I always assumed it was the case, but now I am absolutely convinced that Wellingtonians are completely unphased by the city’s infamous wind. It was wet and blowing a gale of over 100kmph and still, many other great minds like us braved it and headed to The Crab Shack on the waterfront. We thought the wild weather would give us our best chance of getting a table without a wait of over an hour… and we were right, but only just. The place was pumping, we got one of the last tables, and after that we saw the waiting list get longer and longer. Simon, forget about Euro- you’ve got a goldmine here.
First up were the tacos- I wasn’t expecting hard shell and was pleasantly surprised. The fact that they didn’t break onto my plate in a sloppy mess was enough to impress me, but the tangy chicken, guacamole, salsa, and pickled cactus (do they grow their own out back?) combo really did win me over. Judging by the speed at which it was consumed, I think the prawn one was pretty decent too. Next came the sliders- we opted for the lamb. I liked the almost briochy rolls, and the lamb was perfectly tender, but… it was missing something. Still not a patch on Depot’s fish sliders, or what we affectionately call the food snob’s fillet o’fish.
It felt wrong coming here and not ordering crabs- so for the main event we twisted, cracked, sucked, and slurped our way through a whole kg of Nelson paddle crabs. They were swimming in their own juices mixed with a tonne of garlic, shallots, parlsey, and of course, butter. We just couldn’t let that sauciness go to waste… they were an ideal accompaniment for the steak fries!
Don’t be deceived by their size, there is crabby goodness in every nook and cranny… you just have to be patient- I’ve never seen a certain someone eat so slowly and me talk so little during a meal. There’s a certain novelty aspect to the whole experience- the waiter brings to the table utensils which look like surgical equipment but really, you just dig in with your fingers and brace yourself for the messiness. Most would say it’s not first date material but then again, if the conversation is drying up and you don’t care about having another date… this could be a goer! All washed down with the Barrel Thief sauvignon blanc they have on tap- ordered by the jugful. The Shack is fitted out with all the expected nautical themed stuff, and the music was channeling a certain Americana vibe, but it all just seemed a little… dare I say it- fake? Not that anyone cared… the food is good, the place is fun, and now I’m looking forward to comparing it to the real deal in America!