Summer marks the beginning of soft shell crab season. Enjoy these delicacies stuffed in sandwiches or plated with seasonal veggies at these New York City restaurants – while they last. By Sarah Shaker.
Georges Forgeois’ new restaurant Clarkson is serving soft shell crabs two ways this season. For lunch Chef Rebecca Weitzman is offering a soft shell sandwich on their house made potato roll with Harissa aioli, piquillo peppers and frisée. For dinner, they’re serving a pan roasted soft shell crab over a curried cauliflower sauce and topped with a salad of pickled ramps, heirloom cherry tomatoes, basil and pistachios. Check out Clarkson for weekend brunch too, as the Duck Confit with sweet potato hash is a standout afternoon dish.
Geoffrey Zakarian’s The National will be offering sautéed soft shell crab this season with fresh chickpeas, grilled white asparagus, corn and a spicy tomato vinaigrette, created by Executive Chef Paul Corsentino. The James Beard Award-winning restaurant offers a chic meal anytime of the day in Midtown.
A list of the best soft shell crab season offerings wouldn’t be complete without mentioning one of NYC’s favorite seafood restaurants, celebrating their 20th Anniversary this year. City Crab is serving up both lunch and dinner plates to kick off summer with the arrival of soft shell crabs. For lunch enjoy the Soft Shell Crab Po Boy with bacon, avocado, tomato and Cajun Remoulade served with Old Bay Fries. This summery sandwich can also be ordered for dinner, by request. Featured on the seasonal dinner menu, Chef Michael “Sheffy” Siry is preparing a Soft Shell Crab Special For Two served with corn and Old Bay Fries.
Chef Harold Dieterle is currently offering soft shell crabs at two of his restaurants, as these crabs happen to be one of his favorite ingredients to work with. At The Marrow, his contemporary German and Italian restaurant in the West Village, there’s a special of Soft Shell Crabs with Red Mustard Greens, Pickled Ramps, Cocoa Nibs and Spicy Almond Sauce. At Perilla, known to offer “Seasonal American”, the Top Chef is serving a Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Rhubarb-Caraway Slaw and Creamy Sorrel Sauce.
A Crown Heights favorite for local and seasonal ingredients has recently opened a second location in the Lower East Side. The Black Tree Sandwich Shop & Bar is kicking off summer with a Soft Shell Crab Sandwich starting Memorial Day weekend. Pan-fried soft shell crab from Pierless, a local fish wholesaler in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard, is topped with pickled ramp relish and spicy aioli, served on a toasted brioche bun from Pain D’Avignon (a Cape Cod French bakery) with a choice of North Fork Kettle Cooked Potato Chips or mixed green salad.
Madison and Main
When heading out East this summer, make reservations to stop in Madison and Main. This Sag Harbor restaurant is serving Pan-Seared Soft Shell Crab over a ragout of heirloom tomatoes, North Fork peppers, anchovy, capers, basil and oregano this season. Enjoy seafood favorites fresh from their raw bar or come in for a leisurely brunch on a long summer weekend in the Hamptons.
Aquagrill will have soft shell crab items listed on their special menu throughout the summer. As a current lunch special, try the Fried Soft Shell Crab Sandwich with a buttermilk cornmeal crust on house-made ciabatta bread topped with sweet vegetable slaw and chipotle mayonnaise, served with French fries or salad. During dinner you can enjoy a sautéed soft shell crab served over jicama, ortaniques, sautéed spinach and micro greens, finished with a spicy citrus vinaigrette. This plate is available as a single crab appetizer or two as an entrée.
Chef Mike Rendine is serving a cornmeal crusted soft shell crab wrapped in Applewood smoked bacon with chipolte aioli, roasted tomatoes and boston lettuce to welcome summer at Alobar in Long Island City. This Soft Shell Crab BLT will be available as a special throughout soft shell crab season for seafood and bacon lovers alike.
Dine in Park Slope for seasonal American fare at Rose Water. To welcome soft shell crabs they’re offering a Beer Battered (Smuttynose Porter) Fried Softie with a Spring Slaw of asparagus, ramps, fiddleheads, arugula and cornichons dressed with Ramp Remoulade made with egg, olive oil, ramps, celery seed and tarragon. Rose Water proudly serves local, regional and sustainable ingredients, so you can always expect to dine on the freshest plates each season.
Colicchio & Sons
At Colicchio & Sons, Executive Chef James Tracey is serving up Soft Shell Crab with ‘Nduja, carrots and asparagus this season. This Chelsea dining destination is ideal to impress a date or for a nice dinner out when family is in town. Whether you dine in the main dining room or the more casual Tap Room, you’ll be sure to enjoy a high-quality dinner experience.
Sarah Shaker is the founder of the blog Bright Lights, My City.