DINING OUT: Brooklyn Crab

March 20, 2013 Heather Chin
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A trip to Brooklyn Crab feels like a trip to the shore, complete with outdoor picnic tables, mini-golf course, tree house-full-bar, and a giant dining room/bar with garage door windows that slide up to let summer breezes roll through from three sides of the room and that give diners spectacular views of Upper New York Bay, the Hudson River and the East River.

The amazing location and views that attract hungry customers are also what appealed to the three Brooklyn-based couples who own the 10-month-old restaurant located on Reed Street, across from Fairway Market, on the Red Hook waterfront.

After the success of Alma, their traditional-Mexican-meets-American restaurant, Jamie and Tamara Vipond, and Matt Bohner and Rachel London, wanted to open another restaurant close to home, and brought on friend/chef JJ Lux and his wife, Renee, to do for Brooklyn Crab’s menu what the other two couples did with the eatery’s hand-hewn tables and crab shack tchotchkes on the walls.

Lux’s menu changes seasonally – the spring/summer menu starts April 1 – and features crabs, crabs and more crabs in baskets, salads and fried in cakes, and Maryland, Southern or traditional-style.

There are also items from land and sea such as PEI mussels, clams, oysters, lobster, shrimp, scallops, chicken and pork. Everything is fresh and mostly from the Eastern seaboard because Lux prefers “to let the food speak for itself.”

“Seafood is one of those things you shouldn’t dress up; lobster is something that tastes good because it’s fresh, not because of what I’ve done,” said Lux, who hand-selects seafood providers, which deliver their catch daily. “We hand-shuck and chop clams [for our clam chowder] every day. For the amount we’re preparing, there’s still so much care put in.”

Menu favorites among diners include the go-back-for-seconds New Clam Chowder ($7) with chewy-yet-not-chewy clams and chunks of potato, the delectable Fried Maryland Crab Bites ($13) that come with an amazing Cajun remoulade sauce perfect also for dipping chunks of your crab leg meat in, and the Cool Platter ($25) – an appetizer sampler of ¾ lb. Snow Crab legs, ½ lb. spicy peel & eat shrimp, and four house oysters served with mignonette, creamy mustard, and cocktail sauce.

Among the entrees, you can’t go wrong with any of the styles of steamed crab and crab legs (from $16 to $48), which are full of meaty chunks of crab that come with a side of corn on the cob, coleslaw and butter dipping sauce. It is surprisingly fun to learn how to crack the shells and pull out the meat – after cracking, use the red meat clawer tool as if it were a letter opener, advised Head Bartender Valerie Chisholm.

There are also plenty of hot items to choose from, from a Pulled Pork Sandwich ($11) and Catch-of-the-Day Fish Sandwich ($12) to the Fried Clam Roll ($15) and Atlantic Cod & Chips ($16).

Then, top it all off with a slice of Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Tart ($6) or Apple Pie ($7) and a Root Beer Float ($6).

All of this and more makes Brooklyn Crab a relaxing haven for local residents looking for a neighborhood hangout, as well as for the urbanite desperate for a beachside or waterfront getaway. And now that Fairway is back, there is no excuse for anyone in Brooklyn not to get their Brooklyn Crab on.

BROOKLYN CRAB

24 Reed Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

718-643-2722

www.brooklyncrab.com

Summer hours: 7 days a week, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Open until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays


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