John Curtas is …

Holy Molting Batman! It’s Soft Shell Crab Season!

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As sure as the cool April winds give way to blistering, 100 degree days in our humble burg, you can be sure that the east coast delicacies known as Callinectes sapidus (“beautiful savory swimmer” – aka the Maryland Blue Crab) will be hitting our better restaurants, ready to be munched on whole, without the necessity of pounding, poking and pricking your way into all those crabby delights.

Yep….that’s right….you eat ’em whole, skin and all, biting right through the claws and the soft carapace to get to all that good meat.

What you are eating is an entire blue crab that’s shed its hard shell (molted its exoskeleton) at the beginning of the warm weather months. Here’s what they look like right before cooking:

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Cleaned and ready to cook

Once these sweet little swimmers are properly cleaned, they’re ready to be cooked and crunched on to your heart’s delight.

Back in his East Coast prime, ELV preferred his soft-shells in sandwich form: usually deep- or pan-fried then placed between two pieces of toast with lots o’ lettuce and tartar sauce. But dang it if Table 10‘s Tim Doolittle isn’t doing them to a fare thee well — in more sophisticated ways that have made a convert of us.

Dolittle’s signature dish this Spring is two, pan-fried soft shells served with fresh morels and fava beans, atop a sweet yellow pepper sauce. It might be as polished and poised a presentation as these little puppies ever perpetuated:

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…and is proof once again of how Table 10 continues to dazzle us with surprise after surprise of seasonal perfection.

So much so, that we at ELV think it deserves a spot as one of Las Vegas’s 50 Essential Restaurants…just as these crave-worthy crustaceans deserve proper consideration¬† in anyone’s crab catalogue or conversation :

The battered soft shell crab appetizer is $20, and those dual beauties with favas and Oregon morels will set you back $40 — a small price to pay for a taste of the Chesapeake Bay.


In the Palazzo Hotel and Casino

3327 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109


3 Responses to Holy Molting Batman! It’s Soft Shell Crab Season!

  • Forgot all about that preppie poster! Hilarious. Took me back to my undergrad days. Thanks!

  • I put the soft-shell blue at the top of the crab podium next to the beloved Dungeness. Thank you ELV. I know what I’m ordering for lunch when I’m in town next week!

  • Todd’s Unique has been doing softshells – and at a much lower price point than Table 10! Although Table 10 is an excellent option for just strip-goers.

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