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Great crab on San Mateo Coast?

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I'm taking extended family out to Ano Nuevo Saturday, and crab has been requested for dinner afterwards. I took a quick poke around and didn't see any recs for places with fabulous crab in the vicinity. Some of our party is staying in Santa Cruz, so I'd like to keep it on the coast (I've also posted on the CA board for recs in Santa Cruz).

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  1. I'm sure you've thought of Duarte's already--I've had both a decent crab sandwich and cioppino there in years past. I would not describe either as "fabulous" however. The location is certainly ideal for you.

    7 Replies
    1. re: jillyju

      Yeah, I think we're looking for pure crab, i.e. cracked crab, not cioppino, crab cakes, etc. I personally love Chinese-style crab.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        How about Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay?

        1. re: summer_sf

          I've been looking at all the seafood places in HMB. Do you like Sam's better than the others? Have you had crab there (or anywhere else)?

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Sorry for my initial uninformative reply.

            I love crab in season; especially dungeness crab, having grown up with blue crabs. I like it prepared all ways but prefer it simple (in order of preference, boiled with drawn butter or lemon, cold-cracked, Chinese preps, then finally Singaporean). I really enjoy Sam's Chowder House. The view is great, I've enjoyed everything I've had there including the crab. We usually start with oysters or the seafood platter, clam chowder, and either additional apps or a whole crab or lobster.

              1. re: summer_sf

                I agree - it seems like such a tourist trap and it is, but they also have really good seafood, and the view is lovely. We always order things simply prepared both so we can really taste the great fish and also because we're not keen on their sauces etc. I had a really beautiful piece of grilled wild salmon there last year.

                1. re: summer_sf

                  So we followed your recommendation and everyone really enjoyed dinner. The food was fresh and well-prepared, and the menu options and presentations were a bit more interesting and sophisticated than I expected. I particularly liked the choice of sides with the crab, my choice being what turned out to be generous portions of braised artichoke hearts and brussels sprouts with smoked bacon from a local farm. I'm not a chowder fan, but I had a bit of the halibut and it was delicious. Even the desserts were interesting and delicious -- I had trouble choosing between the coconut rice pudding with roasted pineapple and the roasted pear stuffed with nuts and raisins with saboyan.

        2. Not optimal for the folks staying in Santa Cruz, but if you want Chinese style crab preps, you probably need to go east to China Village in Belmont or Silver Lake or Silver House in San Mateo.