Welcome to the fourth season of Shackin’ Up for the Summer. This year I’m switching things up just a bit. I’ll still track down and review a new batch of the best seafood shacks in South Jersey, but I’ll also revisit some of my favorite spots from years past – the “All-Stars” of Shackin’ Up – to check up on them, try some different items that I might have missed last time and make sure the experiences are still as good as I remember.
This week we are kicking things off with a Shackin’ Up All-Star that I haven’t been back to since 2018: Crabby’s Suds & Seafood in Mays Landing.
Crabby’s Suds and Seafood
1415 Route 50, Mays Landing
Go to Facebook.com/CrabbysSuds
Crabby’s is exactly the type of place we have all been missing since the pandemic began. Outdoor dining has its time and place, but I don’t care how lovely the view is, mother nature simply can’t replicate the feel of a small, rough-around-the-edges bar packed with mallet-wielding locals enthusiastically pounding the crap out of piles of freshly steamed crabs for hours at a time. It’s fabulous, and it’s back, and I for one am pretty happy about it.
Keep it:He-Crab Soup ($7.99): I loved it last time, and I loved it again this time. A creamy, yet not overly thick soup loaded with crab and a killer blend of spices, the He-Crab Soup is one of the signature menu items at Crabby’s and one spoonful is enough to understand why.
Seafood Gumbo ($7.99): If you aren’t big on cream soups, the seafood gumbo is a great alternative. Packed with big chunks of crab and with a nice kick to it, I thoroughly enjoyed my cup of gumbo. Is it the most authentic version of Louisiana gumbo I have ever tasted? No. But that’s OK.
Lobsta Roll ($18.99): Piled into a fantastic split-top brioche bun, the Lobsta Roll was served hot and loaded with butter, which I prefer to the cold style, which is really more of a lobster salad than anything. The meat itself was a bit more shredded than I normally enjoy, but the flavor overall was top notch, so I was able to look past that.
Steamed Dungeness Crab Clusters (Market Price): Crabs don’t come cheap anywhere, but Dungeness are often the best deal on a menu as they are incredibly sweet and flavorful and often a bit less pricy than some of their crab cousins like snow or king. A pound-and-a-half ran me $38.99 at Crabby’s, and they were worth every penny.
Golden Fried Shrimp ($20.99) Fried shrimp may be a no-frills item, but when done right they are still one of the greatest seafood dishes one can order. These easily fell into that category. And the light-as-air breading and superb homemade tartar sauce helped put these butterflied beauties over the top. A side of fries came with them, which also dunked well in the tartar sauce. An all-around home run.
Throw it back:Shrimp Jammers ($12.99): Fried shrimp breaded and stuffed with jalapeno cheese and served with a horseradish cream sauce for dipping. On paper this sounds awesome, but they were ultimately underwhelming. The shrimp were on the small size, the breading was too thick — and completely different from the one used on the far superior fried shrimp entrée — and overall the flavors were just not enough to wow me. Not dreadful or anything, but I wouldn’t order these again.