Soft Shell Crabs Now on Area Menus
As we told you last week, the Chesapeake Bay blue crab population increased 35 percent from last year, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ annual winter dredge survey. That means crabs should be more plentiful this year since there are an estimated 553 million in the bay. It also means that prices should be lower than in recent years.
And, as we predicted, soft shell crabs are starting to show up on menus in the DMV. The soft shell crab season is short, so you better get them while you can. We’ve compiled a list of soft shell sightings to help you get your fix. It is still early, and more restaurants will likely add them throughout spring. Be sure to call ahead since they are usually offered as specials and dependent on availability. Prices are likely to drop as the harvest increases. (If you are a restaurant serving soft shell crabs, email email@example.com and let us know so we can update our list.)
701 Restaurant, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, has soft shell crab with charred asparagus, XO vinaigrette and asparagus-wheatgrass gazpacho on its menu priced at $23 for an appetizer, but the price is expected to come down as crab prices drop.
All Set Restaurant & Bar, 8630 Fenton St., Silver Spring, is serving tempura fried soft shell crabs over a spring vegetable medley of sugar snap peas, grilled corn and roasted zucchini with Old Bay romesco.
Bibiana Osteria Enoteca, 1100 New York Ave. NW, is serving moleche tonnato, crispy polenta dusted soft shell crab with a green salad, grilled ramps and tonnato sauce for $22 as a dinner appetizer and $24 as a lunch entrée.
Blakwell Hitch, 5 Cameron St., Alexandria, is serving two local crispy soft shell crabs dusted in Old Bay and served with chyote salad and lime butter sauce for market price
Et Voila!, 5120 MacArthur Blvd. NW, is serving soft shell crabs two ways. They can be ordered as an appetizer or entrée tempura battered with Chinese cabbage salad, ginger dressing and red pepper coulis. The crabs are also served pan-seared with a lemon-caper-brown butter sauce and garnished with capers and parsley and served alongside baby sautéed spinach, almonds and forbidden rice. Pricing will vary, but expect about $14.50 for apps and $29 for entrées.
Founding Farmers MoCo, 12505 Park Potomac Ave., Potomac, will offer a soft shell crab sandwich for $15 and in an entrée for $24 while they are in season locally. The restaurant expect serve them from May through September.
Grillfish, 1200 New Hampshire Ave. NW, is offering soft shell crab pan-seared in a lemon butter sauce and served with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables and a Crab Tower, a flash fried soft shell crab atop a crab cake topped with pineapple mango salsa.. Both are market price.
Jack Rose Dining Saloon, 2007 18th St. NW, is serving a pecan crusted softshell crab with pea shoot salad, pickled ramps and hushpuppies in the main dining room for $24. On the rooftop terrace, the restaurant is offering a soft shell crab sandwich with Old Bay aioli and slaw for $18.
Masa 14, 1825 14th St. NW, is serving a soft shell crab roll similar to a lobster roll with truffle aioli, shiso and pickled mustard seed for $14.
Nonna’s Kitchen, 1212 U St. NW, has a fried soft shell crab with fava beans and pickled ramps for $24 on its menu.
The Oval Room, 800 Connecticut Ave. NW, is frying the soft shells in tempura batter and serving them over piquillo pepper romesco, blood orange, shaved radish and hearts of palm with a ramp vinaigrette for $21.
PassionFish Reston, 11960 Democracy Dr., Reston, is offering soft shell crabs two ways: in a sea spider roll with a crispy soft shell crab, crab meat, cucumber, sesame seeds and masago roe for $16 and jumbo soft shell crabs with extra virgin olive oil, lemon and sea salt with one side and a choice of salsa verde, romesco, red Thai curry, lemon beurre blanc or classic tartar sauce at market price.
http://www.pralinebistro.com/ Praline Bakery & Bistro, 4611 Sangamore Road, Bethesda, has a crispy panko-crusted soft shell crab on house-made brioche with tartare sauce and baby arugula salad as an appetizer. It also has a classic pan-sauteed soft shell crab meuinere served with hand-cut French fries and baby green salad as an entrée.
Provision No. 14,2100 14th St. NW , is offering pan-fried soft shell crabs with cucumber, fennel, mangosteen, smoked yogurt, dill and shiso for $25.
Sushiko, 5455 Wisconsin Ave. NW, is offering soft shell crab karaage for $17. The crab is lightly dusted with potato starch and flash fried and served with our house-made chili-ponzu sauce.
Trummer’s On Main, 7134 Main St., Clifton, Va., is offering pan-fried soft shell crabs with creole onion jam, cucumbers and a pickled ramp buerre blanc priced at $36 for an entree and $20 for an appetizer.