Don’t fear the Crab, the Chili Crab, that is, signature dish and fiery favorite of those who crowd into this new Meatpacking addition. Hard to spot from the street, only the two wooden benches out front and the crowd around the door alert passersby to the fact that something delicious is going on inside.
Simplicity is the rule at this anti-glam eatery, where it is really all about the food and nothing but the food. There simply is no room in this tiny dining space for anything else. Witness the recycled oil cans mounted on the wall, which serve as vases for discreet flower arrangements and the no-frills tabletops. In the back of the room, the small bar affords a view of the kitchen. But this bar is no hang-out for posers or people watchers. Everyone is waiting for a precious table, one of the thirty-odd seats that encourage groups of two, three or four. Squeeze in and prepare to eat family style.
Use the chopsticks, spoon, fork and small plate to enjoy dish after dish of sublime beauty coaxed out of ingredients like crispy pork, watermelon, chicken, chili-ginger and squid. It is a good idea to start with the least spicy and work up to the Chili Crab. The watermelon pickle and crispy pork is a good choice. Also good are the fatty tea sandwiches and wonton mee (shrimp and pork wontons served with fried noodles). The short rib renddang, braised with kaffir lime, chili and coconut and served with rice is a real treat. Dig at it with fork and spoon and enjoy the sauce-soaked rice. And be sure to save room for that bowl of the signature Chili Crab. It’s messy, so don’t wear light colors or hard to clean fabric.
Important Notes: Food is served family style. If you are at a two-top, you will receive one dish at a time, and not necessarily in the order you expect. You share each plate. The wine list is extensive, and heavy on the whites that go so well with the spicy cuisine. The 750ml bottles of Kitachinko Ginger Beer are available, a beverage that also compliments the cuisine. The noise level can be grating, and when the door is left open the dining room is drafty. While not romantic per se, it is a great place to go with someone you are in love with.
Bear in mind: No reservations, no coat check, no dessert. All you get here is a fabulous meal at a good price, and a ton of satisfaction.
Telephone: (212) 352-3590
Address: 643 Hudson Street
Cross Streets Horatio Street
Hours And Additional Info
Price: Moderate. About $16 to $30 per person.
Fatty Crab Information
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