The Crab Cracker
452 Central Way
Kirkland WA 98033
We Missed the Crackers but got Plenty of Crabs!
By: Bryan R
Remember The Simpson's episode #67 first aired November 12, 1992 (written by everyone's favorite Simpson's writer Conan O`Brien)? I sure didn't, so that's why I had to look it up. But what I do remember from the episode is The Frying Dutchman, the all-you-can-eat seafood eatery where Homer tests the all-you-can-eat philosophy to the max. Specifically, I loved dcor of the place with all its maritime themed paintings, artifacts and various other adornments.
Would you believe it that Kirkland has its very own Frying Dutchman, sans all you-can-eat buffet, just loaded with wonderful maritime bounty? The Crab Cracker, located on the edge of downtown Kirkland, features dungeness crab, wild pacific salmon, and Northwest seafood in abundance. But even neater, the restaurant offers an open kitchen and abundant seafare furnishings that's remarkably charming and endearingly kitchy.
We opted to try The Crab Cracker during lunch while the place was pleasantly slow. As we were shown our table by an excellent and attentive server, none of us could take our eyes off all the little details like rowboats, harpoons, and old fashion lanterns, that have gone into populating the Cracker's ambiance. To no ones surprise, when we checked out the menu crab was featured heavily in many of the dishes. But have no fear, if you don't love crab (or at least the price) there was plenty of other seafood and non-seafood options to enjoy.
After considering our options, Steve and Bryan decided to split the Crab & Artichoke Bread Dip starter, a creamy concoction of crab, artichoke and melted cheese while Grant enjoyed a very crabby Crab Bisque. For the main dish, Grant went for the Crab Au Gratin, a dish of plentiful crab and abundant cheese. Bryan opted for the Halibut stuffed with crab and artichoke and then topped off with some buttery and citrusy hollandaise sauce. And since he was feeling slightly decadent, Steve decided to try the Crab Monte Cristo served with fries on the side.
The Monte Cristo Sandwich was an crab sandwich stuffed with ham and cheese, dipped in a egg batter and deep fried. Now if that doesn't sound intriguing, then I don't know what is. The sandwich looked small from my first initial glance, but in the end it was a truly filling meal. Every bite of the Monte Cristo was ooing in crab meat and dripping cheese. Crab Cracker is not shy about piling it on and you won't hear me complaining one bit. The dish comes with a choice of fries or cole slaw, but since I was already heading down the deep fried path I might as well get the seasonsed french fries as well. Reasonably enjoyable and recommended for those who are looking for a true heart-stopper.
I've always had a bit of a soft spot for all things draped in a maritime theme. So unsurprisingly, The Crab Cracker's interior had a quirky and unabashedly captivating quality that certainly stands out. And the food's tastiness also gives the place a bump.
For lunch, Steve and I split the Crab & Artichoke Bread Dip served with toasted garlic crostini. I was surprised with the sheer quantity of crab that was packed into the creamy dip that also rang with artichoke's unique flavor. The only culinary gripe I had was with the bread from its texture, it felt like it had been prepared hours ago and then allowed to sit in the open. It didn't ruin the starter but it didn't help either.
As a fan of halibut, I was eager to try the Halibut Stuffed with Crab and Artichoke. What arrived was a plate loaded with fish and veggies. The fish tasted fresh and flavorful but it may have been a touch underdone. But buyer be warned, the hollandaise sauce tended to overwhelm the crab and artichoke flavors. The side vegg was fresh, well prepared and wonderfully complimented the fish. At $15 my lunch wasn't cheap, but the inclusion of crab quickly explains the price point. All-in-all, it's a great dish if you enjoy seafood but aren't exactly a huge fan of it.