The Atlantic Coast has Never Felt so Close
Who would have imagined it? No restaurant concept seems more counter-intuitive—more like bringing coals to Newcastle—than starting another purveyor of seafood, especially fresh crustaceans, in a country abundantly blessed with same. But Colin Stevens, a veteran of eleven years as a restaurant owner in Phuket and oddly enough Hawaii-born, gauged the market just right by recognizing that Thais would have the perfect appetite (and spending power) for “New England-style” lobster, clams, and all the trimmings.
“It’s about educating people to shift from warm water fish to cold water fish,” Stevens explains, somewhat clinically. He could just as well say it’s also about the ability to fly in absurdly fresh products and the enduring appeal of almost anything dipped in melted butter. Maybe that’s because his main function is not as some daring cook but more as an expert on logistics hooking the very best catch from each day’s global supply line.
Ensconced on an upper curve of the EMQuartier, and outdrawing to the point of embarrassment some top local brands to either side, Crab and Claw features a giant lobster mural on its concrete walls and a similar as their piece de resistance—at around B2000 a creature pulled from the tank, the lobster is neither cheap nor outrageously unattainable. More remarkably, he has some of Bangkok’s few exemplars of succulent cherrystone clams that, raw on the half-shell and accompanied by Tabasco, taste exactly the same as the ones unloaded five minutes ago onto a Cape Cod dock.
So many kinds of oysters are on ice here that Stevens wisely stays out of their way. But he does offer a few other elaborate tributes to the best of the American palate: a “clam boil” in a pail that combines littlenecks with potatoes, hunks of corn, and slivers of chorizo in the style of the native Massasoit Indians. Seemingly bottomless at B400, it’s a steal. More treats to make any devotee of the Atlantic seaboard homesick are the deep-fried oysters, dolled-up with aioli dip. The clam chowder (B240) seems a bit too precious, with not enough clams or potatoes, but still far better than the canned Campbell’s alternative. And predictably, the lobster rolls are done just right, justifying their B950 price tag with tons of meat bound by the perfect minimal touch of mayo.
There’s not much to crab about here, and the only kind of clawing in evidence is trying to get a table at this surprising Bangkok sensation.
Crab and Claw
Fl 7, Helix Bldg, EMQuartier | 09 6197 5769 | facebook.com/crabandclaw | daily 10am-10pm