Friday, October 19, 2007

The Crab Pot - Long Beach

There are better places to eat crab. And for cheaper too. But once in a while, it just has to be The Crab Pot in Long Beach. It's one of those restaurants that out-of-town visitors love to be taken to -- an old school seafood joint complete with wooden mallets, plastic bibs and nautical theming to the hilt.

And it's located dockside next to a marina for a whiff of that salty sea air. What better place to eat seafood than within sight of the ocean? Which begs the question: why don't people insist on eating steak in a pasture?

The menu is typical of what you'd see in this type of place. Halibut, salmon, and other domestic species are simply grilled or fried for fish and chips. There's steamed lobster and crab at "market price", which always translates to "expensive".

But the reason to go is something they call the SeaFeast for Two. This is a hands-on, peel-and-eat, crack-and-shuck mountain of shellfish dumped on your table, dusted with a mild-pepper seasoning. In the pile of crustacean appendages and mollusks bodies, you'll also find steamed new potatoes, corn on the cob and andouille sausage. These are meant to fill you up, since only a fraction of the weight of the shellfish is actually edible.

They have a number to choose from, ranging from the crabless SeaFeast called The Cove ($14.95 per person), which just has clams, mussels, and shrimp; to one called The Alaskan ($32.00 per person), which touts three species of crab (King, Dungeness, and Snow).

The catch (pun intended) is that you have to order a SeaFeast in multiples of two (i.e. a minimum of two in one price class). And if you have an odd number of people in your party, a pair must get a more expensive SeaFeast than the third person.

Now on to the criticism: The crab are steamed from frozen, so they can be a bit anemic. Because of this you'll find some of the meat stubbornly clings to the shell like barnacles on a ship. Anyone who has eaten live crabs will know that it should slide off effortlessly from the casing. These people will be most disappointed at what The Crab Pot offers.

Speaking of shells, some of them will bend instead of crack, making those wooden mallets as useless as a hammer on rubber nails.

And Crab Pot's dungeness crab legs are particularly disappointing, yielding succulence only near the joints. Breaking into a thick, fat shell, you'll be expecting the crustacean equivalent of Roseanne Barr, but instead you get Mary Kate Olsen (which in other circumstances wouldn't be bad).

The meat in the snow crab legs are better, since they seem to be hardier to being revived from its cryogenic state. And they're easier to extract too.

Even easier still are mussels, clams, and shrimp which are easy pickins' and delicious after a dunk in melted butter.

Once you finish gorging, clam shells, spent crab casings, and bald corn cobs should fill the metal bowl they provide as a waste receptacle and spittoon. You get a feeling of accomplishment when you see it. Except in most instances, you will ask yourselves, "If we ate all that, why aren't we full?"

This is the reason you must order the Clam Chowder ($3.25 for a cup) before the meal, which is creamy, savory and as good as clam chowder gets. And afterwards, you must finish with a Strawberry Rhubarb Cake ($6.95), which is baked to order in a bread pan -- a gloriously messy, crude mixture of tart rhubarb compote and boxed yellow cake mix.

And heck you might as well get a side of ice cream while you're at it too, because by this time you would've already spent a small fortune.

The Crab Pot
(562) 430-0272
215 Marina Drive
Long Beach, Ca 90803

24 Comments:

At 11:07 PM, Anonymous whowantscandy said...

This brings back memories of when I was younger, family and I drove all the way up to the Canadian. On our stop over in Seattle for lunch, we at the Crab Pot. Those were some good eats! When my dad found out there's a location in Long Beach, on special occasions we'd drive all the way from north county to the LBC for our bucket of food on the table. We definitely had our fill on crustaceans, mollusks, corn, and sausage.

It's a shame to know, years later, that the crabs are frozen :( Ah well, I probably would've noticed it now since my taste buds have been more refined as I grew older.

 
At 12:17 PM, Blogger Diamond Dog said...

Some people think putting a bunch of crap in a bucket is creative, different, authentic, cute, charming, etc.

Bottom line, its still a bunch of crap in a bucket thrown across a table. Why would this be appealing?

Reminds me of The Crab Cooker in Tustin & Newport. Why is eating off paper plates and plastic forks a cool thing?!

 
At 1:13 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

whowantscandy,

It's a nostalgia thing for me too. We used to go there for special occasions years ago. But I think, like you, my tastes have grown up since.

DD,

HAHA! Well, if there's one thing I can say about you, it's that you don't mince words!

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

oh man, I wish you had a picture of the dessert!! (p.s. I am a complete sucker for cake mix, hehe :)

 
At 5:40 PM, Blogger KirkK said...

Hey Elmo - You know, sometimes its just nice to take a stroll down memory lane....but at $32 a crack, that's one heck of a stroll, even for the atmosphere.....

 
At 5:40 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

Ha, seafood looks absolutely delicious. I don't know why I'm mentioning this but for some "turf" I guess I really wanted to recommend this really great Japanese BBQ restaurant I've just been to. It's been popular for awhile but I thought I'd mention it. It's Tsuruhashi in Fountain Valley. They have the best Kobe beef ever, amazing prime tongue and delicious Jap beef tartare called yukke. I feel like an advertiser or something but I love reading your blog I wanted to share the most amazing restaurant I've been to in Orange County. address: 18798 Brookhurst St
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

 
At 10:22 PM, Blogger Wandering Chopsticks said...

I was here a few times and thought the concept was cool. But yeah, then you realize how much you actually pay for just a big boil. And the touted strawberry rhubarb cake didn't do anything for me. And now with all these Vnese-owned Cajun places, no reason to go back here.

