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Crab Legs -- Restaurant or Home?

Hi all,
I would like to eat a crab leg dinner for my birthday,but am not sure what is the best way to go about it. I did a search on the board but didn't find anything recent from 2012.

If we go to a restaurant, it has to be gluten-free friendly. But I'm also considering purchasing legs and preparing them at home. But admittedly, it would be nice to find a good deal at a restaurant. And I guess we wouldn't mind also having shrimp and scallops on the menu :-)

Can you chime in on your opinion of who offers the best values? What should I expect to pay per person?

I know of Stella's, Coastal Seafoods, Sam's Club, Target, Byerlys, Joe's Crab Shack--what are your recommendations? There must be other places for crab too.

I appreciate your ideas!

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  1. You can also get really good deals on King Crab at Costco.

    I'd do them at home. It's easier and cheaper. I steam mine. I just take my biggest pot and put a bowl in the bottom upside down. Then I fill it with just enough water that it isn't coming over the bowl. I then put a plate on top of the bowl. Now, I've got a steamer. Get that water boiling, add salt and seasoning to the water. In go the crab legs and the lid goes on. Boom, steamed crab legs in about 15 to 20 minutes. Works for lobster too.

    In regards to who has crab legs restaurant-wise, I rarely go out for them anymore. But in the past, I usually either went with Oceanaire, Kincaid's, or McCormick & Schmicks. I know Bennett's Rail and Chop House in Saint Paul does all you can eat on Friday Nights. I think it's 30 bucks per person.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Db Cooper

      I 2nd Costo purchased king crab. Not as cheap as it was a couple of years ago but very reliable from a quality point of view. The pieces can be pretty long and hard to fit in pot so I throw them in my turkey roasting pan with a little hot water, cover with foil and steam bake in 300F oven until heated through (20 minutes maybe). King crab is precooked so all you need to do is get nice and hot. Add a nice piece of steak on the side and you are living large.

      1. re: dalewest

        Thank you for all the ideas. Does anyone know about Sam's Clubs quality? I don't have a Costco membership...

        1. re: shannikitty

          I know about Sam's Club quality...

          Get a Costco membership.

          1. re: kevin47

            Ha! Too funny. I looked at Sams Club after work and was not impressed with price or appearance.

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        1. From time to time Lunds/ Byerly's runs a great deal on them. I like Joe's Crab Shack for a no-fuss crab leg experience.

          9 Replies
          1. re: gryffindor249

            wait til january....you are in the exact opposite of peak season for any decent crab leg, so frozen(probably gassed and frozen at sam's and costco, most definitely at joes) is the nature of the beast in summer....

            1. re: mitch cumstein

              Not sure about all crab species, but I am pretty certain almost all king crab is cooked and frozen at the source (aka AK). I don't think time of year would matter much for those.

              1. re: dalewest

                it does matter, because to get something to freeze for 6 months after the closing of the season and still taste good takes a methly based chemical compound, which I don't want in my food. The crab is chilled with a liquid defoaming solution and preservative solution then frozen. Personal preference, I guess, but whats the difference between that and krab really...

                1. re: mitch cumstein

                  Sorry, but I am not buying it. I'm not disagreeing with what you describe as the process above. I'm not buying that you, me, or 99.9999999% of the rest of the population could actually taste the difference. But I wish there were A LOT more people like you because if demand went down, so would the price and I could afford even more of it.

                  The OP stated they wanted crab for their birthday. We don't really get to choose when we are born.

                  1. re: Db Cooper

                    If you ever get to have fresh, not frozen king crab in season, or any crab that hasn't been solution chilled and frozen, do it, you will then "buy it" but Beyond that, i stated a preference for eating something in peak season, when it tastes like it should taste, not a remnant of the flavor lost over freezing and thawing god knows how many times from here to ak or canada or russia or who knows where, db...If you could taste them side by side, an infant could tell the difference

                    For the OP, I would choose what kind of ambiance you want, and go from there...a long gradual thaw is the best way to retain any sweetness you hope for in the crab, so I would say that a place that focus' on seafood, like stella's or oceanaire would respect the thawing process more than you would get to at home, with the store bought variety.

                    1. re: mitch cumstein

                      That's interesting, I didn't realize it should be thawed before cooking! I'll let you know what we end up trying. After looking around and reading the thread I'm leaning toward Coastal Seafoods afterall. But I am curious, why do people prefer king crab so much? In speaking with a guy working at Coastal, he actually recommended the flavor of the less expensive snow crab over king, saying it would be sweeter.... Thank you!

                      1. re: shannikitty

                        I think people like king because it yields more meat, so less work and more meat per leg, and the size gives it a bit more variety in cooking(stuffed orgrilled as well as steamed)
                        I think coastal is a good way to go. Thawing will help prevent overcooking, cause you are really just tying to warm them up enough, since they have already been cooked. "cooking' them again will dry them out...
                        Good Luck and enjoy!

                        1. re: shannikitty

                          In my limited experience, good quality king crab can yield a fairly high ratio of meat to shell. In other words, those bucks you are spending are going more towards yummie crab meat as opposed to the shells. A single large king crab leg can easily be a serving by itself. You would probably have to crack a lot of snow crab legs to get the same amount of meat.

                          1. re: dalewest

                            Cool, thanks all, I really appreciate the advice!

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