Sunday, September 23, 2012

Crab Shack, St. Petersburg, FL

Oh, boy.  I guess I've been spoiled by  Keegan's and Frenchy's for cheap-yet-fresh-and-creative seafood offerings after spending the last few weekends on the Pinellas beaches. I do lubs me some no-frills pescatarian, crustacean and bivalve offerings when they're done right, but Crab Shack fell just short of being a Shrimp Warehouse-esque train wreck on the Sunday we visited.

Having passed it a million or so times over the past 25 years, the time was finally right to stop in.  Being a bit of a sucker for Florida waterfront kitsch, I'm really not sure how I managed to resist it for so long.  What could possibly look more inviting than this?  Okay...don't answer that.

My drive-by crush on Crab Shack ended so abruptly that it made a sleepover with John Mayer seem like long-term relationship. Interior crustiness is something I can sometimes overlook, but combined with screaming babies, a plethora of dead animals nailed to the walls (turtle shells, fish, alligator noses, etc.,....WTF, is this a campaign to turn me into a vegan?) and a general "Pinellas Park" vibe...well, you lose me.  Especially when your food kinda sucks, although I'll give a Redneck Gurl nod to the place for leaving their Christmas lights up all year.

Our fairly efficient and friendly server  warned Underdog right off the bat that the Oyster Stew was nothing more than milk, butter and oysters (four, to be exact)...but, hope springing eternal, he ordered it anyway.  What was presented was a thin, tasteless gruel that no amount of hot sauce or crackers could make special.  His bad.
The Blue Crab Claws with Garlic Butter already had the shells removed from the meaty section which provided awesome instant gratification...but their dry, stringy texture detracted from the potential of this app and pretty much screamed "freezer burn".
The tiny steamed clams were presented at room temp and so laden with sand that I feared for my tooth enamel.
UD's lightly breaded and  fried grouper cheeks were the shining star in this dining debacle in spite of the fact that they were flanked by limp french fries of the clearly frozen variety.   Fresh and sweet as they were, we were so intent on fleeing this place that no photo-documentation was obtained.

I found Crab Shack to be pretty much a deplorable dump overall. Visit at your own risk.

Crab Shack on Urbanspoon


  1. Hi there Sweet Polly - loved this review and hated the Crab Shack.

    We've been there a couple of times over the last several years, and each time seemed worse than the last for all of the reasons you mentioned - except for one.

    Their oysters on the half shell are pre-shucked and left to sit around all day developing a slimy and disgusting gelatinous sheen. I loves oysters on the half shell, but this treatment of these tasty delights is criminal.

    What a shame! A hundred years or so ago this place was pretty good. Oh well.

  2. Love your blog. Surprised we haven't run into each other as we seem to visit the same spots! I too love the Florida Kitsch theme but this place was way over the top and yes, definitely belongs in Pinellas Park!

    Went here for my birthday, it was disastrous! The best thing about it was the cold beer but even that was served in antiquated mini glasses.

    I recalled ordering a chicken sandwich because after the mouthful of grit and slime from my oysters I was scared to eat anythig else.

    Mom liked it, but if you knew mother, you'd take that as a warning!

  3. You're so right, Virginia! How did I forget to mention the tiny, cheapass beer glasses. Ugh.

    I think my mom and yours would've been friends. :)