I’ve come to the realization that I love meals that involve fingers. Hmm… that didn’t really come out right. I love meals that I can eat with my fingers? When I was in high school, my mom had a friend whose husband would bring over bags and bags of Caesar Salad. The ones in the bag that come with a dressing packet. I remember pouring dressing over the lettuce, still in the bag, shaking it up and eating it piece by piece right out of the bag. Using my fingers. It just tasted better that way, I think.
Every once in a while, we get in the mood for Ethiopian food - you know, various meats and lentils and veggies that you pick up with your fingers and wrap in the spongy injera bread? No utensils, just your fingers and some napkins. Tasty little morsels popped into your mouth. It’s a lot of fun!
And then, sometimes we get a craving for peel-n-eat shrimp. The ones where you tear off the head, peel off the legs, and dip the shrimp into lemon and butter. Mmm… You can get a good meal of bucket seafood at the Sand Crab Cafe, but the last time we were there I had an “encounter” with an oyster and I haven’t been able to go back (but their shrimp and crab legs are awesome, I promise!)
Luckily for us, the Crab Hut on Convoy is an equally good spot for shrimp, crawfish, and crab. It’s conveniently located in the same strip mall as O’briens, for those of you beer nerds. There’s also a new shabu shabu place that’s supposed to open soon, too. Crab Hut is a little cheaper than Sand Crab Cafe (I think), but Sand Crab Cafe often has buy-1-pound get-1-pound specials.
We went with a pound of the shrimp and crawfish mix (Cajun, mild), a cup of gumbo, and 2 blue crabs (Old Bay, mild). The blue crabs are priced by the pound, but you buy a certain number of whole crabs and then they tell you how much they weigh. Make sure they get this right on the bill! We were charged for 2 pounds of crab, even though they only weighed 1.3 pounds total (this was immediately fixed, though, so it wasn’t a problem).
When you order, you get a stylish bib, some limes, crab crackers, and a plastic container of salt and cracked pepper. All our food came out really quickly, so we broke open the bags and started to dig in. Now, doesn’t this look like a happy boy?
I apologize for the less-than-standard photos. I only had my iPhone with me.
The food comes in separate bags – the shrimp and crawfish came in one, the blue crab in another. They were both extremely hot (temperature), but we started with the smaller creatures while letting the blue crab (and gumbo) cool off. If you order just the crawfish, you get corn and sausage, but the shrimp and crawfish mix is just that. I started with a shrimp – pulled off the head, peeled it up, rubbed it in the lime and dipped it in the salt. You know how the sesame oil/salt mixture at Korean bbq makes everything taste better? That’s what the lime/salt does for the shrimp. So simple, but so tasty. Better than butter, I’d say.
By now, we’d had a couple critters and we ventured into the gumbo. This gumbo is slightly sweet but smoky and full of shrimp, sausage, and okra. And some rice. It was good. I kept alternating bites of shrimp and crawfish with a spoon of gumbo.
Now, I like crawfish, but I think that the work/meat ratio is seriously lacking. And I’m not all that impressed by the head-sucking. I mean, there’s just not a lot coming out of there. Then you have to crack the tiny tail to pull out the tiny meat and if you’re really willing to get your money’s worth you go after the tiny claws, too! But, if you’re into that kind of effort, I can vouch for the tastiness of the crawfish. It was soft and moist and didn’t have any evidence of being frozen (even though they were). But I’m still going after the shrimp. Because those shrimp were plump and tender and oh-so-delicious.
Halfway through the bag of shrimp/crawfish, we started to attack the blue crab. First, we went through the claws. Then we went after the legs. And then, T showed me how to open up the body, get rid of the gills, and stay away from the mucky yellow stuff. Boy, that crab meat was moist and tasty. I didn’t even both dipping it in the Old Bay boiling juice or the lime and salt. I just enjoyed the taste of the crab.
During this entire process, I also discovered I had a paper cut on my thumb. Fun times! Rubbing a cut into seasoned foods, lime, and salt!
After every last morsel had been picked (at least on my side of the table), I went to wash my hands. Twice. But this allowed me to take 2 more pictures for you!
I have no idea if that even looks appetizing to you. A pile of shells, tails, and the top of a crab. It reminds me of how good that meal was, so maybe that’s all that matters. We are definitely going back, it’s just a matter of when. And with whom.
Even though I was wearing a bib, I managed to spray crab bits all around me (I think I also lobbed a crawfish claw under the table). When we got home, the dogs were doing their normal “hello!” and the Sadie’s nose locked into the crab and she became glued to my sleeve.
They’re open for lunch, but I’m not sure I want to smell like shrimp and Old Bay in the office.