Gettin’ crabby at The Oceanaire Seafood Room

Stone Crab

Last week I had the treat of dining at The Oceanaire Seafood Room in Seattle. I’ve enjoyed lunch and dinner at this seafood restaurant before, but this night was special. The Florida stone crabs were in town! And this was their first appearance on Oceanaire’s menu.

Now through February 17, this special crab will be flown in daily to Oceanaire’s 15 restaurants. The first thing I noticed is they look different. That’s because they’re harvested only for their claws (either one or both at a time), which grow back in about a year’s time. Simply put, that means that stone crabs are more sustainable than most other varieties. The crab is firm in texture and has a sweet, succulent flavor. Yum.

The Oceanaire Seafood Room is serving the crabs in one-pound servings at market price — approximately $60 a pound. They’re accompanied by both a mustard and a Louis sauce.

Alaskan king crab

Another crab being served this winter at Oceanaire is the Alaskan king crab. In early November, Seattle Oceanaire Chef Eric Donnelly spent several days at sea on the Time Bandit, one of the vessels featured on Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch. Donnelly’s visit resulted in Oceanaire’s purchase of a boatload of Alaskan king crab from the ship—approximately 40,000 lbs. The crab will supply all 15 Oceanaire restaurants throughout the winter season.

“King crab is a volatile product that is very difficult to transport in a live state,? said Chef Donnelly. “For that reason, most of the king crab we serve in the restaurant have been flash frozen at sea, which is the best way to preserve its flavor and texture.” Having worked on the Time Bandit, Donelly had first hand information that the crab was of superb quality.

The setting for all this ultra-fresh seafood (everything is flown in daily) is equally impressive. It’s like being on an elegant 1930s oceanliner — but no passport required.

The Oceanaire Seafood Rooms are located in 15 cities: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston (recently opened), Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and Washington, DC.

Pictured above, top to bottom:

Florida stone crab on ice
Seattle’s Chef Eric Donnelly and an Alaskan king crab
(Photo by Sue Frause)

Posted by Sue Frause on January 24, 2008 in Food

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