NEWTON – Seafood lovers, this is a place you need to put on your Bucket List. Shaking up the food scene in Newton’s Nonantum neighborhood, The Shaking Crab is the region’s first restaurant specializing in a new kind of Cajun-Asian-New England fusion, as owner Kevin Duong explained.
“This concept originated in New Orleans where seafood would be cooked in a huge boil and then dumped out on to a table where everyone can go in and dig in with their hands, crack open crawfish, crab. Except we put our own twist on it when we put a whole bunch of really garlicky Cajun spices on it.”
Here’s how a meal at the Shaking Crab works. First, you order your seafood by the pound, like King Crab, lobster, mussels, shrimp, or crawfish. It gets boiled in a simmering broth of herbs and spices. Then, they put a bag in a bucket, throw the seafood in the bag, and add one of their four signature sauces, all made with melted butter, a lot of garlic, and variety of flavors from Cajun spice to Korean style. Then, it comes out to the table, still steaming hot, right in the bag.
“It’s definitely unique to the area. We serve everything in a bag, so what other restaurant does that?” Kevin questioned.
“I like how it comes in the bag, so you not only get the seafood but you’re getting the sauce, the add-ons, whether you choose potato, corn, sausage, and you have a variety. Every time you can try a new sauce or you can try every sauce all together,” one customer explained.
Between the cracking seafood, the pungent garlic, and all those bold spices, a meal at the Shaking Crab is more like a full contact sport. So thankfully, they provide a proper uniform.
“Well we do give you bibs and gloves. The bibs are a necessity. You definitely want those. The gloves are also a nice touch because if you don’t have those, your hands are gonna smell like shaking sauce for quite some time,” Kevin said.
As for the options, the Alaskan King Crab is easy to crack using a slicer, and packed with plenty of sweet meat. The Dungeness crab is a bit tougher to crack, but the flavor and texture is worth the extra effort. Lobster pairs perfectly with the rich and tangy gulf style sauce. And for the plump, Argentinean peel and eat shrimp, you might want to go for the Korean sweet chili miso sauce. Regardless of what kind of shellfish, sauce, or spice level you’re into, a meal here is pretty much guaranteed to make you shake with delight.
To round out your meal, there are starters like spicy calamari and fried oysters. Plus, there’s a whole host of side dishes, including collard greens, mac and cheese, garlic noodles, sweet potato fries, and an essential basket of French fries.
Even though you may feel a bit silly wearing a bib and dipping French fries in a seafood stuffed bag, it’s a feeling you can shake off pretty easily.
“I think Shaking Crab is a judgement free zone,” Kevin said. “It’s a place that you can just let go and be one with the food and the people that you’re with, really just have fun.”
You can find The Shaking Crab at 203 Adams Street in Newton and online at shakingcrabnewtonma.com.
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