We Review Tony's Crab Shack
Youíve been out playing all morning. Your shoes are full of sand. And you are HUNGREE. You want something fishy to eat, but the kids are with you and mom needs a nice glass of wine. What do you do? Head straight for Tonyís Crab Shack on the boardwalk. It even has a sink to wash the youngins grubby hands. Problem Solved. Itís not just a bait shop anymore. In fact this ultimate in casual dining spot can challenge some of the fine dining spots in town now.
A few years ago Tony expanded from whirligigs and worms adding crab sammiches ($11.50) and cioppino ($10.50.) For those of you who havenít indulged the sandwich is thick with fresh crab served with an unusual slightly sweet relishy sauce. Their cioppino is a hearty tomato based fish stew with a multitude of seafood steamed fresh on site. I usually donít like my fish in liquid but Tonyís is an exception to my rule. It warms oneís soul after a blustery blowy Bandon beach walk.
As frequent readers know, the way to a Ducques heart is through her stomach. Believe me, the Crab Shack Food and Tonyís Richard Gere hair found my heart a long time ago. That signature soup and sandwich are still extraordinary. Add the bonus of a generous glass of Pinot Gris and I am in heaven. (Wine in plastic cups that I donít have to worry about breaking filled to the brim makes me ecstatic.)
Suffice it to say I was elated when Mongo asked me to review a place I knew was guaranteed to satisfy. Their menu has expanded from a few selections to three boards full of possibility. Although I personally canít imagine ordering non-seafood they do have a burger ($6.95), dog ($4.50), chicken ($7.95) and pork sandwiches ($6.95) for those who donít imbibe.
The food at Tonyís is enough to fill your hungry guy. I recently enjoyed the ďSpecialĒ, a substantial combo of smoked salmon, cream cheese and cranberry sauce between toasted pancetta bread (13.95.) I had to stretch my mouth muscles to fit over the excellent sandwich. Iíve been spoiled by Bearís homemade smoked Coquille River salmon with his exceptional ginger brine. The Crab Shackís isnít quite so delish but I can tell uses high quality fish, (maybe Copper River?) that it is a good substitute. I like it so much I went back for seconds a couple of weeks later. Bearís all time favorite is the fish tacos ($3.75 each or 3 for $10.95.) He calls them the best this side of Baja. He and Tony should know. They have had their share of fish tacos and Mexican beer. You get three corn tortillas overflowing with fresh fish and fresh salsa. A squeeze of lime and you imagine you are south of the border.
Since I am ordered to try the appetizers I did. All I can say is go for crab, crab, crab at the Crab Shack. It really is a no brainer. When you start out with fresh crab- and it doesnít get any fresher anywhere - you cannot go wrong. The crab cocktail ($7.99) is a light delight full of fresh picked Dungeness and that lovely horseradishy red cocktail sauce stuff. Want something a bit more substantial? The crab cakes ($5.50 each or make it a dinner with cole slaw for $12.50.) are flavorful and cooked correctly - crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Bear and I love to go and sit and talk over a Fat Tire ($3) for him and a near overflowing glass of Pinot gris ($6) for me. We sip, munch and chat with tourists; catch up with local gossip and watch the world go by. Tony and his brother Rob always have a smile and a greeting for their customers new and old.
Two handfuls of Happy MongoThumbs for this uniquely Bandon dining. Plus when you are full you can stroll through the shop and get souvenirs. They rent what you need a for a crabbing day on the dock. You can buy what you need for your fishing trip. And of course they have my favorite - the obligatory tacky shirts and gadgets.
Reviewed July 2009 by The Ducque
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