Stone crabs don’t swim in the waters near Long Beach, but come fall you’ll find them on the menu at Stone Crab, a new restaurant that has opened in the West End.
Why can’t you order them now? Because the season stretches from October to May. And co-owner Tom Cipolla won’t serve stone crab that arrives frozen in his restaurant. So you’ll have to wait.
In the meantime, you can feast on Alaskan king crab that the restaurant ships in three times a week from an outfit in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
The inspiration behind the name of the restaurant was a long-ago trip to Joe’s Stone Crab in South Florida, when Cipolla shared a pitcher of beer and a pile of ’em with a “lady friend.”
Years later, he still remembers that “they’re about the best thing I ever tried,” and marveled at how difficult it is for him to find stone crab or king crab legs that are any good on New York menus.
For those who haven’t eaten stone crab, you crack and peel the shells of claws — the only part of the crustacean you’ll find on a plate. What happens to the rest of the crab? The claws are harvested by removing one — not both — claws before returning crabs to their habitat in waters from the American South throughout the Caribbean.
Cipolla joined forces with chef Luis Correa, his brother-in-law, and manager Colin McInerney with aspirations to become a destination specializing in the delicacy.
On the menu you’ll also find appetizers like raw clams, fried calamari, mussels and shrimp and crabmeat nachos ($12 to $20) as well as soups, salads and entrees like grilled rib-eye ($50), surf and turf (a 6-ounce lobster tail served with a 10-ounce filet mignon, $42), seafood harbor feast (pasta with lobster, king crab, shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams, $40), king crab legs ($39-$75) and chilled or steamed stone crab claws ($28 to $60) when the season begins.
The 24-seat spot is casual and cozy, and for the moment, there’s no alcohol as it awaits a liquor license.
Stone Crab is open from noon to 11 p.m. every day.
888 West Beech St., Long Beach; 516-280-8700