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Jun 10, 2012 01:58 PM

soft shell crab

are there restaurants in the eastbay serving fresh soft shell crab

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  1. Thread from last year around this time:

    Most of the sushi places have it in season.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Lalime's has been doing soft shell crab "burgers" on several weekend nights, after 8 PM. They did last night, and I believe did a couple of weekends ago.

    2. monterey fish market in berkeley on gilman sells fresh soft shell crabs - of course, you'll have to prepare them yourself.

      1 Reply
      1. Not a favorite of mine, but Angeline's has had soft shell crabs on their menu in season.

        6 Replies
        1. re: chocolatetartguy

          have considered going to Angeline's for the first time just to have soft shell crab -- why do they get your thumbs down ?

          1. re: moto

            I work around the corner from there and was very excited when they 1st opened as New Orleans is, by far, my favorite food destination. My personal reservation about Angeline's is that it just doesn't evoke New Orleans for me: Brigtsen's, Chez Helene, Streetcar Sandwiches. Bon Ton Cafe, Commander's Palace. But that's just my own opinion, you should give it a try.

            The original owner (now deceased) was a genuinely sweet guy. Tthey certainly generate a party atmosphere and are immensely popular in Berkeley. I did celebrate a birthday there and had the soft shell crab. It was good, but not great. I probably had better back in the day at the Elite Cafe. Does the Boxing Room serve soft-shells? I don't believe in giving thumbs down, just not giving it thumbs up.

            1. re: chocolatetartguy

              thanks. love the style of cooking myself, as well, and am usually reluctant to try places because the nuances that matter usually get lost in transplanting. Brigsten's is outstanding and a very high bar to meet, but in general the best Creole cooking has subtlety and delicacy. have heard the cooking of the SF chef Vernon Morales is pretty good, but haven't tried it yet either.

              1. re: moto

                Not expecting top find a Brigtsen's out west, but I look for what Paul Prudhomme called roundness of flavor.

                Aside from the the one year when K-Paul set up in the Old Waldorf? location for a few weeks in the late 80's and later came out to the New Orleans faire in Mountain View, there are only two places that have given me that laissez bon temps roule feeling: LA Bayou, which closed years ago, and the Prudhomme favorite Popeye's Fried Chicken. I do like the gumbo at Dorsey's Locker. I liked Elite Cafe years ago. I have not tried many of the places in the City though.

                I was watching the tail end of the Thunder raining on the Heat's parade in the window of Bec's last night and moseyed over to Angelines to check the menu. Soft Shells are not on the menu and not sure if they have specials. I had them there several years ago.

                Getting back to the original post, wouldn't some of the local seafood places have soft shells? Hayes Street B&G? Sea Salt?

                1. re: chocolatetartguy

                  I remember that year. Did a music gig with the legendary Alan Tousaint of New Orleans and it turned out his family owned a place called Pookies in Oakland. Great food. Like in NOLA. Yes, I know. I have lived in the South and made films tehre and spent much time in NOLA

                  1. re: smokestack lightning

                    I still remember having blackened prime rib at K-Pauls SF that sent me over the rainbow. My friend Claire and her cop roommate and I waited for hours to get in, but it was well worth it.

                    There is some damn good gumbo in local soul food joints. I've had it at a little place across from Berkeley High School and a fried fish/burrito joint in the Loren district. Both are now awol.

          1. re: drewskiSF

            we phoned Mua in re. to that dish, and they don't use fresh crabs. places that serve 'em year 'round often rely on frozen stuff. we're headed to SF this weekend to have them.

            1. re: moto

              Good to know. Where in SF are you going?

              1. re: drewskiSF

                Range did list them on their sample menu on line, specifying either Chesapeake or Maryland crab, but now the menu doesn't have them. will need to call them the day before we go, to confirm availability and our reservation.

              2. re: moto

                Ugh! Soft-shelled crabs NEED to be fresh. Anyone from the Deep South, including NOLA, can tell, at first sniff.

                If they ARE frozen, then there are too many differences. Might as well go for a dish, featuring "Krab," or, better yet, skip dining there.

                Last year, I got into a real, knock-down, drag-out with a chef in VA, who initially claimed that he had "Fresh Chesapeake Bay Soft-shells." Yeah right! He sent word, via the server, that they were alive, just moments before. I challenged him to a "taste-off," but he declined. I asked to see the "live crabs," but again, he declined. I finally told the server that the chef was being totally dishonest," and he came out - finally. I told him that he lied, and that the crabs had been long-frozen. He could not produce one live crab, and left, before I challenged him to a "knife-throwing" exercise. He comp'ed both meals, as he knew that he had used long-frozen crabs, in hope that no one could tell. Well, we could, and he lied.


            2. Not sure if it works geographically, but Farallon just did a wonderful softshell for my wife, on Sunday night.


              2 Replies
              1. re: Bill Hunt

                our one visit to NOLA was a long-ago Feb. and we didn't get crab. by far the best we've tried was in late spring in VA. can't expect anything we try out here to equal it, but close will be good enough. hope you and your spouse enjoyed your visit.

                1. re: moto

                  Yes, it IS seasonal. While we are from the New Orleans environs, and grew up with soft-shelled crabs, we do sample them elsewhere.

                  Actually, the best, out of maybe 500 was in Denver, CO, when Michael Dagenhart was chef at Tante Louise. It was June, and he had just received them via express air. His "Pecan-Crusted, Garlic Braised Soft-Shell Crab" was the ultimate. I mean no disrespect to Chefs, like John Besh, Frank Birgtsen, Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme, but a Denver chef won first place.

                  We have also had some very bleak versions from the Chesapeake Bay, but those were awfully early, and though the chef swore that they were alive that AM, I highly doubt it. I maintain that they were frozen, and for a very, very long time.

                  I know several chefs in New Orleans, who will NOT serve any soft-shells, if they are not fresh, and actually "alive that day," and I admire their fortitude. A fresh, well-prepared soft-shell is a joy, at least to us.