Summer Food: The Tastes of Summer: Soft-Shell Crabs

This may be our favorite part of the delicious summer season: the moment when a crab molts its shell and the sweet meat can be gotten at more easily — and more neatly. The only hard part? Deciding how best to prepare a soft-shell.

* At Striped Bass (1500 Walnut Street; 215-732-4444), pan-fried crabs are enhanced with sweet lychees, roasted peanuts and Thai coconut broth. * Fork (306 Market Street; 215-625-9425) uses a tempura batter and serves them with a coconut curry vinaigrette. * Chef Kibett Mengech presents them grilled with asparagus andpreserved lemon at Ansill (627 South 3rd Street; 215-627-2485). * At Fuji Mountain (2030 Chestnut Street;
215-751-0939), the crabs are the star of the spider roll, tempuraed and rolled with lettuce and a spicy sauce.