HOME > Chowhound > Philadelphia >


Soft shell crabs in Philly

I thought this might be a good place to post who has soft shells in town. I know that Fish has them served with ramps, kohlrabi, hedgehog mushrooms, and smoked buttermilk while Beck's at Reading Terminal Market had a soft shell po-boy special last Saturday. They have them at Under the C too. Any other spottings in the city or nearby?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I saw them on Vetri's April menu, but I guess you have to pay $135 for the privilege of trying them.

    1. Foobooz has a list:

      Becks Cajun – Soft shell po boy in creole mayo.
      Fish - Soft shell crab in tempura, with Roasted ramps, Kohlrabi, Hedgehog mushrooms, smoked buttermilk
      The Farm and Fisherman – Lightly battered in tempura
      North 3rd – Spotted earlier this week as a special.
      Silk City – Special soft shell crab BLT was a special on Monday (hasn’t been on since).
      Valanni – Soft shells, two ways for the rest of the week
      Varga Bar – Soft shell crab sandwich

      Plus a twitter hashtag listing some other places, like El Vez.

      1 Reply
      1. re: barryg

        barryg, thanks for the Twitter listing. That's great. EL Vez has them? I am shocked! Hopefully someone will have them for lunch on Saturday...

      2. I may be displaying my ignorance here, but aren't soft shell crabs in season during the summer? Or is the season starting this early?

        2 Replies
        1. re: linfr21

          Soft shells generally run from mid to late April until June when they do their thing with their shells. Maybe you are thinking of when hard shell ones are locally in season?

          1. re: linfr21

            The season starts earlier as you move south down to the Carolinas.
            You're sort of right - Maryland/NJ season probably either hasn't started yet or they're just beginning to appear. The soft shells in restaurants now are probably from well south of here.

          2. In the 'burbs - I had a wonderful "surf & surf" entree at Sycamore in Lansdowne last night - tempura softshell & sauteed shad roe. softshells & shad roe - two of the primary reasons that I love spring!
            Both were great, however they were a special so ask when you make your reservation

            1 Reply
            1. Looks like Matyson has them now as well.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Philly Ray

                It sticks that of all of these places (including Standard Tap and Oyster House) nobody served them for lunch/brunch on Saturday except for Beck's. Granted most places aren't open that time...oh well.

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  The matyson tasting menu this week features crab. The softshell crab on the menu is

                  Soft Shell Crab

                  Huitlacoche, avocado, mango, pickled chile

                  Going Wednesday.

                  1. re: cwdonald

                    CWD - please post after you have the matyson crab tasting menu. i don't think i can make it this time around, but i remembering going last year for their crab tasting menu and iirc, there were TWO fried softshell crabs for the one course, which were outstanding. i'm curious to know how this year's crab tasting menu is. thx!

                2. I meant to thank you for this last week, bluehensfan, since it was my motivation to finally get to fish. The soft shell app you mentioned was phenomenal, but we were also blown away with our other dishes.
                  Smoked buttermilk! I could eat a lot of that.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: urbanfabric

                    I'm glad you liked it urbanfabric! Hopefully one of these days I will get my soft shell fix. They are great!

                    1. re: bluehensfan

                      I tried to get them at Fish last night and they were the only thing on the menu NOT available. Such a bummer! Next time I'll call ahead.

                  2. Just saw this on Le Virtu's Facebook page:

                    Tonight's special: sauteed soft shell crab and razor clams, with white wine, ramps, capers and farro risotto...

                    yea that does sound good...

                    1. Does anywhere in Chinatown have them? I know David's has them on the menu, but David's has them on the menu all year round, so I'm skeptical...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: AgentRed

                        The places that have them all year use frozen. Nam Phuong has salt and pepper soft shells all the time too.

                        1. re: Philly Ray

                          Yeah I figured, hence the open call for fresh ones. Sang Kee usually puts a sign up in their window saying that they have them, but I'm not sure if they have yet. Might take a walk over tonight to check, but if anyone already has please fill us in!

                      2. Had delicious soft shell crabs at Heirloom last week.

                        1. Roller's in Chestnut Hill has them and, happily, doesn't deep fry them. Sauteed with butter, garlic, white wine and a few other good things. Pretty simple and delicious. Always good to call ahead to make sure they have them!

                          1. the khyber had them this past friday (in sandwich form) when i was there, just an fyi.

                            1. Had them at Cin Cin on saturday night with a Szechuan ginger dipping sauce. amazing!

                              1. Had at Bibou on Friday, were wonderful. No frying, sauteed with white wine, butter, and herbs

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                  The pan sauteed huge soft shell at Fuji's, Haddonfield had incredible saucing.
                                  Wish I could describe. Yum. And, they would have them for Saturday lunch.

                                  1. re: Bashful3

                                    Had them there Friday night. 2 for $26 as an entree with soup and salad, their dish is the standard against I measure all others. Well worth the visit.

                                2. Fond had them Tuesday night, sauteed. They looked good.

                                  1. Soft shell crab tacos at Cantina on Passyunk tonight. They were good, but not as good as the soft shell crab tacos I had at South Philly Tap Room last year -- not sure if SPTR has run them as a special this year or not.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: barryg

                                      I am just now seeing this thread! Oh the delays caused by grad school...Thank you all for the info! Brightman, did you have the 2 for $26 entree at Fujis or Bibou? From the way the thread reads, I think you meant Fuji, but thought I'd ask to be sure!

                                      1. re: linfr21

                                        Heading to Roller's Friday night. Thanks!