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For Stone Crab and More, See the Captain

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Now that stone crab season is upon us, you gotta see the Captain. It's Florida lobster season too, so you gotta see the Captain. And if you want live softshell crabs, fresh Cape Canaveral shrimp, pumpkin swordfish, spear-caught hog snapper and more, you gotta see the Captain. 

"The Captain" would be Capt. Frank's Seafood Market, an unassuming little place just off I-95 in Boynton Beach that, in an age when chain everythings swallow independent operators like a Great White with a mile-long tapeworm, refuses to be swept out with the tide. 

There was, in fact, a Capt. Frank. He was the grandfather of market founder Richard Parsons, who opened the Boynton location--the sister market to the original in New York--in 1986.

Nine years later seafood-savvy New Yorker, Joey Sclafani, bought the

Captain and set about turning it into one of the best fish markets in

South Florida. 

What sets Capt. Frank's apart from the rest is

both the quality and selection of its fish and shellfish; Sclafani buys

only from a handful of suppliers and directly from fishermen

themselves, breaking down all product in-house. "We cut everything

here," he says. "We don't buy anything pre-cut." 

And unlike

most markets, where the selection is usually grouper, mahi, yellowtail,

farm-raised salmon, frozen shellfish and maybe some clams or mussels,

Frank's gets the stuff that hard to find most anywhere else. Three

kinds of clams, Chilean sea bass, Scottish salmon, Key West pink

shrimp, tiny (and fresh) bay scallops, cobia, sushi-grade tuna and, if

things work out, maybe live Dungeness crab, not to mention everything

mentioned a few grafs up.  

Of course, none of this comes

cheap--no seafood worth eating really is--but for what you'll pay at

Whole Foods or the reeking fish counter at Publix, you can get seafood

that looks, smells and tastes like it's fresh out of the water. 

BTW,

the season's first batch of stone crabs are sweet and tasty (Frank's

Joe's-style sauce is a good complement), and though our recent spate of

hot weather left the little fellas rather sluggish, the cold front that

came through earlier this week stirred them up again, raising hopes

that this might be a good season for crabbers who desperately need one

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