Convincing thirteen people to endure a lengthy B/Q ride (maybe the B line is the shit—Grub Street was all over it today) then walk a mile in high heat and humidity would seem like a tough sell, but I was lucky enough to coerce a crew out to Clemente’s Crabhouse in Sheepshead Bay on Saturday. I don’t normally do destination birthday parties or group dinners because trauma invariably ensues. Maybe the frozen margaritas, sea air and ‘90s jukebox hits (I thought I’d permanently blocked out the Spin Doctors) messed with my ability to judge, but I did feel better about hitting “the wrong side of my thirties” as one friend ominously remarked in a card.
All-you-can-eat crabs were definitely in order since on my previous visit last year I chickened out and lobster rolled it. Minus the poor vegetarians forced to witness mass crustacean carnage, most diners opted for the same $29.95 deal. Massive metal bowls filled with both Old Bay and garlic and oil drenched crabs took over the paper-covered table. I’ll admit that I’m lame with meat extraction and it takes a lot of effort with little pay off. The crabs aren’t huge by any means. I doubt I went through more than ten, though I didn’t keep count.
After everyone seemed sated and dusk approached, there were still claws and bodies aplenty. It seemed like a waste but I couldn’t take anymore. That’s when James stepped up and went nuts. I swear, an hour after everyone else threw in the lobster bib, he was still cracking and picking like a machine. I started getting nervous that he might start turning red, sprouting claws and walking sideways. There’s no doubt that he got his money’s worth.