The Crab Spot officially opened for business yesterday afternoon in the space last occupied by PSbklyn, on Union Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. I dropped by last night, and I certainly see a lot of promise here.
The restaurant was about half full at 7:30, and all the usual pitfalls of opening night (slow service, confused wait staff, etc.) were nowhere to be found.
The menu (found in full below, after the jump), is clearly focused on the big pots of shellfish, which will be the restaurant's main claim to fame, but there are plenty of other options as well. Non-seafood items include ribs, a burger, two steaks, and chicken payard. There are plenty of options of fish, shrimp, scallops, and combinations thereof, along with fish and chips and New England clam chowder. Appetizers include peel and eat shrimp, crab cakes, fried calamari, baked clams, and mussels. There are a few salads, a few desserts, as well as a children's menu that includes the usual kiddie food (hot dog, hamburger, chicken fingers, etc.) as well as a few pleasant surprises including smaller portions of their steam pot (even though I imagine it would be incredibly frustrating for a hungry kid to try to break down snow crab legs). There's also a full bar, a solid cocktail list, and a handful of draft beers.
But I was there there to try the crabs. I settled on the Crab Royale, which came with dungeness crab, snow crab, king crab, corn on the cob, and potatoes. The Old Bay seasoning I ordered it with came through in every bite, and the crab itself was very good (and in fact a lot of messy fun to eat; wear the bibs provided). One word of advice, though: these aren't big enough to fill two people up, so order an appetizer if you are going to share.
A few issues: The potatoes and corn were cold and mushy, laying down pre-crab paper onto the table (and removing it afterward) was a bit awkward, as I had to help the waiter lift everything off the table (resulting in a spilled water glass), and the beer I ordered had an odd taste.
HOWEVER: And a big however. This was opening night. Kinks are acceptable, and indeed understandable. The corn/potato issue was mentioned to the very friendly and knowledgeable manager, and he apologized and promised to rectify the situation.
As I mentioned earlier, there's a lot of potential here. A dependable place to come with a group and order a few steaming pots of crabs and shellfish can do very well in this neighborhood, and service is already on point. As with any new restaurant (especially in this space) only time will tell if it succeeds, but I think they're off to a very promising start.
Click through for the full menu (click for larger images).
The Crab Spot, 833 Union Street Brooklyn NY 11217. 718-622-2722.