BY CAMILLE SPERRAZZA
At this restaurant, you’ll “dig in.”
You’ll be provided with the equipment to do so — plastic gloves, bibs, claw crackers, and a bucket for shells, so you can complete
the task of peeling shrimp shells and crunching crab legs.
Crab Du Jour Restaurant offers a concept that’s all the rage — the seafood boil.
If you haven’t experienced it yet, it works like this: Food arrives at the table inside a plastic bag that’s presented like a giant bubble, filled with treasures from the sea such as lobster tail, shrimp, clams, mussels, king crab legs, scallops, and whatever other bounty one selects from the menu. Expect to get your hands dirty because it’s all part of the flavorful, finger-lickin’ experience. Break open the bubble, and reach inside for seafood that’s been seasoned with spices you’ve selected — Cajun, garlic butter, Old
Bay, and lemon pepper, among the options. Bring the family, and taste a variety of delicious flavors.
The level of heat is also made to order — mild, medium, or hot. The seafood boil is accompanied with scrumptious corn-on-the-cob and potatoes, all perfectly mixed with the same spices, inside the bag.
It is telling that despite the pandemic, 16 Crab Du Jour restaurants have opened in the last three months, and have all been well received. People return because the eateries offer quality seafood, at reasonable pricing — and because the family-friendly restaurant provides fun for all.
I dined at the new Ozone Park, Queens location that opened in July, inside a strip mall. There was ample outdoor seating and a convenient parking lot. Lively music played in the background. When indoor dining is inevitably permitted in the city again, the nautical-themed interior décor will offer an immersing atmosphere, and Happy Hour concoctions like Bourbon Peach Smash with muddled peaches, and Coco Jioto — a rum-based drink similar to a Pina Colada — will rock the boat.
For now, the beer menu offers a dozen intriguing selections — Night Shift Nite Lite, a craft light lager; and Pipeworks Lizard King, an
American pale ale, among them. Should some members of your party prefer to eat something other than the seafood boil, there are possibilities like tantalizing jumbo shrimp cocktail, featured on a bed of cracked ice, with a cocktail sauce that has a kick, and several fresh lemon slices. The Po’boys are popular, presented on long rolls, served with your choice of French Fries, Cajun Fries, or Sweet Potato Fries. The shrimp Po’boy is lightly battered, dressed with a touch of mayo, and shredded lettuce. One can also opt for fried fish, crab meat, oysters, or chicken Po’boys. Other bounties include fried oyster baskets, fried calamari, hush puppies, fried mozzarella sticks — and for land lovers — there’s giant, breaded chicken wings, chicken sliders, and chicken tenders. Coleslaw, Caesar Salad, clam chowder, gumbo, and steamed oysters offer something tempting for everyone in the household. Soon to be introduced are Crab Du Jour Express Restaurants, quick service versions that highlight delivery and takeout, with limited seating in some areas. There are few, if any quality seafood takeout places, and this will provide the opportunity to bring healthy meals home on a regular basis, a change from the same old meat and potatoes.
Crab Du Jour has 22 locations, and the restaurant group to which it belongs says that it expects to more than double that number by the end of the year. The group anticipates opening about 500 locations within the next three years. All are expected to be run by locals within their own communities.
Giving back to those communities is a priority, so during the months of March and April — at the height of the pandemic — the company contributed PPE and funding to help hospitals and non-profits.
To facilitate its expansion, the company is looking to partner with experienced restauranteurs. Interested parties should contact them. Crab Du Jour has locations throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and New Jersey and many more areas. Go to our website
www.crabdujour.com to find the closest location to you.