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Stone crab claws

Old Jan 10th, 2005, 07:20 AM
  #1  
Karyn
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Stone crab claws

Does anyone know of a good place in or near Tampa for stone crab claws?
 
Old Jan 10th, 2005, 09:33 AM
  #2  
cd
 
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I'm going to top this for you as I'm sure some of our Florida people will be able to answer that. I do know that they have a season but do not know when their season starts and stops.
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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 09:52 AM
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I think you would get more replies if you put "Tampa" in your question. Your question gets posted on the entire US board.
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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 09:55 AM
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A semi-answer, based on vague but positive recollecctions.

A place in Clearwater with a name something like Crabby Jack's.

Big room, picnic-style tables, ecxcellent seafood, reasonable prices.

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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 09:56 AM
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Google tells me Crabby Bill's, in both Clearwater Beach and St. Petersberg

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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 02:24 PM
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Are you talking about a restaurant or a place to buy them for take-out? Here's my opinion for what it's worth it. A restaurant does nothing to the claws. They come to them already cooked on the boat when the claws are removed from the crab and then packed on ice. They are horribly messy to eat. I suggest you go to a good fish market and buy them and do them as a "picnic" or meal in. Get good and messy and enjoy. By the way they are now very expensive, but they will be about twice as expensive at a restaurant as in a store.
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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 07:47 PM
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Patrick's right, but you just have to learn this for yourself, Karyn.

I'm not sure about this but the Colonnade used to have a fairly decent stone-crab meal. Like a dozen for a reasonable price, cracked and with drawn butter. Ordinarily, I wouldn't recommend them but this was one thing that they did well. You might want to call to make sure they have them because otherwise you'll be stuck eating geriatric tasteless food (although I see they have a sign out front now bragging about their grouper sandwich).

Also, I think Shells has stone crab claws. As for buying from a grocery, Publix often has them, Castellano & Pizzo has them.

There's a place in St. Petersburg called Mid-Peninsula Seafood. They have them, this is a great spot for unpretentious fresh seafood, the freshest!

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Old Jan 11th, 2005, 04:13 AM
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Oystercatchers has them. Joan?
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Old Jan 11th, 2005, 04:34 AM
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I'm blushing TGirl! (Karyn, I own Mid Peninsula and yes we have stone crabs). Anyway, the season is Oct 15 thru May 15, and I agree with Patrick (no surprise right?) They are sloppy and wonderful! Do not buy them from a grocery store - the stone crabs I've seen at Publix etc are not the same variety as the local Florida crabs. If I didn't own a place, (and heck even tho I do!)I'd go to Billy's Stone Crab on Tierra Verde - water view, picnic tables, and decent prices. They even have a cute little free water taxi over to the local sandbar. Also Frenchy's in Clearwater, but from Tampa it's much easier to take the Pinellas Bayway to Tierra Verde and go to Billy's. Here's the url for Billy:

http://www.billysstonecrab.com/
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Old Jan 11th, 2005, 05:17 AM
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Joan's the real thing here, a florida seafood expert with stone crabs swimming in her brain. Sleepless nights rushing to market. I'd take her word on this as the last word
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Old Jan 11th, 2005, 07:07 AM
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Since we're on the subject, I've never gotten the idea of Joe's Stone Crabs in South Beach, Miami. Why in the world would someone go to a place which is basically pretty formal, has tuxedoed waiters, and then wait for an hour or more and put up with rudeness and a sense of "and are you important?" just to sit down and eat prepared stone crab claws? It just never made sense to me. Sort of like going to a very formal restaurant and saying "bring me the whole boiled lobster with corn on the cob please".
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Old Jan 11th, 2005, 07:40 AM
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Patrick,

Though a former patron of Joe's, I agree.

I think Joe's is like Scoma's in SFO and Anthony's in BOS; an old standard, and it's nice to say that you've been there.

But great stone crabs, it seems, are like great lobster - consumed in cutoffs and a tee shirt, preferably outside, with beer from a can....
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Old Jan 11th, 2005, 09:29 AM
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I've never been to Joe's, but I have their recipe (From Miami Spice cookbook) for stone crab sauce that is wonderful.
YYYUUUMMM a fav of mine!
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Old Jan 11th, 2005, 10:57 AM
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Joan had recommended Billy's to us and they were wonderful!!! We wished we had not ordered anything else but lots of Stone crab and wine/beer. We also purchased from Mid Peninsula and found it to also be wonderful!
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 09:25 AM
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ok..I'm hooked! I would love to try stone crabs while I'm in St. Petes area in February. Never having had them before, how does one eat them? Are they like a lobster where you crack em open and dig out? Any parts not to eat? And how much should one expect to pay for a feast of them in Feb?
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 09:53 AM
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The stone crab claws are remarkable in so much as only one claw can be legally taken from the stone crab, the larger one, so that the crab is not left defenseless. Then the crab grows back the claw! Now, isn't that swell of Mother Nature?!? They are served pre-cracked (but with shell on) because the crab shell is so dense and thick, thus the name stone crab. They can be served warm or cold with either drawn butter or seafood sauce (ketchup & horseradish), or the sauce from Joe's which I think is a mayo with mustard sort.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 11:29 AM
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TG's right. Do a google and you can see what they look like. There are many sites that offer this delicacy...but OUCH are they expensive via the net.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 11:38 AM
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You'll pay about $25 - $50 for a one-pound dinner, which is about 2-6 claws, depending on size. And actually, it is legal to take BOTH claws now - but they have to be a minimum size 2 3/4". And not all places crack 'em ahead of time (yeah you guessed it). They are so sweet and delicious, many times I've made the sauce, only to look up at the end of the frenzy and realize I didn't even use any! My husband has this silly industrial cracker mechanism he had made up. But I like just using a nutcracker and holding them in palm and cracking all over, kind of like you do with a hardboiled egg. Then you pick off all the shell and voila! if you're good (and haven't drank too many beers yet) you have one big piece of meat to devour. THere is a cartilage in the center which you slide between your teeth, kind of like artichokes. And canuck, there's no bad part - don't forget the joints - there's lots of meat there too. Anyway, this is probably waaay too much detail. Enjoy!
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 11:55 AM
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joan, I'm sorry to hear they allow taking both claws now. Hard to imagine how the poor crab will get around! And how to eat?!?
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 12:01 PM
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I guess I was thinking you got one big crab! Is one lb. enough for one person? We'll definitely try Billy's when we're there. Sounds like a "Floridian" experience!
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