 
At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Marvin said...

I can always count on you for an honest review Elmo. Thanks for that!

 
At 6:03 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Kathy,

I wish I did too, but alas, it was gobbled up before I realized I hadn't taken a pic.

Kirk,

You're right about that. Thank goodness I get only nostalgic about once a year. And we usually go for the middle of the road option. Still expensive at $22 a head.

Kevin,

Tsuruhashi has been in my list forever. I swear I'll be trying it soon. I swear!

WC,

Yup. You got it. The VNese crawfish places have made Crab Pot kind of moot. I didn't mention it outright, but that's exactly what was alluding to in the first two sentences of this post. And I heard Boiling Crab now offers fries! Oh wait...that was you!

Marvin,

No problem! I tells em as I sees em.

 
At 11:43 AM, Blogger cid404 said...

I've tried Crab Pot. I think i'll stick with Boiling Crab instead. More flavor.

 
At 3:57 PM, Blogger Chubbypanda said...

Mmmm... Crustacean tasties. I prefer mine fresh, though. There's really no excuse when we're this close to the ocean.

How are you guys doing with the fire? I heard your part of Irvine was getting evacuated. When I left for work this morning, the sky was flaming orange. It looked like Judgment Day. My herb garden has gotten completely thrashed.

 
At 4:48 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

cid404,

More flavor is right! Cheaper too.

CP,

I'm not sure I'd want to eat anything fished out of Long Beach Harbor though! ;-)

We're okay with the fires as of this writing. Last night's reports were scary though. The fireline was less than 2 miles from us.

Good luck and best wishes to those affected everywhere, especially our neighbors to the south in Foothill Ranch.

I was more personally affected by the power outages that knocked out the A/C and computers at work. It was so stifling and electricity was intermittent that we were told we to go home early.

 
At 6:27 PM, Blogger Deb said...

Isn't it a shame we can't get decent seafod without selling a kidney?? Friends have Legal Seafood (Boston) FedX crab in every year for Thanksgiving. Want the address??!

 
At 3:35 PM, Blogger melissa said...

the fire was scary yesterday, wasn't it? I must be very close to you at work - it was about a half mile from our office. freaky. :(

"Mary Kate Olsen (which in other circumstances wouldn't be bad)

hahahaha O_o

this joint reminds me of a couple of places in san diego (names escape me) - one in escondido and the other in encinitas. I thought they were kind of fun. at one I had stone crab claws though and learned I was allergic. *shudder* but they had good dungeness at the other. I didn't even know they were any of these places in OC.

 
At 12:58 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Deb,

Ah Legal Seafoods! I was at Boston and wanted to try it, so sorry I didn't get to. Found the address! And saving it for that special occasion.

Melissa,

I was going to use Calista Flockhart but that didn't seem as timely. HAHA!

There's Crab Cooker in Tustin and also in Newport Beach, and they're pretty much in the same vein. Expensive. But then it could be good or better. Boiling Crab in Westminster and Garden Grove are the way to go though...no ambiance to speak of...but MAN! GOOOOOD!

 
At 8:56 PM, Anonymous ST said...

Hi Monster Munching
I like your blog a lot, I want to leave a general message for you, but I can't find a place to leave it, thus I just write it here. Just a small suggestion: I am trying to browse the restaurant in Irvine, can you actually make it so that I can find it easier? Right now I am clicking into each name of the restaurant at the right side bar and see what location it is. If the location is named right after the name of the restaurant, it would be perfect. Please pardon my English, it is my third languages, I am bad in spelling and grammar. Thanks

 
At 8:22 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

ST,

I'll definitely do something to make it easier for people to search by city. That's a very good idea you have. I might also experiment with tags too. I'll do it with I get a free chance this weekend.

 
At 7:46 AM, Blogger Delta Boy said...

Nice review! Whenever I mention "The Boiling Crab" someone is always comparing it to "The Crab Pot".

Also in Long Beach, have you tried "Bubba Gump Shrimp"?

Keep up your great reviews!

-DB-

 
At 10:24 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Delta Boy,

I'm always doing the same thing too. Boiling Crab vs. The Crab Pot, The Crab Pot vs. Boiling Crab. Nowadays Boiling Crab ends up winning more often than not, but once in a while we say "Heck, let's go to the LBC!"

 
At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Emily said...

this is an excellent post...all that delicious food all over the table, wow.

and since this seems to bring back memories for so many, does anyone else remember steamers or is that just a Massachusetts thing?

 
At 9:18 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

emily,

Steamers? Well that sounds good too!

 
At 6:22 PM, Blogger Ami said...

This is sad. I was in Washington State this past summer and my friends took a large group of us there for this dinner. It was very good there. In fact, I don't like crab and found this delicious! It came out of the shell like you describe fresh crab doing. Perhaps in the Pacific Northwest, where the crab fishermen roam, it is a different show. I'm glad you went first, I think I'd be disappointed in the store here.

 
At 10:59 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Ami,

That makes sense. Since fresh crab is hard to come by here...or too expensive, I guess the local Crab Pot just can't compare. Although it's heartening to know that the Crab Pot in the Pacific Northwest are better.

 
At 5:14 PM, Blogger BRAD said...

I haven't eaten at the Crab Pot just because of the sub-par reviews and lack of appeal...but if your into a little TV trivia and nostalgia...The Crab Pot is located right in front of where the SS Minnow was docked in the opening to 60's TV show Gilligan's Island for season 2 and 3. Knowing this may make your dining experience there a little more enjoyable. Just be wary of any boat captains offering 3 hour tours after dinner.

 

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