Chomping down on the spindly, arachnid limbs of a softshell crab is one of early summer's great joys. It's this time of year that blue crabs shed their hard shells and can therefore be eaten whole, legs and all.
A handful of L.A. restaurants are serving the very seasonal seafood right now -- here are 5 places you can get your fix. (It should be noted that availability of softshells is always limited and you should call ahead to make absolutely sure these restaurants haven't sold out.)
5. WP24 by Wolfgang Puck is currently serving (at dinner only) an entree of crispy Maryland softshell crab, wok-fried with corn, basil and Thai red curry. And if you're in the mood to cook up some softshells at home, check out this recipe for Puck's softshell crab tempura (pictured above). 900 W Olympic Blvd.; 213-743-8824.
4. Jar, Suzanne Tracht's West Hollywood steakhouse, is serving softshells as a special right now, as either an appetizer or entree. It is very lightly dusted with semolina flour and served with a spicy mustard butter on the side. 8225 Beverly Blvd.; 323-655-6566.
3. Son of a Gun, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo's restaurant ode to seafood, currently has softshells on the menu that are tempura fried and served with pork belly and a soy ginger cucumber salad. "It's a-maaazing," the woman on the phone said. We believe her. 8370 W. 3rd St.; 323-782-9033.
2. Alma, Ari Taymor's downtown spot, is serving softshells, though the dish will change from day to day. Right now? They come with corn, miso, bacon and apricot. 952 S. Broadway.; 213-444-0984
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1. The Hungry Cat in Hollywood has softshells at lunch and dinner. For lunch, chef David Lentz is cooking up a softshell BLT. The crabs are beer-battered and served with remoulade, bacon, heirloom tomato and lettuce. For dinner Lentz is serving them cornmeal-dusted and pan-roasted with cornbread, bacon lardons, fava beans, ramps, spring onions and a green garlic and mustard butter. If you're not hungry after reading that description, maybe consider calling your doctor -- you might be dead. 1535 N. Vine St.; 323-462-2155.
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