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Restaurants & Bars 10

Soft-Shelled Crabs '01

AHR | May 17, 200109:28 PM

This week, I tried the little buggers at two favorite places, Le Jardin Bistro and NY Noodletown (yes, I'm sorry, neither is anyone's special top-secret discovery, but if it's any comfort, Noodletown was dropped from Zagat's this year) with mixed results.

LE JARDIN. The crabs were perfectly prepared with a brown-butter, garlic, and parsley sauce so good that I finished it with a spoon. Unfortunately, the flesh itself was slightly mushy, bespeaking crabs not killed to order. What did Bourdain have to say about Tuesday seafood? Everything else -- tuna tartare, carrot soup, bouillabaisse, rack of lamb, the wine, the garden -- was delightful as always.

NOODLETOWN. Last year, I found the crabs so huge, delicious, and reasonably priced that I had them at least weekly all season. Today's were impeccably fresh, but not so delicious as I recalled: cornstarch coating too thick and tough, insufficient salt, little taste of the hot green peppers, no quite so sweet as remembered. They were nothing less than very good; had I not tasted them last year I might not have been disappointed, but I had, so I was. I'll try again next week.

Has anyone had outstanding SS crabs so far this year?

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