The Crazy Crab: 10160 Fairfax Blvd Suite 102 Fairfax VA 22030; crazycrabrestaurant.com; (703) 272-7766, (703) 272-8890
This place opened in late August (Tuesday the 31st, to be exact). We’ve visited several times since then, having looked forward for so long to the grand opening. So far, among the highlights we’ve tried the Crab Balls and Cakes, and several pounds of Blue and Stone Crabs. We decide to focus where the menu does: on the seafood, naturally — especially the “crazy” namesake category — and leave the other fare alone. You can get chicken wings and mozzarella sticks anywhere; crab is where it’s at.
The Crab Balls are delicious — bite-sized and lightly breaded, you get more surface area of crunchiness than with the… Crab Cakes, which are creamy and even less lightly breaded. They’re as good as any we’ve had in NoVa. The Blue Crabs, of which we order a pound, are as expected — fully cooked and seasoned to your preference: Cajun, Garlic Butter, or Lemon Pepper. If you can’t make up your mind, the “Crazy Special” mixes all three. You also select the level of spiciness. We opt for Cajun, Hot, on the theory that a crab joint with “Crazy” in its name is confident in its mastery of Cajun-style. We love the flavor of the seasoning, and the heat does not disappoint. If ordering lobster or crab legs, we’d probably opt for the Garlic Butter.
The Blues and Stones both come with corn on the cob (one small cob per pound — if that), boiled potatoes and sausage. The corn is fresh and sweet and the sausage well and strongly seasoned. The potatoes are soft with the skins still on, very nice. When ordering take-out, it all arrives in the same plastic bag (in a bag in a bag), so if you don’t want your corn mixing with your crab or your sausage, best to request it beforehand. The service is friendly and they seem excited to be here. The Stone Crab (a one-pounder is pictured at top of page — we had two of those) is meaty and filling. Our waiter provides proof-of-weight at tableside before cooking.
Unless you order off the “fried” section of the menu, this is a do-it-yourself meal for the last-mile or last-minute from plate to mouth. Indeed, preparing a mess of crabs (or even just one) for the table is faster and simpler than getting the finished product to your face in edible form. Moreover, not everyone wants to see the food they eat looking lifelike, then go about deconstructing it like in some middle-school biology lab. That crowd can stick with the fried menu, hush puppies, and the complementary sweet potato waffle fries (see pic at bottom of page). We’re happy getting our hands dirty with our favorite crab cracker.
How does the new place compare to Captain Pell’s, across the street? Well, for one thing, Pell’s offers an all-you-can eat option for $55; the Crazy Crab version is $40. So the Captain has some stiff competition now, maybe especially for the patronage of the drive-homers. (Crazy Crab is on the north side of Lee Highway, while westbound commuters have to make a U-turn for Captain Pell’s.)
For all the frying going on at Crazy Crab, nothing we’ve tried here so far has been “too” oily. The (fantastic) onion rings above aren’t glistening out of the kitchen, are they? So your hands will get messy but not too greasy. We visit the Fairfax Boulevard Plaza pretty regularly for pickup from Smashburger; we’ll keep the Crazy go-menu in the car and call ahead.
♦ Captain Pell’s menu clickable here
♦ Heart, “Crazy on You,” from their “Dreamboat Annie” album… No word on what Captain Pell’s crab boat was named.
♦ Great British Chefs — “Taking Apart a Crab”
♦ This just in: “Old Bay crabby over New Bae: McCormick takes rival spice to court, claiming trademark infringement.” The article fails to mention that “Bae” is slang for “babe” and, similarly, for “Before Anyone Else.”