I recently took a trip to Miami, and since I hadn’t been there in quite some time, I took to Twitter for advice on where to eat. Fortunately for me, @wanderingshane saw my note and had another great recommendation (the first being Slows BBQ in Detroit): Joe’s Stone Crab
I looked them up, and not only did the food sound awesome, but they were just a few blocks away from my hotel!
They open at 6 for dinner and don’t take reservations, so we walked up promptly at 5:45 to put in our name and grab a quick pre-dinner drink. The waiter recommended Sauvignon Blanc, which sounded great – until he brought us Chardonnay. I didn’t mind it so much, but my wife really didn’t care for it. More for me!
We were seated right at 6, and the bread basket came soon afterward.
It was one of the best bread baskets I’ve had in some time – pretzel bread, jalapeno corn bread, onion pumpernickel – all really, really fresh and absolutely delicious (we had just barely enough willpower to turn down a second batch!)
We ordered a half bottle of Sauvignon Blanc (making sure to double-check the label!), and then started our meal with the Crab, Tomato, Avocado Shaken Salad. The presentation was delightfully playful: it arrives at the table unshaken, and is then emptied into the bowl.
As you can tell from the photos, there was a healthy amount of crab in the salad (not that I would’ve expected anything less from a place with the word “crab” in their name). My favorite part was probably the dressing though. It wasn’t particularly fancy or innovative – just a simple but really good herb vinaigrette.
The main event was obviously the crab. I’d never had stone crab before, so was eager to try them out at the place that is famous for them (I did find it funny that they don’t actually list them on the menu though). They offer a variety of sizes, and the portion comes with anywhere from 4 claws (for the largest ones) to 6 (for the smallest). Of course, we had to get the big suckers
With claws accounted for, we also ordered the King Crab Legs – my usual go-to when I’m in the mood for a fancy crab dinner. Thus began the battle of the crabs!
When the food came out, I knew we were in store for a real treat:
So who won? We did, obviously – a truly great meal!
The crabs were tough to compare to each other though, as the taste and flavor is really quite different. And on top of that, the stone crabs are served chilled, while the king crab is grilled.
The stone crab was unlike any crab I’ve ever had before, and I really liked the special creamy mustard sauce they’re served with. The king crab was a more familiar taste, but the quality and freshness were much higher than I was used to. If I really had to choose (and I’m thankful that I didn’t for this meal), I think I would probably go for the king crab legs. It’s hard to compete with warm, soft, juicy crab legs dipped in drawn butter!
We skipped dessert (which was fortunate, given the surprise that was waiting for us back in our hotel room), but still left feeling very satisfied.
I really liked Joe’s. In addition to the great food, the ambiance was kind of “old steakhouse meets seafood restaurant”. My kind of place!
Very fitting for a restaurant that celebrated its 100th anniversary earlier this year.
If your travels take you to Miami Beach and you’re in the mood for crab, you absolutely have to check out Joe’s Stone Crab. It’ll likely hurt your wallet a bit, but it’s well worth it for a great meal in my opinion.
What’s your favorite kind of crab?