There are only two reasons why we get so giddy when soft-shell season comes around, two reasons why we like eating them at all:
- Eating soft-shell crabs is a no-fuss way of eating crabs (which is an otherwise very fussy experience with the shell on).
- It makes us feel alive.
Digging into them with a fork and knife — really, eating any animal whole like that — is a pretty primal experience in itself.
But let’s take it a step further, shall we? Let’s chomp into them without using any utensils at all. Let’s just stuff them between bread and rip into them like the beasts that we are. We’re at the top of this food chain, so we might as well act like it.
Below, find 9 places in Philly serving the soft-shell crab in sandwich-form:
ITV, East Passyunk
Despite having a highbrow drink list, Nick Elmi’s East Passyunk bar never seems to take itself too seriously. His caviar set comes out like a seven-layer dip, he throws parties with turkey-shaped shot luges, and chef de cuisine Kyle McCormick’s tempura-battered soft-shell hoagie (with orange-espellette mayo and green tomato slaw) arrives on an Amoroso roll, lightly toasted. $15
Sancho Pistola’s, Fishtown
Adan Trinidad’s soft-shell tacos make their return to the Fishtown on soft flour tortillas with a healthy drizzle of chipotle mayo.
Fitler Dining Room, Fitler Square
Fitler Square’s neighborhood bistro just rolled out its early-summer menu, and on it is a New England-style soft-shell roll. Mayo-dressed crab on brioche with chips. $24
The Dutch, Pennsport
Joncarl Lachman and Lee Styer’s neighborhood bruncherie just launched weekend dinner service, and only then can you get the soft-shell crab po’ boy. One order gets you one-and-a-half crispy crabs with
Bud & Marilyn’s, Midtown Village
Marcie Turney’s soft-shells come chicken-fried, topped with pickled carrots and jicama, and drizzled with herbed buttermilk and house hot sauce — all on a brioche bun. Lunch-only, $14.
Oyster House, Center City
Brett Naylor’s soft-shell BLT is zinged up with cajun remoulade, pickled green tomatoes, bacon, and, of course, lettuce and tomato on brioche. Lunch-only, $14.
Southwark, Queen Village
Southwark’s chef-owner Chris D’Ambro is going the po’ boy route built on a homemade Parker House roll with tomato, lettuce, and pickled ramp tartar. $15
Prohibition Taproom, Callowhill
Val Strejewski’s sandwich keeps it as a simple bar sandwich with fried crab, local tomato, iceberg lettuce, and ramp mayo on a soft roll. $15
Opa, Midtown Village
Chef Bobby Saritsoglou’s rendition comes lightly battered in sweet corn sauce with grilled asparagus, watercress, and served on a house made olive oil bun. $14
Soft Shell Crabs [Foobooz]