I had soft shell crab sandwiches at EVOO (on their new lunch menu) and Upstairs on the Square (Monday Club lunch menu) this week.
The sandwich at EVOO is a crisp fried crab served with a spicy tartar sauce and cole slaw on a soft bun. The crab was lightly battered and clearly cooked by someone who knows their way around a fryer: fried to a delicious golden-brown crunch. The creamy coleslaw provided a nice textual contrast, although I could have used a bit more heat in the habanero tartar sauce. Came with either fries or a side of habanero cornbread coleslaw -- I opted for the slaw, which had a nice kick. The crab was clearly fresh and pretty meaty and juicy. Overall a great sandwich, perfect with a glass of Cisco Brewery's Whale's Tale IPA.
The sandwich at Upstairs on the Square is more gently fried (described as 'corn toasted' on the menu) in a much lighter cornmeal based batter, served with yucca fries and jalapeno jam on a roll with spring greens (arugula and pea tendrils, I think). Crab was also quite fresh, and overall this is a bit more creative preparation than EVOO's version. The jalapeno jam had a very nice sweet/hot flavor that worked quite well with both the crab and the yucca fries (which were otherwise a bit undercooked and dry to my taste) -- too bad there wasn't more of it (should have asked for extra).
EVOO's sandwich is slightly cheaper ($13 vs $15), and EVOO has a much better beer list. But both were very tasty and a fine way to consume some delicious crabs.
Upstairs On the Square
91 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
350 Third Street, Cambridge, MA 02143
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