Out of all the great food I had during my time in the Keys. My favorite was the stone crab. More than the empanada, more than the key lime pie. And a semi closet tree hugger one of the things I like best about stone crab is the way it’s caught. They break off one claw. The bigger one and leave the second claw so the crab can protect itself. They toss the fish back in the ocean and it grows the claw back. So technically your not killing a fish. I find that really cool. If you live there you could fish for your own stone crab. How cool would that be. I’m not sure how tough it is to cook. I know they chill it right away so it can’t be too tough. The machine they use the break the shell also I’m guessing you could find that used. I tried to get a good look of that but it looked like a metal device.
It’s Served Cold
Stone crab is served cold because it’s easier to get the meat out when the shell is cold. The meat won’t stick to the shell. One thing unique about stone crab is that it has a very hard shell. You can’t use a pair of scissors to cut through the shell. I had king crab when I got home form my trip and the shell was half as strong on the claws.
Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
I had stone crabs a few times and everyone served it with a different dipping sauce. I still like melted butter, which most places only give you on request so don’t forget to ask from melted butter. Everyone seems to serve the stone crab with.a mustard dipping sauce. My understanding is that the Restaurant Stone Crab made this famous. I didn’t get to that restaurant because everyone told me it wasn’t that good. If I realized how much I was going to love stone crab I would have gone anyway. But by the time I was ready for more crab we just ran out of time. On the top of my list for when I return is to try that restaurant and if for no other reason that to try their honey mustard dipping sauce.
As a big fan of honey Mustard I want to post my recipe because it’s super easy to make.
Honey Mustard Recipe
1/2 cup mayo (Hellmann’s and Best Foods)
1/4 cup honey (brand of honey doesn’t make much difference in my opinion)
1/4 mustard (try Grey Poupon the first time you make it)
I know Grey Poupon is a little more expensive. But the kind of mustard you use has a big affect on the flavor.
Mix those 3 ingredients together and you will have the best honey mustard ever. I think this simple recipe is better than anything I had with the stone crab in the Florida Keys
I saw that Martha Stewart has a key lime sauce. Which I want to try.
Usually they serve the crab pre-cracked. I think they put it in a machine that does this and makes it fairly easy to eat. I still think it would help if they served it with a mallet. You can use the cracker as a mallet if you hold the crab in your hand and hit it gently a few times. This way you don’t smash the meat under the shell. At least the guy sitting next to me in the restaurant advised that. I think he was getting tired of the crab flying all over the place. And it’s possible he got squirted in the eye with crab juice.
Best Stone Crab
The best stone crab I had was at Two Friends. It’s a patio restaurant with cool tiki lights and live music. One afternoon we went and enjoyed a massive thunder storm with the water flooding the part of Front Street in front of the restaurants. I had Stone Crab there twice and it was perfect both times. The place generally has great service. I went with my friend once because I raved about it so much he wanted to go and because I had just left there I didn’t get anything. We ended up getting an older women who when we asked her what we should get with the crab said I don’t know. What ever you want. Which isn’t really what we wanted to hear. I think she either didn’t care or was just not capable of making a recommendation. Which annoyed my friend. But the secret at two friends is get a side of broccoli. They do that really well and it’s nice to have something like that or a salad with stone crab in my opinion. I’m not sure why everyone sees stone crab ala cart. I paid from !9.99 here for the crab up to $30 a plate at other places. At that price point you would think they could give you a little Cole slaw or something on the plate.
Anyway back to Two Friends. My fiancé ordered the coconut shrimp. I have to say that was the best coconut shrimp I ever had. I love stone crab but man they make great shrimp at this place. We didn’t love the Pina colada because they make it too strong. But if you want a stiff drink you might want to go here.
The other thing I wish I got a picture was that everyone was wearing blue t-shirts for Danny Young for mayor. I guess he’s the owner. I hope he wins if he can run the city like he runs his restaurant. Most of the employees are really cool. We had two really great servers and with the acceptation of the older lady that one night I just really loved everyone there. The hosts also really impressed me. I like to ask a lot of questions and they not only had interesting things to share about the restraint but also the city in general.
My suggestion is to make this your first stop when you get to Key West.
Worst Stone Crab
Eaton Street Seafood Market
A few things about this place that really bothered me.
1) the stone crab didn’t seem as fresh as everywhere else. It was little slimy. I had 4 claws here and they all had a little slim factor. Out of the dozen other claws I had while on vacation only one claw has this.
2) out door seating only. It’s warm. In the sun. No fan or cool breeze. I guess other places are out doors too but this place just didn’t seem comfortable.
3) Lazy employees. I felt like they just didn’t care. Not particularly helpful. The only thing we could find that was not seafood was the chicken fingers which I suspect is from the kids menu. Really good chicken fingers. I liked that better than the fish. I think it’s because I love chicken with the honey mustard.
4) Sauces suck
their honey mustard sauce was the only one I had that I didn’t like. They didn’t give cocktail sauce or butter with the order. And the French fries came with a tiny little side of ketchup. When we asked for more we got an attitude and had to wait a while. I just spent $30 on fish do you have to go cheap on the ketchup. I didn’t get it.
5) Confusing high ratings
It’s very possible that I just had a bad day and I was unlucky. But the prices here is higher than most restaurants. It’s a hole in the wall. And it’s not particularly good. At least my impression of the food is that it was one of the worst meals I had and most expensive. Why does this place have a high score. To me this is 3 star at best 3.5 stars.
Trust me on this please script this place. If you are on vacation go to a real restaurant. the food took a long time also. Why eat at a take out window place when you can get better food, real service and spend less in one of the many great restaurants.