Way back in the days, I reviewed this place. Obviously, since I’ve been here at least 3 times now, I would say that speaks volumes.
Tucked in the back of a super touristy area, Crab House is actually a bit pricier than most of the places surrounding. HOWEVER, despite this being the case (you can get Dungeness crabs at any of the little stands just outside Fisherman’s Wharf for what, $10?), in the 5 years it’s been since my first visit, prices have not gone up. The whole Dungeness crab remains $34.95, a fair enough price.
In any case, on this particular visit, FeistyMom had been looking forward to this place since day one, when we didn’t really have the time nor inclination to go (on a Friday night, then with a long, unfamiliar drive ahead… I’d made the choice to leave this place for Sunday) just yet. So when we arrived around 6 pm on Sunday, I was happy to find the place was not crowded though there was a good bustle and a decent number of people around. I was hungry but not so much so… well, I wanted chowder. It sounded delicious and why not?
I opted to have us both start (we split everything) with the crab chowder, a delightful mix of corn, red peppers, carrots- all lending their sweetness to give the overall chowder a very sweet flavor- Dungeness crab chunks, and generous ones at that, onions, and the usual. What I really appreciated about the chowder was that it was way thinner than I like my chowders, but this left us plenty of room to eat more later. I cannot emphasize enough how pleased that made me, a thick-chowder-lover, since I’d worried we’d overordered and would not be able to finish our crab. This was absolutely perfect.
Since I hadn’t been eating too many veggies and I get very grumpy without veggies in my diet, I opted to also get the Caesar salad, the menu informing us, “with whole uncut baby Romaine” which I thought meant a head of lettuce- similar to how some steakhouses serve their salad. I was surprised when it came to see that it was at least separated, but that was a good thing. The dressing was sharp with the taste of the cheese, and just delicious, though it was a bit drenched in the dressing. I ate this up, and was surprised when my mother, who- typical for many Asian people- does not like cheese, especially sharp ones, started eating it and really enjoyed it as well. She proceeded to eat most of it while I worked on the chowder.
Now, the main event: what we really come here for!!! I have to note with a bit of annoyance that while I was talking with my mom what size to order- I was explaining to her that the orders by the pound were only legs, but I like the meat from the body of the crab the best, so to get that, we had to order the full/whole crab. The waitress came over while I was explaining this, and she informed me that they don’t offer the body to eat because of toxic shock syndrome since people were eating the lungs (I’ve worked in a crab bar for four years and have never heard of this, though I’ve caught people eating, of all things, not just the lungs, but some people eat the shells- yes, the SHELLS!- and any other number of gross parts of seafood you shouldn’t be munching on). I was dismayed and said, “Did you guys ever serve it with the body?” and she responded negatively. At this point I got suspicious and doubted she knew wtf she was talking about because I KNOW I ATE THE BODY. Check my first review of the place. That’s all body meat! So I proceeded to order the “whole crab” anyway.
I wasn’t disappointed- the table next to us ordered a couple pounds of legs, and it was just legs. BORING.
So good. So yummy. Another point I was annoyed with the waitress: while I was taking pictures, she came over and triumphantly removed the backing/shell of the crab and said “This is just for show; see, no body.” I was just like, what are you, retarded- the body is right there- and hello, can you see I’m taking pictures?! (How could she not. The camera was in my hand.) Whatever, I was there for the food, no other reason. Once I dug in, I didn’t wipe my hands to take any more pictures of the crab, so you don’t have any interior pictures this time. You should know what crab looks like anyway!
Since Mom was afraid this wasn’t enough to fill us up, we decided to order some carbs. We were between the garlic fries or the garlic noodles and finally I made the choice of fries because “we can eat this while we eat the crab without having to stop to wipe our hands to use our forks!” Genius, right? These fries were so good. Crispy and infused with garlic flavor- which I love- and just delicious. This was size medium, so order accordingly. We didn’t finish and wound up taking a bunch home; they weren’t that good cold/soggy but toasted in a toaster oven for a bit- perfecto (that’s my secret to reheating fried foods; toasting in a toaster oven).
Unfortunately, after all the food (we finished the crab), we had no room for dessert, despite our original plan of walking down to Ghirardelli Square to have sundaes. Ah well. Perhaps next time!
Yvo says: This restaurant is definitely part of why I love San Francisco. The food is great, and despite our server being slightly retarded, she was nice enough otherwise. The atmosphere- see first review for pictures of decor- is great; the painted crab shells decorating the walls are awesome; and the fireplace when you first walk in is terrific. Also, the wide open bay windows all along one side- the side facing the water- affords a fantastic view from nearly every table in the place. So worth the money, so worth the trek, so worth it. GO HERE.