Soft Shell Crab sandwiches at EVOO and Upstairs on the Square
I had soft shell crab sandwiches at EVOO (on their new lunch menu) and Upstairs on the Square (Monday Club lunch menu) this week.
The sandwich at EVOO is a crisp fried crab served with a spicy tartar sauce and cole slaw on a soft bun. The crab was lightly battered and clearly cooked by someone who knows their way around a fryer: fried to a delicious golden-brown crunch. The creamy coleslaw provided a nice textual contrast, although I could have used a bit more heat in the habanero tartar sauce. Came with either fries or a side of habanero cornbread coleslaw -- I opted for the slaw, which had a nice kick. The crab was clearly fresh and pretty meaty and juicy. Overall a great sandwich, perfect with a glass of Cisco Brewery's Whale's Tale IPA.
The sandwich at Upstairs on the Square is more gently fried (described as 'corn toasted' on the menu) in a much lighter cornmeal based batter, served with yucca fries and jalapeno jam on a roll with spring greens (arugula and pea tendrils, I think). Crab was also quite fresh, and overall this is a bit more creative preparation than EVOO's version. The jalapeno jam had a very nice sweet/hot flavor that worked quite well with both the crab and the yucca fries (which were otherwise a bit undercooked and dry to my taste) -- too bad there wasn't more of it (should have asked for extra).
EVOO's sandwich is slightly cheaper ($13 vs $15), and EVOO has a much better beer list. But both were very tasty and a fine way to consume some delicious crabs.
Upstairs On the Square
91 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
350 Third Street, Cambridge, MA 02143
If you're looking for more awesome softshell crab dishes, try the softshell appetizer at Lumiere. Not a sandwich - one lightly crusted softie, juicy on the inside, on a bed of tangy cilantro-spiked carrot ribbons. I'm not doing it justice with my description but it's really, really good.
1293 Washington St., West Newton, MA 02465