hotoynoodle RE: CanIHaveABite May 6, 2010 10:05 AM

                                    clio does an amazing soft-shell, but not sure if he's getting them yet.

                                    had a surprisingly good version at ltk last week.

                                    1. s
                                      snifflyfro RE: CanIHaveABite May 7, 2010 10:30 PM

                                      On May 5 I got an email alert from Mercato del Mare in the North End letting me know they have soft shell crabs.

                                      1. t
                                        terrystu RE: CanIHaveABite May 8, 2010 10:45 AM

                                        Bernard's has the best SSC I've had outside of NYC Chinatown. A tad pricey, but worth it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: terrystu
                                          twentyoystahs RE: terrystu May 8, 2010 12:19 PM

                                          Had a delicious soft shell app last night at Coppa. Mmmmmm.

                                          253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                                        2. okra RE: CanIHaveABite May 24, 2010 06:27 AM

                                          The Roche Brothers ad has
                                          Foley’s Fresh Maryland Soft Shell Crab



                                          1. s
                                            SmartChow RE: CanIHaveABite May 24, 2010 09:38 AM

                                            Outside Chinatown, a lot of Japanese/sushi, Vietnamese or Thai places have fabulous soft-shell crab. I had a good experiences at New Ginza in Watertown, Victoria's on Comm. Ave. in Brighton, Pho and Rie on Beacon Street in Somerville and Yoshi's in Powder House Square, Somerville. But not as good as Peach Farm in C'town!
                                            You can sometimes buy them fresh and raw at Super 88 or H-Mart stores.

                                            Peach Farm
                                            4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

                                            New Ginza
                                            Watertown, MA, Watertown, MA

                                            3 Old Concord Rd, Burlington, MA 01803

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: SmartChow
                                              hotoynoodle RE: SmartChow Jun 22, 2010 12:16 PM

                                              most of these asian places use frozen, which is why they have them all year long.

                                            2. s
                                              Splendid Spatula RE: CanIHaveABite May 24, 2010 09:40 AM

                                              Bought jumbos at New Deal this weekend. $6.99 each, I think? Fried 'em up, served on homemade baguette with lemon-chive aioli and arugula. yum

                                              1. n
                                                nightsky RE: CanIHaveABite Jun 13, 2010 04:00 PM

                                                I had a fantastic soft shell crab entree at Coda. And they again have Racer 5 IPA on tap, which is a perfect match for it. I highly recommend both.

                                                1. e
                                                  EllenMM RE: CanIHaveABite Jun 13, 2010 07:13 PM

                                                  Had excellent ones at "Out of the Blue" in Davis Sq. There were 3 med-small ones, served with a nice warm arugula tomato vinaigrette salad over grilled focaccia - $23.

                                                  1. litchick RE: CanIHaveABite Jun 14, 2010 05:27 AM

                                                    Right now, Toraya in Arlington has one of the best soft shell crab rolls I've ever had. The crab itself is super fresh, and has a crispy, lightly fried outer layer for the crab, while remaining very moist and juicy inside. It's also nice and big. No skimping here. The roll runs about $8.95 if I recall correctly.

                                                    (The soft shell crab can come as an app, if you prefer, without the roll)

                                                    Toraya Restaurant
                                                    890 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: litchick
                                                      cambridgedoctpr RE: litchick Jun 14, 2010 03:03 PM

                                                      alive and kicking seafood in cambridge, near river street, usually has soft-shell crabs, which are alive and lively though their supply ran out on saturday when i called. they cost 4.95 per crab, and they will clean them for you.

                                                      they are quite easy to prepare at home.

                                                      1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                                                        Northender RE: cambridgedoctpr Jun 14, 2010 04:46 PM

                                                        wow good deal, I just got 2 (cleaned) at Mercato de Mare in the North End for $12.95 - thought I had a deal! now, just have to cook 'em without messing up!

                                                        1. re: Northender
                                                          9lives RE: Northender Jun 14, 2010 06:11 PM

                                                          Billy Tse's had a very good tempura fried version last week. Jumbo crab.

                                                          For diy, just sautee in butter and garlic maybe dust with flour..add a little white wine

                                                          I rarely deep fry at home.

                                                          Billy Tse's
                                                          240 Commercial St Lbby 1, Boston, MA 02109

                                                          1. re: 9lives
                                                            Northender RE: 9lives Jun 15, 2010 07:57 AM

                                                            Thanks, that is how I did it but for once, I left out the garlic since I spoiled myself with the butter!

                                                    2. e
                                                      emilief RE: CanIHaveABite Jun 14, 2010 04:28 PM

                                                      Had soft shell crab last night at Bernard's. Delicious.

                                                      1. p
                                                        Pegmeister RE: CanIHaveABite Jun 15, 2010 05:13 PM

                                                        Okay, last year was the first time I tried soft shell crabs. Since I had never had them I figured Neptune would probably do a good job with the prep. What I experienced was a nicely crisp exterior with a really mushy center and while the flavor was good, the texture was difficult for me. I'm tempted to try again because now I know more what to expect, but I'm wondering if you have a tempura fried crab will you still have that mushy interior? Maybe this just isn't my dish?

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Pegmeister
                                                          9lives RE: Pegmeister Jun 15, 2010 06:01 PM

                                                          Tempura fried also gives that "mushy" texture. Mostly the roe/tomalley

                                                          Maybe try it once more and of you still don't like it, pass in the future. I happen to enjoy them but there's plenty of people that don't. Like you said, Maybe this just isn't my dish," and there's no harm in that.

                                                          You gave them a try..Most people don't like to eat everything..:)

                                                          1. re: Pegmeister
                                                            barleywino RE: Pegmeister Jun 15, 2010 06:28 PM

                                                            i wonder whether the ones you had at Neptune could have been frozen rather than fresh? Fresh should have a white moist meaty center, while frozen tends to be mushy (ugh) Best to ask ahead of time (and pass on it if they don't give you a straight answer) PS. try the version at Rialto sometime if you get a chance

                                                            1. re: Pegmeister
                                                              pasuga RE: Pegmeister Jun 21, 2010 07:40 PM

                                                              I've cooked them myself and had them at restaurants, they've always have a slightly to majorly crunchy exterior and a soft interior. I wouldn't call it mushy, but can see how it could come off that way. Texture is different things to different people. So this really might not be your dish.

                                                              I don't like them fried so much, which makes the shells get harder, just gently sauteed and served with lemon and butter, so the shells aren't such a contrast.

                                                            2. j
                                                              jspearjr RE: CanIHaveABite Jun 21, 2010 07:45 AM

                                                              When to get them. I will be in Boston from the 12th to the 18th of August. I seem to remember that soft shell season ends in July, but I am not certain.

                                                              So any one know if there will be soft shell in August??? I have had enough of midwest lake fish and need some real seafood.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: jspearjr
                                                                cambridgedoctpr RE: jspearjr Jun 22, 2010 11:57 AM

                                                                by the way, i would cook them myself as described earlier, frying them, though i like to add some cayenne pepper. i already mentioned that you can buy them cheaply at Alive and Kicking Seafood located on Putnam Street in Cambridge. They also have a good but not cheap lobster sandwhich.

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