Where to Find Soft-Shell Crabs in Charleston, 2016
Get them before they disappear
Spring is here, and soft-shell season is finally upon the Lowcountry. As the short-season delicacy makes it to local menus, we'll put them on the map. These specials won't last for long, so double check with the restaurant to see if they've sold out.
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Fish fry masters Roadside Seafood have a supply of softies and are serving them fried to perfection on a roll with lettuce and tomato. Be sure to go for a side of red rice as well.
Fine dining spot Cypress was among the first to receive a shipment of softies and quickly sold out the same day. Check in with the restaurant to see if chef Craig Deihl has them on the menu again.
Waterfront fish house Fleet Landing serves a soft-shell crab po-boy with lettuce, tomato, bacon with spicy house-made remoulade or a softie BLT with spiced pork belly and Meyer lemon aioli.
Southern Season restaurant Southerly can provide you with a lightly-fried soft-shell with Szechuan pork belly, wasabi remoulade, and a seaweed and jicama slaw.
The team at The Granary uses an Asian influence on their softie set-up and serves them with spring vegetables, fish sauce, and kimchi aioli.
Isle of Palms icon Long Island Cafe can make you a soft-shell crab two ways: sautéed with brown butter and lemon or lightly fried in cracker meal with homemade tartar sauce and lemon.
At Mount Pleasant eatery On Forty One, chef Doug Svec plates his softies with Geechie Boy grits, warm bacon, wilted greens, tomatoes, and basil.
NoMo superstar Edmund's Oast can offer you a soft-shell crabs duo with gumbo des herbs, fennel, lemon supreme, and crunchy croutons or a softie sandwich. Order a few beers and crunch into a crab.
Soft-shells have made it to the menu at seafood emporium The Ordinary. Two to a dish, these softies are sautéed and served with a local radish salad.
Eli's Table serves a soft-shell po-boy for lunch. For dinner, there's a pan-seared softie with spoon bread, house-made hot sauce, charred tomato and okra relish, and remoulade.
Radcliffeborough restaurant The Westendorff has a supply of softies. Grab a seat at the counter to see how chef Blake Joyal will prepare these springtime delicacies.
Chef Michael Scognamiglio keeps his soft-shells Italian at Bacco. Stop by for softie alla parmigiana.
Classic Charleston restaurant High Cotton will serve you soft-shells. Chef Shawn Kelly tempura fries them and plates them over a vegetable pancake, pea shoot salad, and avocado dressing.
Southern pros The Glass Onion will cold smoke the soft-shells, then fry them in a Fanta batter, and cover them in béarnaise over grits.
Luxurious restaurant Peninsula Grill recently added the short-season crabs to the menu. Chef Graham Dailey offers a crispy softie with artichoke, roasted sweet corn, country ham, mustard greens, cheddar grits, and citrus aioli.
Chef Jeremiah Bacon has some beautiful soft-shell crabs from Edisto at Oak Steakhouse. Stop in to see how he's plating them.
Long-standing Hank's Seafood offers guests two flash-fried softies with sweet corn, roasted jalapeño and lime vinaigrette, spinach, "Yum Yum" pepper chutney, and avocado.
Coveted reservation spot FIG has its rare crustaceans for the season. Wrestle a seat at the bar or talk your way into a table for sautéed softies with asparagus vinaigrette and romaine purée.
Wagener Terrace favorite The Park Cafe put softies on the menu and isn't looking back.
Charleston mainstay Slightly North of Broad serves its softies with a salad of pea tendrils, red mizuna, Easter egg radishes, and green peppercorn dressing.
Seek out tucked-away eatery Cru Cafe for a shot at some soft-shells from chef John Zucker.
Chef Amalia Scatena of Cannon Green declared, "Softshells have landed." Scatena serves her sofites on a bed of baby lettuce with radish, cucumber, benne seed, and green goddess dressing.
All day breakfast cafe The Junction Kitchen will offer you a soft-shell crab with a side of haricot verts and cheese grits.
Daniel Island's The Islander received a shipment of soft-shells. Patrons can choose from a fried crab over creamy parmesan and bacon grits, with a seasonal vegetable ragout, and key lime beurre blanc of a soft-shell sushi roll with red onion, avocado, asparagus, and yuzu aioli.
Popular lunchtime Butcher & Bee recently added a fried soft-shell to its sandwich menu. This item is made with softies, guacamole, greens, and roasted tomato.
Beach haven Poe's Tavern can offer you a fried soft-shell crab with with vegetable remoulade, lettuce, tomato, and onion on a brioche bun. Sit on the patio and have fun in the sun with softies.
Upper King newcomer The Darling has a supply of Beaufort softies. Stop in for the $1 oysters at happy hour and stay for a soft-shell creation. The crabs are cornmeal-fried on a Hawaiian roll with corn mayo, crispy country ham, pickled okra, and Bibb lettuce. The restaurant will change the presentation of the soft shells every day or every few days.
Coast Bar and Grill goes a different route with its soft-shells by adding them to tacos. The cornmeal-fried softies, are served with lime slaw, pico de gallo, avocado crema, and queso fresco. $14.99 for two tacos.
Smoked meat masters Home Team BBQ wood-fires its softies, and plates them with Jimmy Red Corn grits, grilled asparagus, mushrooms, lemon, and brown butter.
Magical beer land Closed for Business offers soft-shells with fermented red cabbage, pickled chiles, arugula, habanero curry, on a soft baguette.
At the upscale boutique hotel Zero George, chef Vinson Petrillo makes a super spring soft-shell dish, pairing the crabs with red corn, early peas, "egg custard," and pickled ramps. Ramps + softies = spring.
Chef Greg Garrison recently added the delicacy to his new spring menu, serving the softies with a salad of seaside succulents, soy, and sesame.
Chef Kevin Johnson serves pan-roasted soft-shells with spring vegetable remoulade at The Grocery.
Hutson Alley eatery Vincent Chicco's serves a softies softie salad with black truffle rice, croutons, radishes, heirloom tomatoes, Bibb and romaine lettuce, bacon, egg, and Caesar dressing.
Michael's on the Alley offers a fried soft-shell crab with sweet corn, aged sherry mousse, fire-roasted pineapple salsa, yucca fries, and banana pepper mole.