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Feeling Crabby?

Posted by / Monday, August 1st, 2011

Summertime signifies beach trips and seafood binging sessions. However, you don’t have to go to the beach to enjoy fresh seafood, and more specifically crabs. There are many places in Northern Virginia to satisfy your crab cravings. Now I’m not talking about fancier places that serve crab cakes. I’m talking about restaurants where the table cloth is a piece of paper, the only utensil you are given is a small wooden mallet, and you leave the place smelling like crab juice.

All you can eat crabs from Viet Bistro (Image: Mai Nguyen/Northern Virginia Magazine)

Viet Bistro – Here, you can order all you can eat crabs for $18.95 a person all day long. After ordering, the servers come out with a giant plate with about a dozen female Maryland blue crabs smothered in Old Bay. The crabs come with complimentary limes, salt, pepper, and butter to dip your crabs in. The thing I appreciate most about this restaurant is the main fact that they serve female crabs. These crabs are filled with an abundance of delicious, orange crab roe, which is, in my opinion, the best part of a female crab. They also have a pretty decent selection of seafood, but don’t expect it to be too extensive since it is more of a Vietnamese restaurant than a crab shack. Another plus is that since it is a Vietnamese restaurant, your dining partner, who might hate seafood, can order something else. (6799 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church, VA 22044; 703-538-7575)

Captain Pell’s – A real crab shack with shrimp, clams, oysters, scallops, crab legs, and of course, crabs. They serve both male and female crabs in varying sizes. I can’t account for anything but the male crabs here because they have always been sold out of the female crabs every time I’ve visited.  All you can eat crabs is $36 a person, and last time I went, I believe they charged extra for butter. It is pricier than Viet Bistro, but they make up for it with their extensive seafood menu. (10195 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22030; 703-560-0060)

Here are a few more places that serve crab, but I have yet to try them out:

LoPo’s Crab Shack – Before you show up surprised, this is actually a food truck. They sell shrimp and crab legs by the pound and crabs by the dozen. It operates from April to mid-October, Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (43083 John Mosby Highway, Chantilly, VA 20152; 703-896-6117)

Today’s Seafood House – A relatively new Korean restaurant in Annandale. They serve crabs the by dozen, crab legs by the pound, a raw bar, fish, and shrimp. Your dining partner doesn’t like seafood? They also serve other traditional Korean dishes. (4231-H Markham St., Annandale, VA 22003; 703-256-1761)

- Mai Nguyen

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