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Mar 22, 2012 04:23 PM

Softshells in Charleston

One more reason to love spring in Chucktown: softshell crabs. I know that 17 North has them and I just got a message from Atlanticville. They'll have them tomorrow. If you're visiting, and see them as a special, do yourself a favor and indulge.

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  1. Sue,

    There is an old NJ lobsterman in town who semi-retired and moved south.I asked his opinion of SS crab Vs lobster to try to get a rise out of him.Quite the contrary,his face turned into a broad smile and he said that with your first taste of SS crab "the heavens open and the angels sing"

    Look for SS crabs on chalk boards,hastily printed menu inserts,and as specials from your server.SS crab on the regular menu is always a bad sign!

    1. Whole fried softshell crab was one of the daily specials at The Wreck last Saturday when I visited. The other was whole fried flounder.

      1. How long will the season last?

        4 Replies
        1. re: mike_d

          Hard to say. It depends on demand. Could be about a month, but sometimes they run out.

          1. re: Sue in Mt P

            Ah, well, I won't be visiting till end of April/May 1, so sounds like I'll be too late.

          2. re: mike_d

            Well, Port Royal (outside Beaufort, SC) has their annual softshell crab festival on April 21, so hopefully they'll last that long and come out of the water, not the freezer.

            Thanks for the heads up, Sue! On the agenda for this week for sure. How is 17 North overall?

            1. re: birgator

              Hey birgator!

              I've been three times and liked it a lot. There's a great patio and I really like that they have a garden right there.

              Sometimes they have special 3 courses for $30 and it's worth it. The only reason I don't go more often is the traffic. It's awful between me and them. I may go up early tomorrow night and check out their softshells. I know I'm going to A'ville this weekend too. They always do something creative without it being too too.

          3. Now I'm in real trouble.

            Here's an article from City Paper:

            I'll need a bank loan.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Sue in Mt P

              maybe you could make a little extra cash FedExing coolers of soft shells ....ahem...

              you're just trying to make me feel bad about not coming down next weekend, huh?

              1. re: danna

                we go down to a meeting every year in the middle of may for eight years running.I think we either ate them or saw them as a special most of those years.

                1. re: mollybelle

                  You might be out of luck this year. They are early, as is everything.

                  1. re: Sue in Mt P

                    Do we have any reason to believe that local oysters could shut down early this year?

            2. Was in Charleston for the day yesterday and had dinner at FIG - right now they're sporting a sauteed softshell crab main course (two full crabs plated) with pureed yukon gold potatoes, fresh local corn, tomatoes, herbs and bacon. Wow, what a great dish. I had never had softshell crab served sauteed before (the classic southern way is fried, of course). Loved the subtlety of flavors and the ability of the creamy potatoes and crunchy bacon to provide texture counterpoints. Bartender Andrew paired it with a nice petit chablis with a soft and rounded aftertaste with low acidity which brought out the sweetness of the crab nicely. Oh yeah, the buttermilk vanilla bean panna cotta with local berries was great too, as was the pickled shrimp escabeche (which I paired with a rosé txakoli aperitif).

              My wallet and waistline would be destroyed if I actually lived in Charleston...

              2 Replies
              1. re: mikeh

                Lucky you! Wonder where they came from? They morphed early this year. I've got to get back down there soon.

                1. re: mikeh

                  Softies are great off the grill, too, Mikeh. Too bad their season is coming to a close.