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Feb 7, 2012 11:33 AM

Live Dungeness at Ranch 99 (Mountain View)

After my experience eating dungeness at Yuet Lee, I got inspired and bought the live dungeness at Ranch 99 for $4.99 / lb. While pretty good, I found the crab to be a bit "light". As in the meat wasn't as densely packed and when you ate the clusters, the ratio of meat to shell was a lot lower than what I had at Yuet Lee.

For the crab experts out there, why is that? Is it just end of the season and the crabs are losing mass? Or is it just the Ranch crabs are lower quality or have been sitting in the tanks for awhile and lose mass?

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  1. Once crab leave the ocean they start losing body mass. If they came from Oregon or Washington (they could have) that means more travel time more lost body mass. Could also just be the end of the local season and the crabs are smaller...or sitting in tanks longer.

    The idea of getting a "lively" crab might be based on something, i.e., if they're feisty they're likely fresher and thus meatier.

    p.s. like a sandwich, some foods are better served by others...could be the case with crab.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ML8000

      As ML8000 stated, the crabs don't eat after their caught (unless they eat each other), so they'll be losing weight and mass sitting in those stale water tanks.

      In addition, the pots aren't stuffed with the jumbo sized ones from the beginning of the season. Many commercial crabbers locally have pulled their gear since it's not worth the fuel/labor/bait costs to pull up pots with only a half dozen or fewer legal crabs per pot.

      1. re: ML8000

        what sucks is the crab was very "lively". kicking and screaming (i kid), but you get the idea. so i was super excited about eating it. but while it was good, the volume was a bit of a letdown. i'm think it has somethign to do with the travel time / time in the tank.

      2. I came home from 99 Ranch last month with several large crabs -- and they were fabulous. Everyone at the dinner table was thrilled.

        I think it's the end of the season for local crab.

        2 Replies
        1. re: escargot3

          I also thought the local crabs were winding down, but on a recent visit to Monterey Fish, the fishmonger said we get local crab all the way through June (when the season technically ends). He said the supply is not as reliable as the season wears on and some weeks they won't have any but that it's not really over until then. Their prices were decent: $5.99 for live, $6.49 for cooked, all over 2 lbs and very lively when I last bought them in Jan. He said that the prices don't go way up either, but I've never checked much beyond Feb. MF are really good about sourcing their seafood locally, but not every place will do the same, so it's very likely that crab from elsewhere will be among us.

          1. re: rubadubgdub

            i'll have to try again. sounds like i may have just gotten a "bad" one...