Today we were lucky enough to know someone with a reservation to the preview of Joe’s Crab Shack which opens on Monday. They do this so they can make sure everyone is ready for the Grand Opening and take limited reservations usually for friends and family of workers. Our reservation was for noon. As it turns out the woman Linda had been invited to go with was unable to go due to other family commitments so it was just the two of us.
When we went in they greeted us at the door and asked if we had ever been to a Joe’s Crab Shack before. We hadn’t, so they gave us a little bit of a run-down on how things work. They have a roll of paper towels at the table along with a small metal bucket for trash. It’s actually a pretty good idea considering how much of a mess you can make with crabs. They also have sinks at either side of the restaurant so you can wash up.
Our waitress, Paige, was very friendly and a bit bubbly without coming off air-headed. She explained to us how the preview works. They offer a limited menu including one appetizer for the table and a single entree for each person. They did offer drinks but since my wife and I had driven separately (she came from work), we passed – although the Shark Bite looked really good. We both have a very strict policy of not driving if we have had anything to drink.
We ordered the mozzarella sticks even though Linda would have loved to have tried the crab dip. They came out in a few minutes. While we waited, the wait staff all suddenly broke out in dance. It seems that they do that from time to time as we saw them do so twice while we were there. The manager had them do the second dance because the 2 year old at the table next to us loved the dancing. Most of the staff seemed to know what they were doing, but I did spot a few guys that looked like they were just kind of faking it and following along with what the girls were doing. Despite that, all of them looked like they really enjoyed working there.
The mozzarella sticks were really good. I wish we had more of them. They were nice and crispy without having the cheese all oozing out of them like some places. Shortly after we finished them our meals arrived. Linda ordered the crab steampot and I went with the seaside platter.
The crab steampot had potatoes and corn in addition to the snow crab. I didn’t have any of her potatoes or corn, although they both looked good and Linda finished them both. I did, however, try a small piece of the crab. I was a little surprised that it doesn’t really taste as bad as the steam coming off the pot when we make them at home. I can’t say I loved them, but I didn’t dislike them either. I will definitely give crabs another try – perhaps king crab next time. I’m not sure if they taste the same or not.
The seaside platter came with fish and chips, which is only partially why I ordered it. I could have gone with the sirloin steak. I wanted to try the scallops and shrimp that came with the platter as well. They were all fried. I didn’t catch which type of fish they used, but it was mild and tasted pretty good. I’m generally fine with a mild fish, especially if it is fried. I have more recently tried tilapia and salmon as well. The scallops were kind of an odd texture which was a little difficult to deal with, but they didn’t taste bad at all. I’m not sure if they were sea scallops or bay scallops. I know one of them is smaller, but I can’t remember which. They were the smaller variety. I think I may try them cooked differently to see if the texture is different to make they easier for me to swallow. The shrimp wasn’t quite what I expected either. I was not as fishy as I guess I kind of expected. They were a little better than the scallops as far as texture, but they still weren’t quite what I like.
Overall, I’d call it a limited success. I would certainly try the scallops, shrimp and crab again. For me, that is HUGE! I’m not quite sure what my aversion to them has been all these years. If anyone has a good recipe, I’d be willing to give it a try.
Oh, here’s perhaps the best thing about these previews – the food is free. That’s partly why I was willing to try something new. However, for those who missed out on the preview, the prices seemed somewhat reasonable. My seafood platter was around $16 and Linda’s crab pot was $22. I’m not really into seafood, but those prices seem typical for a dinner out.
If you haven’t yet been to a Joe’s Crab Shack, I would suggest going. It gets this fussy eater’s approval.