Joe’s Crab Shack: Lobster steam pot galore
525 E Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA
Across from the San Diego Convention Center and right on the water is a Joe’s Crab Shack. Joe’s is an American chain serving up fresh seafood that you eat with your hands straight from the pot. They give you a bib, a big roll of paper towels, a pot of tools and a pot for shells and you dig in. My boyfriend and I love places like this, it’s interactive, casual and so much more fun than stuffy, fancy restaurants.
I love the location of Joe’s in San Diego. We were seated on the patio, the floor was made of heavy duty wood planks and you could see the water beneath.
At first we were going to share a steam pot of lobster and other seafood but since we were both famished, we decided to each get our own steam pot.
I got the KJ steam pot which was stuffed full of snow crab, seared scallops, mussels with potatoes and a corn on the cob. The name comes from Kendall Jackson wine sauce. I didn’t expect this steam pot to be spicy but maybe they added a bit too much pepper to the scallops because one bite into a scallop and my tongue was on fire.
Everything else in the KJ steam pot was delicious though. The crab legs were a lot harder to dig into than the lobster; it was my first time using a zipper–that handy tool used to rip open crab legs. I grew up on the west coast but have never been very good at peeling meat out of crab legs.
When I finally got the tender meat out of their shells, it was totally worth the effort. The moist and succulent crab had a sweetness and crisp fresh taste to it. None of that tongue-on-fire spice had soaked through the crab shell to get to the delicate flakes of meat.
The mussels were also soaked with flavour and were tender and meaty.
I much preferred the other steam pot we ordered though: the Arctic Bay steam pot. My boyfriend really wanted to order something with Old Bay Seasoning and this pot was drenched in the stuff. Along with a big lobster, the Arctic Bay steam pot also featured queen crab, shrimp and a smoked sausage, corn on the cob and potatoes. The corn and potatoes in both steam pots were obviously fillers but they were tasty nonetheless. I also loved the fatty and smoky sausage in the Arctic Bay steam pot, it went well with the tender seafood and buttery sauce.
The unfortunate thing about dry seasoning for seafood steam pots is that a majority of the seasoning ends up on the shell of the seafood.
I loved that the lobster in the steam pot was already cut right in half so we could easily share it. We still had our work cut out for us with de-shelling the lobster claws and legs. It was so much fun though, we totally got into it. At one point, there were bits of shell and lobster meat flying all over the place and we both got some of it in our face and hair and all over our bibs.
The lobster was delicious, tender and moist. My favourite part has always been the claw and by the end of this meal, I got pretty good at wiggling the meaty claw out of its shell. Somehow, lobster always tastes better when you have to work for it.
The sauce in the Arctic Bay steam pot was much more buttery and mild in comparison to the KJ steam pot and I love that there was a whole lobster in the Arctic Bay steam pot.
I would totally eat at Joe’s again just to try all the other steam pots.
The aftermath of our meal was pretty brutal. We were so messy. You should have seen our bibs. We had so much fun and were stuffed to the max afterwards.