seafood drama

I forgot to mention that since I had been craving crab legs since before Labor Day, last Friday I managed to drag Kris out to dinner with me. I bribed her by offering to pay. That girl is a sucker for a free meal.

I did some digging around online, looking for local seafood restaurants that:
(a) served crab legs – online menus are my new favorite thing.
(b) was in a semi-reasonable price range – yes, I’m having a pregnancy craving, but $45 for crab legs? Um, no.
(c) was located within a reasonable commute of both me and Kris, since we were coming from different directions and had already decided to meet at the restaurant.

I found a place. I had been there once before, but it was at least four years ago, so I didn’t really remember anything about it. Still, it got a decent review on CitySearch, and it met all of my criteria, so it looked like a safe bet.

Kris and I met up there, got a table, and ordered our food; she got the halibut, and I got the 2-pound whole dungeness crab. Mmm, yum. I couldn’t wait, I was practically bouncing in my seat from the anticipation. I had been daydreaming about this meal all week long.

Then we waited. And waited. And waited some more. Good thing they bring you rolls at this place, otherwise I would’ve fallen over. Finally, our waiter came over and apologized for the delay. He said that there was a problem with my crab – he was about to bring it out to me, when the restaurant manager walked by and noticed that it smelled “off.” So they were making me a new, fresh crab.

Umm, ok. I guess that’s fine. Kris and I were both surprised that he basically admitted that they have spoiled food in their kitchen, but it was nice that he was honest.

A few minutes later, he came out with both of our entrees. Since the waiter had told me that they were making me a “fresh” crab, it didn’t even occur to me that maybe I should sniff it before I ate it.

In retrospect, I really should have. I had the first bite and it was… wrong. It was too dry, and sort of spongy. It was not at all like crab is supposed to taste. I guess I didn’t notice the smell because I had dipped it in butter. But when I picked up the remainder of the crab leg and sniffed it, it smelled vaguely like ammonia. Oh god.

The waiter, of course, whisked it away immediately when I told him. He offered the Alaskan king crab instead of the dungeness, but before I agreed, I grilled him with questions: “But are you absolutely sure that it’s fresh? Because I’m five months pregnant, and I have been craving crab legs for the past two weeks, and if this meal is going to suck, I might cry in the middle of your restaurant.”

(Incidentally, Dave was horrified when I told him that I said that to the waiter. Kris, on the other hand, was sitting directly across from me, and she was all, “That’s right, you BETTER bring her some fresh crab!” I guess that just goes to show how women understand important things like food cravings.)

Another half hour later (after Kris had long since finished her meal), I finally got my Alaskan king crab. It was ok, just sort of meh. I think they served melted margarine instead of real butter, which honestly just ruins the whole thing. If I compare the expensive restaurant meal to my grocery store “krab” with real melted butter? I think the faux-crab wins. That’s pathetic.

Also? Even after all of the inconveniences, the waiter didn’t comp a single thing on our check. He billed us for every last nickel of it, including Kris’s diet coke. (Except my rotten crab, he was kind enough to deduct that.) He got a less than stellar tip.

Just in case any of you who read this are on Seattle’s Eastside, this was the place. Avoid it at all costs.

Oh, and for the record? Since that meal didn’t quite live up to the fantasy in my head, I’m still sort of craving crab legs. Sigh.

7 thoughts on “seafood drama

  1. Bummer. I’ve had a similar meal there, and it is now known as the @ss Cracker. Maybe try the market for a pre-cooked fresh seafood fest? Mmm.

  2. Yeah, we talked about heading downtown, but the Mariners had a game that night, and neither one of us much felt like dealing with the traffic. Mistake.

  3. You’d think a place with “crab” in the name could actually get crab right.
    If you hop a plane to Maryland, I’ll fix you up with some good Maryland Blue Crabs. And homemade hush puppies.
    Barring that, I’m in favor of a pre-cooked seafood feast. Or just get yourself a live one in the store and throw it in some water.

  4. Dave thinks I’m barbaric for eating crab in a restaurant. Can you imagine if I boiled one alive in our kitchen? Hee! I do think I’m going to hit one of the local fish markets and get my own pre-cooked crab, though.

    But thanks for the offer – if I can scrounge up a free plane ticket to the greater DC area, you’ll be the first to know. 🙂

  5. Would crab cakes fix the craving? Here you can buy some pretty decent ones (Phillips, I think) in the freezer section, and you could keep some on hand for when the craving hits.
    And then Dave wouldn’t have to see crab shells and legs, etc.

  6. Ordinarily, I’m with Dave on not abusing waitstaff over poor food quality (better to abuse the management), but in this case I agree with you and Kris. When you are pregnant, having “off” seafood isn’t just a matter of it tasting bad and maybe having a tummyache in the morning. It can mean serious health risks for you and the baby! That’s nothing to fluff around about, and I think you were completely correct to grill the waiter over the replacement crab.

    And they should have given you the replacement-replacement crab for free. If a Seattle restaurant can’t even serve decent crab, they really need to be out of business.

    Dave, there is nothing barbaric about eating crab. If God didn’t want us to eat crab, then why did She make them the main ingredient in crab au gratin? Crab and crawfish are the closest one can get to Perfect Food. 🙂

  7. I actually made my homemade crab cakes a couple of weeks ago because I thought that might help the craving. It didn’t. I also made them because Dave will eat crab cakes. It’s just the whole still-in-the-shell thing that squicks him out.

    I wasn’t really abusing the waiter, just mildly interrogating him. 🙂 He seemed like kind of a frat boy-ish jerk, anyway.

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