Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Food Field Trip Miami: My Favorite Crab

Joe's Stone Crab
My new year's resolution--such that I have one--is to finally clear out my backlog of draft blog entries, which is chock-full of a number of fantastic food finds, both near and far, discovered in late 2011.  I have been incredibly delinquent, but ideally that blogging procrastination stops now. So let's start with a blast of warm air and head south.

On the way back north after our incredible journey to Havana in early November, B and I soaked in two days of fun and sun in South Beach.  Lucky for us, the timing coincided with the beginning of stone crab season.  These over-sized clawed crustaceans rival the tender delicacy of a Maine lobster claw.  As a New Englander I did not think anything could compare to lobstah, but it's cousin claws awfully close!

Joe's Stone Crab is one of only a few truly historic Miami institutions, whether culinary or otherwise.  It opened its doors in 1913 and every year since, during stone crab season (October 15 - May 15), Joe's continues to bring old-school elegance and yesteryear glamour to South Florida.  Joe's pays homage to the sustainable harvesting of the crab--only serving it in-season--and its tuxedo'd waiters work tirelessly to serve the crowds.  But despite the formality of this restaurant, reservations are not accepted, so waiting is part of the deal. 

B and I managed to snag a patio seat (open seating with no wait) and enjoyed the traditional stone crab dinner platter, which was comprised of three lush tender claws accompanied by a tangy, citrus remoulade.  The claws are served pre-cracked, which is key, because like their name implies, their shells are quite hard; unlike Cheseapeake crabs, a (pre-cracked) stone crab claw requires very little effort for maximum return.  A hockey-puck sized hashbrown, spinach, and a sweet and sour coleslaw (smothered in plenty of relish) rounded out the plate. 

To complete this quintessential South Florida experience, the meal was capped with a sour yet sweet slice of absolutely delicious key lime custard pie that even Dexter would appreciate.

I highly recommend this experience if you find yourself in Miami during stone crab season.  For approximately $50 a person you too can fall in love with this most perfect of crustaceans.

Joe's Stone Crab on Urbanspoon

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