City Crab Shack is the new, and retrofitted, reincarnation of the 23 year old Park Ave South City Crab & Seafood Company. Once you walk down the steps, the fishnets and wooden tables whisk you away from Union Square to a quieter place in Maryland, land of crab cakes. City Crab Shack features a delicious menu full of modern and inventive takes on classic seafood dishes.
We began our seafood adventure with drinks. The Original Maryland Martini (coconut rum, raspberry liquor, pineapple juice) and Elderflower Gimlet (gin, cucumber juice, lime juice, Saint Germain, soda) came recommended, so that’s what we went with. The Martini was smooth and fruity, a plus to my friend who says she doesn’t like to taste the alcohol in her drink. I, personally, enjoyed the gimlet, and found the cucumber to be incredibly refreshing, especially after how hot this summer has been.
For a starter, we went with the Nola “French Quarter” Blue Crab Beignets. Now, I’m familiar with a beignet, though I think of it as a dessert or breakfast item, and covered with powdered sugar, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to get. Instead of “dusted” with powdered sugar, these beignets are bite sized and stuffed with crab meat, and served with a creole mustard aioli. The crab meat was fresh, and there was a lot of it per bite (anyone who’s had a crab cake or stuffed crab that finds you just paid $15 for a plate full of stuffing knows what I’m talking about), and the creole aioli really added a nice layer of spice to the dish.
For any guests who might not be into seafood but are willing to dine with you, there are the Delmarva Crispy Chicken and Malted Waffles. We weren’t sure how this fit in, but gave it a shot. The chicken was delicious, and there was so much meat on each piece that I feel like I’ve been robbed my entire life of eating fried chicken. Even the marrow had flavor. Both the chicken and waffles came with an orange compote and truffled maple gastric that combined orange and maple in a way that I’ve never tasted before, especially in a savory dish. It wasn’t so sweet that I felt like I was eating a kid’s breakfast. While I wouldn’t recommend going to a seafood place and getting the chicken, it does make a very tasty alternative for anyone in your party who doesn’t like shellfish.
For a main course, there was the Brooklyn Bouillabaisse, a stew filled with lobster, shrimp, mussels, clams, calamari, and a tomato-fennel broth. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t the feast in a stew that came out. It had every type of shellfish you could want, all tied together by the tomato fennel broth. Nothing was too mushy. Each of the flavors were distinct but played well together. I just wish I had more bread to sop up the broth!!
We finished things off with a hand-made Key Lime Pie that we started devouring before I could snap a photo. The tartness of the pie matched the hand-made crust perfectly and was a great way to finish off the evening.
All of the food tasted fresh, and managed to both comfort and inspire. For more information, or to make a reservation, please visit City Crab Shack’s official website.