By Victor Borja
If one is looking for an experience of messily eating without utensils, then look no further because the Boiling Crab on Main Street and North Garfield Avenue offers just that.
Having nothing other than the smooth surface of the booths to rest your elbows on, eating with one’s hands can be messy. However, the taste is unrivaled. One may go through about a dozen napkins in one sitting.
It is a very interesting approach to the traditional fork-in-mouth operation of eating, especially when everyone else is doing it. For that very same reason, there is no room for judgment. Therefore, the frequenters of the Boiling Crab are not to be considered unmannerly because the workers do, after all, offer a complimentary bib.
If a moment of child-like eating does not sound enticing, let it not be the breaking point. The Boiling Crab is known for its signature crab legs and seasoning. The restaurant offers three distinct flavors of seasoning: Rajun Cajun, otherwise known as Original, Lemon Pepper and Garlic Butter. One may also ask for “The Whole Sha-bang” which consists of all of the aforementioned seasonings.
If one dares to go to the extremes to prove a point, one can go for the XXX level of spiciness, otherwise known as, “I can’t feel my mouth.” However, if one simply wants to enjoy their food without needing to ask for multiple refills, all of which are free, there are three other levels of spiciness: Medium, Mild or “plain ‘n’ simple” Non Spicy.
The gumbo is very true to its Louisiana origins. There is an assortment of celery, bell peppers, onions and the African fruit, okra. The stew also contains shrimp and sliced sausages. I enjoy the delicious stew with rice, which is how it’s served in Louisiana, the origin of the Boiling Crab.
However, one can order the gumbo without the rice. The gumbo has to be the real authentic Louisiana item on their menu that holds true with unmatched flavor and richness. The fried calamari is a great side dish that does not fail to meet the deliciousness criteria and one is recommended to order this well-prepared cephalopod.
If one does not have the curious tongue for sea food, one can be satisfied with an order of Cajun fries. As for other main dishes, one cannot go wrong with the shrimp and the craw fish is to die for. One must not, however, leave without trying the clams. If one were to skip out on any menu items, it would be the oysters on the half shell as well as the catfish basket.
The dishes were a little bland compared to the mouthwatering taste that is to be expected of the Boiling Crab. The estimated wait to be seated is 15 to 30 minutes on a busy night like Saturday. Nonetheless, the food is well worth the wait.
The atmosphere is very lively with ESPN or Sports Central playing on at least two of the numerous televisions propped around the restaurant. If one does not enjoy watching the television while eating, there are mainstream tunes playing in the background loud enough to enjoy, but faint enough to hear one’s date.
The chefs are very generous with the orders of fried calamari and Cajun fries. So if one does attempt to partake on this temporary stay of mouthwatering goodness in a bag, it is suggested that one go with what is known of first. And if ever a curious tongue calls for other flavors, then it is more than encouraged to express those curiosities.