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May 7, 2014 10:56 AM

Sources for soft shell crabs? Steep prices?

So I went into New Deal toady to buy some soft shells, and they were $8.99 EACH! (up $2 a pound form last year) Are they this overpriced everywhere? Anybody know of other reliable vendors with better prices? (greater Boston, South of Boston?)

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  1. I saw those (without noting the price) on Monday, but they were really large and impressive specimens - maybe there is a premium for their extreme size?]

    As an aside, I did pick up some of the finest fresh, local, hand-cleaned calamari I have ever tasted for $7.99 a lb - they were justifiably very proud it - can't wait to have it again!

    6 Replies
    1. re: rlh

      That is correct. There is a premium for larger sizes..

      I haven't seen them but haven't really looked. Prices seem way up from last year.

      The Chinatown restaurants do NOT have them yet.

      1. re: 9lives

        Thanks - now that you provide the details, I am pretty sure they were even labeled "whales" - so it makes sense - glad to learn the season is just beginning, too - maybe supplies will increase and prices will drop.

        1. re: rlh

          I never even heard of a "whale-sized" soft shell, but there is almost always a premium price for the bigger ones. The bigger ones really are much better because the meat to shell ratio is way better.

          I've gotten some pretty small ones at bargain prices (and I will eat any soft shell anywhere, etc.) and the little ones can get pretty shelly, i.e. you are munching on shell vs. swooning over flavorful meat...

          Heck, I've seen jumbos that were 2X as big as some of the smaller bargain SSCs.

          Even at New Deal, as the season progresses prices come down, and even day to day, if the freshest they can can get on a given day are smaller, the price will be lower.

          1. re: StriperGuy

            "whale" is the largest size classification of soft shells. Over 5.5 inches

            1. re: aregularjoe

              Who knew... where they actually charging $2 less for Whales at the START of the season last year?

    2. Captain Marden's in Wellesley has had them recently, $7.50 each. They didn't get any in today.

      1. hooks had them today..$7 each.

        I'd estimate 4-5".. Definitely not whales.

        1. Enjoyed the app version at Island Creek last night - a very large fresh one, lightly dredged, (deep) fried with corn, arugula, and saffron aioli condiments, though it was a bit steep at $18.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rlh

            I had that too, and in agreement with you. I did buy soft shells at new deal last week - $6.99 each and they were decent sized and oh so tasty. Labeled "Jumbo" I believe.

          2. are they alive? that's all I care about!