Dining Chicago

Got Crabs?

Everyone knows fall is prime time for pumpkin, apples, cranberries, and pecans. But don't overlook the almighty crab. While not the most obvious fall delicacy, certain varieties of the crustacean are at their seasonal apex, and restaurants are taking advantage by serving up crab specials and crab-focused menu updates. Here's where to get your crab on: 


Del Frisco's
King crab at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse

'Tis the season for Alaskan king crab. The coveted ingredient is getting its due time in the spotlight with a couple restaurant promotions these days. One is a full-fledged week-long king crab menu at The Hampton Social. The River North restaurant will feature a handful of crab dishes from November 9 through November 15. It's a unique opportunity to savor this prized crustacean, whose fishing season is so restricted and limited that fresh crab is only available for a few weeks a year. Available for lunch and dinner, the special crab menu features a king crab salad with sesame-orange dressing, avocado, jicama, and cilantro; a wood-fired king crab dish with bacon creole butter; and a king crab wood-fired pizza with knuckle meat, pickled chilies, tomato jam, and arugula.

Another restaurant christening the precious king crab season is Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse. The Gold Coast beef bastion turns its attention to the surf side of the menu equation for a bit, offering specials through the end of this week. The crab here is as fresh and pristine as it gets, served unadulterated by the pound ($55) or the half pound ($27.50). The wild-caught oceanic goodness comes direct from the chilly waters of Dutch Harbor. 

King crab reigns supreme this time of year during this tiny window of opportunity, but there are plenty of other prized crabs to be had in restaurants this season, from Dungeness to snow. The Dawson is serving a Dungeness crab cocktail as part of its new fall menu, complete with avocado, lemon, horseradish, cocktail sauce, and a housemade saltine cracker. 

Snow crab takes the plate at The Commons Club, where chef Rick Gresh is serving the shellfish as a larger plate called "angry claws." It gets its fierce name from the inclusion of chili butter sauce and grapefruit. 

It's an upscale surf and turf at Acadia, wherein crab teams up with veal and marrow. The crab in question is peekytoe, served alongside veal cheek and bone marrow. 

Hot on the heels of Swift & Sons' anticipated opening, the restaurant is gearing up to open a seafood-focused restaurant-inside-a-restaurant called Cold Storage later this month. When the forthcoming restaurant opens, it will feature a sea of dishes, including a wedge crab salad and shellfish towers. 

It's a nautical bonanza at Piccolo Sogno Due, where the recently invigorated menus contain a taglioni dish packed with seafood. The thin pasta gets a splash of sea urchin butter to accent the crab meat, which gets seasoned with garlic and parsley. 

Then there's Intro, newly under the direction of incoming chef-in-residence Stephen Gillanders. For the restaurant's first ever a la carte menu, one of the appetizer options is a plate of crab fritters with pickled ginger remoulade. 

- Matt Kirouac

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