With the recent openings of The Boil and Claw Daddy’s, the Lower East Side has become crustacean nation. And now the East Village has a contender with the opening of Red & Gold Crab Shack.
The seafood spot soft-opened on St. Marks Place just hours ago, putting what used to be Japadog’s sidewalk patio back into play. The place bllls itself as a “boat-to-table” restaurant — and means it literally. According to our waiter, its proprietors are also involved in the Atlantic Red Crab Company and many of their crabs are caught on the company’s boat, the Hannah Boden of Deadliest Catch fame.
Red & Gold (not to be confused with Blue & Gold nearby) takes its name from the color of its crabs: you can choose between a 1.25- to 1.5-pound Atlantic red crab ($35), a 2- to 2.5-pound Florida golden crab ($45), or a 1.5-pound Maine lobster ($40). (Word to the wise: the red crab, which we were told was caught in the Northeast, was plenty filling, even for someone who hadn’t eaten all day and was feeling, well, crabby.) The crustaceans are served in a bag full of your choice of sauce (butter, Old Bay, lemon pepper, or garlic butter, the smell of which permeates the dining room) along with the ingredients they were boiled with: corn on the cob, potatoes, and a handful of mussels and shrimp (you can add another half pound of mussels for $6, and another half pound of shrimp for $10). Once the bag hits your table you strap on a bib (if you’re a ninny) and eat with your hands (or with plastic gloves, if you’re a ninny). Of course, there’s a metal bucket to toss scraps into.
In about a week, the menu will expand to include appetizers like conch fritters and ceviche — and beer and wine is coming soon. In the meantime, hey, it’s St. Marks Place: nobody’s going to stop you from brown-bagging it.
Blue & Gold Crab Shack, 30 St. Marks Pl., bet. Second and Third Aves.