As a South Jersey girl Blue Crabs are a delicacy like none other! The meat from blue crabs is sweet and delicate, perfect for crab cakes or just about anything that calls for crab. Snob that I am I will only purchase local crab meat for my recipes. However I am open to new ideas especially when food is involved. So in Santa Barbara at Stearn’s Wharf, I was introduced to Spider Crab! My sister and her husband raved about this tiny restaurant at the very end of the Wharf known as the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company! The actual restaurant was filled with tanks of fresh shell fish; Spider Crab, Spiney Lobster, Rock Crab as well as Dungeness Crab. Surrounding the open kitchen was a formica counter with wooden bar stools that also wrapped around along the windows that looked out on the bay. Every stool was occupied by a patron happily devouring their shellfish of choice accompanied by onion rings that made me drool! Outside attached to the restaurant were four small tables also filled with patrons. On a post by the door hung a clip board to which we added our name and began our wait. There was never a doubt that this would be a gastronomic event well worth the wait. In years past my husband and I would meet my sister and her husband in Delaware. The four of us would spend a long weekend eating dozens of blue crabs in various small towns along the Chesapeake. They know Crab!! So we ordered a bottle of wine and began our wait which lasted about 45 minutes. We were lucky and snagged a table outside. Our waiter explained a few specials and took our order. Cups of clam chowder, shrimp bisque along with onion rings and a 10 pound Spider Crab for us to devour. In past trips to California I have had Dungeness crab which is good however nothing like Blue Crab. Spider Crab on the other hand was delicious with huge legs and enormous body! A thick shell protects the sweet meat within. A true competitor to my Blue Crab!
Spider Crab Santa Barbara, CA