Order Up: We've Got Crabs!

This week in Dish, it's a crab adventure. But not just any crabs -- blue crabs from Florida's Gulf and East coasts, prepared Maryland-style or doused in garlic oil. To get this fix, we ate at two local institutions of crabbery -- Riggins Crabhouse in Lantana and Rustic Inn in Fort Lauderdale -- and put them to the test.

To aid me in my briny blue journey was a self-professed crab expert named Fenton Stanley Ridgeway IV. Ridgeway, who spent his formative days eating crabs along the Chesapeake Bay, gave me a detailed primer on how to properly eat an authentic Maryland steamed blue crab. You'll have to read the review, online now, for the whole, raw deal. Here's a little excerpt from it to tide you over.

I ask Ridgeway to show me how he makes eating the hard-shelled crabs look so easy, so he gives me a demonstration. He scoops up a fresh steamed blue crab, its shell now bright-red and caked in Old Bay seasoning, and turns it over. "This is the apron," he says, pointing to a T-shaped bit of shell wedged into the crab's belly. He slips a paring knife -- one he brought from home -- underneath the apron and peels it back. With a flick of his wrist, the top of the shell snaps off, exposing the crab's multilayer interior.

The inside of the crab looks like a Jackson Pollock painting -- a mess of yellow, gray, and brown with no discernible meat in sight. Again, Ridgeway makes it seem easy. "These gray-looking fingers are the lungs. Don't eat those. They'll make you sick." He plucks the fingers out and discards them in a wooden bowl. "The yellow stuff is the mustard. Some people like to eat that. I don't."

I try the mustard, also known as the crab's hepatopancreas, a digestive gland. It's deep, briny, and pungent. I love it straight away.

We've also got a slideshow of photos from Rustic Inn available. Take a look here.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories