At Ben’s Crab, the new Cajun-style boil restaurant in Uniondale, your seafood-in-a-bag arrives swimming in sauce and delicious dilemmas. Should you start with a hunk of garlic butter-bathed corn-on-the-cob, an equally sauce-saturated shrimp or just get to mining that tender crab meat? Whatever you choose, don’t dawdle; Cajun seafood boil is a dish best eaten warm.
After months of waiting teased by a banner festooning the former Grain House space, the sister restaurant to Ben’s Crab in Oceanside has opened. Gone is the industrial chic décor, replaced with gleaming white tables in the main dining room and a shiny new bar facing the well-stocked liquor shelf, flat-screen TVs and kitchen.
Ben’s Crab offers a sprawling menu including salads, sides and nearly two-dozen appetizers starting at $5 (Cajun fries or New England clam chowder) and topping off at $28 for a pair of fried 5-ounce lobster tails in a basket. Wash it down with soft drinks in cute jam jar cups, or draft beer from a half-dozen taps.
If you’ve come for the boil, you’ve got some more choosin’ to do. Customize your seafood by the pound — $14 for mussels, crawfish or clams, $15 for shrimp (head on or off), $24 for snow crab legs, $36 for Dungeness crab and $40 for king crab legs. A 1 ½-pound lobster boil goes for $32, while shrimp, lobster, crab and crawfish in various combinations leave your wallet $26 to $52 lighter.
Next: Pick a sauce (garlic butter, Old Bay, ragin’ lemon pepper, Ben’s Special Cajun Blend) from no-spice to fire. The latter “will make you cry,” said sauce maker/restaurant owner Linna Sari.
The whole shebang is boiled in a big plastic bag with sides (think potatoes, corn), then shaken tableside and undressed before you in a metal bowl. Spoilage alert: Wrangling sauce-drenched shellfish can be a messy affair, so don’t be shy about donning plastic gloves and bib -- the waiter will cinch the latter around your neck as you go full steam ahead with your cracker and pick.
Not in the mood to wrestle a crustacean? Try the fried or barbecued shrimp baskets (10 pieces for $13), fried calamari ($12) or crabcakes (2 for $12) — the top sellers in Oceanside.
Ben’s Crab, 1002 Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale, 516-340-6050, benscrab.com