It turns out that every Tuesday in the summer the entire place becomes a giant crab feast. Reservations are made online and prepaid the Wednesday prior. The prime outdoor seating doesn't open until Friday. I was having some trouble with the system and Donnie called me back to alert me that he was opening the outdoor seating and I should try then, it worked like a charm and I snagged seats for Gramercy Guy, the Senator, and me.
How the crab boil works...
You have your seat at a communal table for up to 2 hours.
First up was a hearty piece of corn bread that came with some pickled veg on the side and a nice jalapeno butter. The bread was good, but the plate only came with one knife so it was odd sharing the same utensils with total strangers.
Then comes buckets of hot seasoned crabs thrown on the middle of the table
While the crabs are not all you can eat per se, they sort of are. Seasoned in Back Forty's take on old bay (it wasn't as spicy as old bay and had a hint of cumin), the crabs were large, meaty, and delicious. I ate until my neck hurt from looking down for so long and the cuts on my finger from the claws were in need of attention, which by the way has always been my signal that I've had enough crab.
I can't really talk about the corn or the potatoes, (2nds, and 3rds are also available for these, you just have to ask) other than they looked nice because I don't like to fill up on other things when there are tasty crabs to be had.
For dessert, the newspaper is rolled up and all remnants of shells and mallets are gone. You're given a hot towel to clean up and brought a piece of cobbler.
I loved the wait staff who got our sarcasm, I just hope none of them went home to look for crab carcass jewelry on etsy.com. My only issue (and it's minor but I believe in full disclosure) our reservation was at 6:30 and we weren't seated until about 6:45 and still asked to wrap it up by 8:30. In hind sight, I didn't need the extra time for crabs, but did feel like we couldn't bask in the sweetness of the cobbler and stretch our aching necks and I might have. Is is a deal breaker for next time, absolutely not.
I must admit, I was skeptical, how would a cool NY joint do an authentic crab boil, but having been, I can tell you they can do it well. It's worth it ($59.99 including tip and tax). And I can't wait to do it again.
A gorgeous night, a cold beer, crabs, and great friends, besides a manicure, what else can a girl ask for?