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Soft shell crabs in Philly

bluehensfan Apr 11, 2012 04:47 AM

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?

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    Philly Ray RE: bluehensfan Apr 11, 2012 05:09 AM

    I saw them on Vetri's April menu, but I guess you have to pay $135 for the privilege of trying them.

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      barryg RE: bluehensfan Apr 11, 2012 06:48 AM

      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
        bluehensfan RE: barryg Apr 11, 2012 10:29 AM

        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...

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        linfr21 RE: bluehensfan Apr 12, 2012 08:12 PM

        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
          bluehensfan RE: linfr21 Apr 13, 2012 04:50 AM

          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
            caganer RE: linfr21 Apr 17, 2012 12:54 PM

            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. j
            JKP58 RE: bluehensfan Apr 13, 2012 06:52 AM

            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. re: JKP58
              Bigley9 RE: JKP58 Apr 13, 2012 06:54 AM


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              Philly Ray RE: bluehensfan Apr 16, 2012 10:06 AM

              Looks like Matyson has them now as well.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Philly Ray
                bluehensfan RE: Philly Ray Apr 17, 2012 05:36 AM

                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
                  cwdonald RE: Philly Ray Apr 17, 2012 05:42 AM

                  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
                    purplesachi RE: cwdonald Apr 17, 2012 12:31 PM

                    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. u
                  urbanfabric RE: bluehensfan Apr 17, 2012 06:23 AM

                  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
                    bluehensfan RE: urbanfabric Apr 17, 2012 07:17 AM

                    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
                      jl0328 RE: bluehensfan Apr 17, 2012 08:05 AM

                      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. b
                    barryg RE: bluehensfan Apr 17, 2012 02:26 PM

                    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. AgentRed RE: bluehensfan Apr 19, 2012 03:35 PM

                      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
                        Philly Ray RE: AgentRed Apr 19, 2012 03:52 PM

                        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
                          AgentRed RE: Philly Ray Apr 19, 2012 05:53 PM

                          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!

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                        JanR RE: bluehensfan May 1, 2012 04:33 AM

                        Had delicious soft shell crabs at Heirloom last week.

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                          caitlinhc RE: bluehensfan May 1, 2012 06:01 AM

                          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!

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                            purplesachi RE: bluehensfan May 1, 2012 11:37 AM

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

                            1. k
                              knappy123 RE: bluehensfan May 1, 2012 06:56 PM

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

                              1. Delucacheesemonger RE: bluehensfan May 2, 2012 04:47 AM

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

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                  Bashful3 RE: Delucacheesemonger May 2, 2012 07:52 AM

                                  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
                                    brightman RE: Bashful3 May 3, 2012 08:10 PM

                                    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. j
                                  JanR RE: bluehensfan May 3, 2012 03:21 AM

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

                                  1. b
                                    barryg RE: bluehensfan May 7, 2012 07:35 PM

                                    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
                                      linfr21 RE: barryg May 15, 2012 12:15 AM

                                      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
                                        hungry100 RE: linfr21 May 17, 2012 01:29 PM

                                        Heading to Roller's Friday night. Thanks!

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