The other day, Milwaukee Record reported that a second King Crab Shack will be coming to Brady Street. When I heard the news, I did a happy dance.
Why? Becuase it is the one of the tastiest and most fun ways you can eat seafood. I have made the trek to the first King Crab Shack located at 3881 S. 27th St. numerous times to get some Vietnamese-Cajun seafood. Of course, you can get traditional Vietnamese dishes from King Crab Shack, but why would you when the word “Crab” is the restaurant’s middle name.
But wait, you ask, “What is Vietnamese-Cajun seafood?” When Vietnamese immigrated to the U.S., many came to Gulf Coast states like Louisiana, and Texas. These new immigrants were introduced to dishes like crawfish boils and over time incorporated Vietnamese flavors to the traditional boil like lemongrass and ginger.
Restaurants specializing in this type of seafood started to spread throughout the south and then the rest of the country. There are chains like Hot ‘n Juicy in cities all over the country that serves spicy and aromatic shellfish. If you interested in the history of this unique culinary tradition, check out this article from the New York Times and then watch this mini-documentary from the Southern Foodways Alliance.
So what it is on the menu at King Crab Shack, you ask? First, you select the type of seafood you would like. You can choose from crawfish, crab legs, Dungeness crab, shrimp, lobster, mussels, and other variety of shellfish. Then you select a sauce. King Crab Shack offers three flavors – Garlic Butter, Lemon Pepper, and Crazy Cajun. If you want, you could mix the sauces. My favorite is Garlic Butter. Next, you pick the spice level. Some places in the south have spice levels called “Cray Cray (you can figure out how hot that would be).”
Then you select a sauce. King Crab Shack offers three flavors – Garlic Butter, Lemon Pepper, and Crazy Cajun. If you want, you could mix the sauces. My favorite is Garlic Butter. Next, you pick the spice level. Some places in the south have spice levels called “Cray Cray (you can figure out how hot that would be).” At King Crab Shack, there are four levels – Non-Spicy, Mild, Medium, and Crazy. I’ll usually get Medium.
Finally, you can pick out various additions like corn, sausage, and potatoes. The seafood comes out in a plastic bag drowning in the sauce and then it is placed on a paper-covered table. You are also provided with a bib (I highly suggest you put it on). It is a messy and tasty culinary experience. The more friends you have with you the better. The thing I also love is the diversity of the diners you see at The King Crab Shack off of 27th St.