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whole dungeness crab

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I know the local Dungeness crab season is still at least 6 weeks away but I don't think I can hold out any longer. Where would be the best place in SF to get a whole cooked dungeness crab. I was thinking crustacean but I think they may be a bit over rated. Is there any other restaurant doing crab right?

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  1. if you find Asian restaurants with live Dungeness in tanks, they're probably depleted from traveling from Alaska and then starving, resulting in watery flesh. the other places that are serving Dungeness are mostly using crabs that were cooked right after being trapped and then frozen, and these can be tasty if you don't compare them to in-season. if you like cioppino try the version at Sotto Mare -- one order is enough for two to share if you order a side dish or two.

    the wholesale buyers and processors try to beat down the price to the boatmen every year, and in general we're lucky if they settle before Thanksgiving. could be first or second week of Dec., worst case.

    1 Reply
    1. re: moto

      I agree with moto about the cioppino at Sotto Mare. Also, consider PPQ for a more casual Vietnamese place. It's like Crustacean without the big leather booths.

    2. Fishermans wharf on the sidewalk. At least you can see it live before they dunk it and they have high turnover so it will prob be decent.

      1. I had some at Thanh Long last night and they were quite good, if expensive @ $39 each, but with firm meat and good texture. I wasn't paying, so I'm not complaining.

        1. at the start of nov will they be fresher?

          i know the season starts nov 15th and i will be there a week prior to that...should i avoid a crab stop?

          I was thinking ppq or Thanh Long

          9 Replies
          1. re: Dapuma

            The crabs will be imported since our crab season does not open until later in the month. Crabs do not eat and begin to deteriorate in captivity, so although they will be live they will not be as "fresh" as local.

            1. re: Civil Bear

              thanks

              we have decided on PPQ for the trip...looking forward to it...not to decide which flavor of crab to go with...that is going to be even harder :)

              1. re: Dapuma

                The classic combination is roasted crab and garlic noodles.

                1. re: Dapuma

                  My favorite is the peppercorn version - with the house garlic noodles of course!

                  1. re: Dapuma

                    PPQ has a dinner special: one crab, garlic noodles, a beef dish (shaking?), spring rolls, dessert and drinks...for something like $50. The sides are enough to feed 3-4 people. One dinner special and an extra crab will easily feed 4 people. I prefer the non-roasted crab, less dry.

                    1. re: ML8000

                      There we only be two of us, but we will do our best to finish off as much as we can

                      is 1 crab per person the right amount to order?

                      I am assuming 1 order of garlic noodles is enough for two people

                      is there bo luc lac good?

                      1. re: Dapuma

                        One crab per person! Splitting crabs is for communists. Unless we're talking about Vietnamese communists, because they don't split crabs either.

                        1. re: cravingcoppa

                          2 crabs 1 garlic noodle 2 ca phe da

                        2. re: Dapuma

                          I have a healthy appetite and typically go with 1 crab pp if its just crab and splitting a side (like garlic noodles). Splitting a crab is plenty if you are adding other entrees.

                2. To answer your question more directly: while the crab will not be local or as fresh as it would be once our season opens, I personally think you still can have a delicious crab meal while you are here. It won't be as sweet as a local, but still...it's dungeness crab. Crustacean is a sibling of Thanh Long. I would do either PPQ or Thanh Long if I were seeking crab preseason.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jillyju

                    ...and to be even more specific, the roasted crab is located PPQ Dungeness Island on Clement. The parent restaurant PPQ on Irving does not have live crab.

                    Another good option would be the garlic roasted crab at Spices II on 6th Ave. Both Spices II and PPQDI are every bit as good as Thanh Long, IMO, and considerably cheaper.

                    1. re: Civil Bear

                      Did not know about Spices II, Civil Bear. Thanks for the tip!