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Soft Shell Crabs in DC

Does anyone have a favorite place in DC currently serving soft shell crabs?

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  1. It is a little early yet for local softshells, they usually start popping up in mid-to-late May, although with the warm winter the may show up earlier this year.

    I have not seen them on any menus yet.

    2 Replies
    1. re: drewpbalzac

      They are not ready available as of yet since MD crab season just started April 1. I know you can buy them at the DC Wharf and make them yourself its not very difficult

      1. re: drewpbalzac

        Actually, I've already seen them at Mintwood Place and Dino.

        I would check Blacksalt as well.

      2. I have recently had soft shell crabs at Black Salt, Dino, and Fiola. The season started very early this year. They had them at Black Salt fish market in the middle of March!
        Right now, they are still expensive, but the season is so short, it is well worth ordering them.
        Grapeseed in Bethesda had them last week, but unfortunately, they were deep fried, so all I could taste was the batter (a shame to cover up the soft shell taste that way).

        6 Replies
        1. re: scarlettb

          Re: short season for soft shells; Crabs shed periodically all season.

            1. re: dining with doc

              And they can be kept in holding tanks and the shedding controlled by water temperature as well.

          1. re: scarlettb

            Fish Net has them too and they are $16 each. Very good too.

            Dino grills their which is unique. Had 2 last night on the patio. Our table had 6 altogether. They were huge and full of mustard with a tomato sauce and salad on the side. $27 for 2.

            1. re: wineo1957

              A second to Fishnet. Great place.

              1. re: wineo1957

                Last night they were $25 for 2 with fantastic grilled asparagus. But the star of the night was lamb's tongue salad. 5-6 thick slices of lambs tongue, so tender you could cut it with your fork, on a salad of arugula and mustard. Fantastic at $7 a plate!

            2. Hank's has them. None of these places have LOCAL soft shells yet as Maryland softshell crab season is not here yet. I think they come from the southeast usually.

              1 Reply
              1. re: masonuc

                Incorrect. It started three weeks ago. They are available- usually for a heck of a lot less than 16.00 each (retail).

              2. The Cajun Vietnamese place in Eden Center has them, 2 for $16.50 or so. Very nice, slightly spicy, mostly crispy, served on top of hot green peppers and a cold salad, but it works. Rice on the side, extra onjay or mampha (sp?) chili sauce. Had one slightly off piece, the rest was delicious.

                3 Replies
                  1. re: tommyskitchen

                    Seaside Crab House. It is not the most attractive place, but they deliver some pretty good seafood.


                    1. re: Ziv

                      I never noticed that before, thanks!

                1. 2 for $16 appetizer at Pesce with a very good arugula and mango salad.

                  2 for $30 lunch entree at Jerry's Seafood in Lanham, battered, deep-fried, "stuffed" with their crab imperial.

                  1. thai square in arlington is offering their soft-shelled crabs now.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: alkapal

                      Thanks for the heads up! I had them there a couple years ago and they were delicious! Then I completely forgot about them... Not a good sign at my age.

                      1. re: Ziv

                        I stopped by Thai Square and had the basil softshell crabs again, not as great this time. Good, but not that good. But anything with basil is worth trying. Photo below. And they were $23 for two, now, which is around $4 more than they used to be. Ouch.

                    2. I recently had great, plump ones at Il Porto in Gaithersburg, so they're around.

                      1. There is a pretty sweet soft shell crab week celebration coming to Baltimore that should be worth the drive...

                        1. They were the special at Central last night. Appetizer or entree.

                          1. Graffiato had a polenta crusted softshell ast night - one crab to the order.

                            Best sofshell I have had in years.

                            1. Now that it's mid-May, does anyone have recommendations for softshells for Montgomery or PG?

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: burkemic99

                                They have recently had them at Grapeseed, Foong Lin, and Pines of Rome. They have had them as lunch specials a few times at Mussel Bar and Black's (Black's tends to over- batter, though & it kills the taste). Ironically, Blacksalt in DC cooks them perfectly - fried or sauteed and doesn't ruin the taste with all the batter.
                                They also were serving them at lunch at Clyde's Chevy Chase (call first to see if they have them).

                                1. re: burkemic99

                                  Crisfield in Silver Spring - platter or sandwich.

                                  1. re: burkemic99

                                    Soft shells are the monthly special at Clyde's restaurants, some of which are in Montgomery.

                                    1. re: BookGuy

                                      Got mine from Shoreline in Crofton made them at home.

                                  2. Posto in Logan had one one as an app when I was there last weekend. Very good. Actually, it was far better than the tepid pasta I and my dining companions had.