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Where to get Soft Shell Crabs

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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  1. 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. 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

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: bobot

            nice. I'll be at Craigie tonight.

          2. 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

              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

                Try giving Burkes in N. Quincy a call.

              2. 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

                  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. 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

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

                  2. Saveneurs had some last weekend.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jjbourgeois

                      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

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

                        1. re: rknrll

                          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

                            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. 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: Taralli

                          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

                            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.

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

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


                          1. 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

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

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

                              1. 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

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

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: terrystu

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

                                          253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

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



                                          1. 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

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

                                            2. 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. 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. 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. 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

                                                      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

                                                        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

                                                          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

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

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

                                                      1. 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

                                                          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

                                                            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

                                                              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. 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

                                                                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.