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September 2011: Soft shell crab update

They're back according to my inn keep.

Looking for the best ones.

In the past I've loved Mandina's, Casamento's, R&O's in Bucktown, Luke and Captain Sal's.

Staying in the Marigny but willing to cab it, bus it or take the street car.

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Mandina's Restaurant
3800 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70119

Casamento's Restaurant
4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

Captain Sal's
1700 Louisiana Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115

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  1. The softshells at Mandina's were great. so was the Calimari.

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    Mandina's Restaurant
    3800 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70119

    11 Replies
      1. re: scrumptiouschef

        Mr. B's has 'em.

        On my way.

        Two course lunch for $20

        1. re: scrumptiouschef

          I'm pretty sure most places in NO have them year round. Galatoire's have my favorite.

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          Galatoire's Restaurant
          209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

          1. re: steakrules85

            Mr. B's delivered a plump softshell for 20 bucks. It needed seasoning but was fresh and in a good butter sauce.

            Asparagus was superfluous.

            1. re: steakrules85

              You should ask Galatoire's to sautee, not fry, them and they'll let you play with it...mushrooms, garlic etc.

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              Galatoire's Restaurant
              209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

              1. re: hazelhurst

                I've heard u say that before and I'm sure it's great also. But that fried soft shell crab topped with crabmeat menueire sauce and chopped almonds was one of the best dishes of food I've eaten anywhere!!!

                1. re: steakrules85

                  Well, get one one way and one the other.

                  There has been a real surge in frying them in recent years. Back in teh 70's and 80's sauteeing was the overwhelming choice. A friend used to decry drying as an indignity saying that you shouldn;t put a shell (even if edible) back on them. I'm told that in Baltimore, circa 1900, you could be shot for it.

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    That's something I never considered doing.... One fried one sauteed. That's something I live about Galatoires is their willing to do anything you want. But I think I may do one soft shell for appetizer and try the pompanO with crab Yvonne for entree.

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                    Galatoire's Restaurant
                    209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      On Hazelhurts rec I tried the ss crab saute' at eleven 79 last night.
                      Incredible.
                      The medium crab sat in a boozy butter sauce and was topped with lump crab.
                      Went traditional at Jack Dempsey's and got two fried with a tub of the best mac n cheese in NOLA.
                      Unreal.

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                      Jack Dempsey's Restaurant
                      738 Poland Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117

                  2. re: hazelhurst

                    Once I had sauteed I never wanted fried, except on a sandwich.

                    1. re: mrsfury

                      Actually, at home I do them meuniere. That's the best for me, but fandamily likes them fried.. Go with what you know.

          2. The best soft shell I have ever eaten was at Commander's...Irene's is a close second.

            1 Reply
            1. re: TaTee

              Jack Dempsey's on Poland Avenue has em.

              As does Eleven 79 which is convenient to Howlin Wolf

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              Jack Dempsey's Restaurant
              738 Poland Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117

            2. How long does the season last? We will be down Oct 8ish and the mister has a hankering for soft shell crabs!

              2 Replies
              1. re: t14072

                There is no local season per se. Generally, the shedding operations run as long as crabs are plentiful and the weather stays warm. This can mean an early to mid October tapering off, but frozen crabs (what most people who aren't paying fine-dining prices are getting anyway) are available through the fall months into early winter. A properly frozen crab isn't a bad thing, mind you.

                1. re: t14072

                  I went in October 2 years ago and they were on the menu everywhere. You will not have a problem at all.

                2. The best I have ever had was at Herbsaint. It isn't on the menu all the time, but was a special over a spicy cucumber salad with some kind of slightly spicy butter melted over the entire thing. I have never had a better soft shell crab that was cooked to perfection as this one was. It melted in my mouth. One of the best meals I have ever actually had.

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                  Herbsaint
                  701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

                  1. My wife just got back from NOLA, yesterday, and had fabulous softshells at Charlie's Seafood, Jefferson Hwy., in Harahan, http://www.charliesseafoodrestaurant.....

                    She wanted to try and bring a sandwich back to Phoenix for me, but decided that TSA would find some reason to confiscate it, for later that day, so I did without.

                    As she knows her softshells, if she raves, they had to be good.

                    Hunt