Soft Shell Crab season is here!

On the East Coast the season for soft shell crab runs from April thru September, starting in the south then moving its way up the coast to the popular Chesapeake harvest. I am a big fan. Soft shells sauteed, soft shell sandwiches with all the trimmings. Here in the New York area, they should become more available in markets and restaurants in May. Hoping the prices are reasonable this year. How do you like them prepared? Do you have a special venue that serves them? Please share…


Lightly dusted in a starch and fried in sandwich with a good remoulade. No other adornment needed.

Point Loma in San Diego shoves it in between sourdough with a nice remoulade.


Are they local crabs?

Not in San Diego!

So do they arrive frozen? Or is there a West Coast variety?


No soft-shell crabs are native to the West Coast.

So they’re all “previously frozen.” I’ve found that true with Dungeness frequently. Deal breaker for me.

No, sometimes they’re live.

Where do they come from?

Where this?

Anyone know LA restos selling fresh soft shells right now?

East Coast.

Saigon Social, Orchard St. in Manhattan.

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Soft shells will be all over the East Coast by May. Most aficionados enjoy them from the Chesapeake area. Getting them live is best. They are seasonal and delish!

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So they fly them in live?

It’s done with lobsters and oysters all the time. I can’t imagine crabs would be any more difficult.


SF restaurants have gotten them live. I don’t know about retailers.

Maybe they come frozen like this.

Or not frozen, like this.


Has anyone cooked soft shell crabs from frozen? I see them at some wholesalers and avoided them because 1) that’s a lot of crab and 2) I’m assuming there’s a drop off in quality once frozen. However, if you’re just breading and frying them or whatever is the presumed drop off in quality so dramatic as to be inedible?

I’ve been wondering this for a while since I’ve had decent enough fried soft shell crab sandwiches from venues that almost certainly would’ve been using frozen product.

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