Food Adventure Team

Exploring San Francisco, one restaurant at a time.

Honorary Food Adventure: Art’s Crab Shak, Oakland

Art’s Crab Shak

4031 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94611

Suggested by Andy

In attendance:

It just so happened that everyone in attendance at this dinner was a member of FAT, and because it was quite adventurous indeed, we declared the excursion an Honorary Food Adventure.

Art’s Crab Shak is a… fine dining establishment (?) situated on Broadway and 40th St. in Oakland, near where a bunch of us live or have lived. It’s that place you always drive by and say, “What the HECK is Art’s Crab Shak anyway?!” Momentum gathered around this question and finally we found ourselves sitting in a booth around a formica table, calculating which bucket-o-crab was the most cost efficient. On a Monday night, no less; fortunately our blatant flaunting of Anthony Bourdain’s “No seafood on Monday!” edict has not caused us any gastrointestinal distress.

Legend goes, Art’s used to be a steakhouse. It sure looks it. Now it’s an odd combination of dive bar and crab “shak”. Low ceilings, dim lighting, and dated decor add to the ambiance. All beer is bottled (a fine selection of Budweiser, Cornona, and Heineken) and wine is house only. For appetizers, you get a choice between about 10 different deep fried items. Crab comes in one-person, two-person, three-person, and four-person sized buckets (the three-person size, inexplicably, will get you the most bang for your buck). And what a buck it is; this is not a cheap restaurant. A one-person bucket will set you back $27! Don’t be surprised when they hand you the bill before you receive your meal; they expect you to pay for your meal in advance. Makes you wonder about their typical clientele…

The appetizers, eh, they were alright. Bunch of fried stuff. We got the hush puppies, the fried zucchini, and the tequila lime buffalo wings. The buffalo wings were actually quite tasty; crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside, flavorful, and not too greasy. They came with a great hot dipping sauce, too. Hush puppies and zucchini came with classic ranch sauce for dipping, and were tasty enough but nothing thrilling. We decided that at Art’s Crab Shak, you really should just go straight for the crab.

The crab, oh glorious crab! Granted, it wasn’t the most amazing crab EVER,but it sure was tasty, and utterly DRENCHED in melted butter, lemon, garlic, and pepper, topped with mushrooms that had been marinated in the same. Completely delicious. It came with sandwich rolls that had been sliced, buttered, and grilled — a basic garlic bread for dipping in the crab butter.

The fun of eating crab is really in the full-body, primal experience of it. We tied on our plastic bibs and dug in, butter spraying every which way, crab claws cracking, our brows furrowed in intense concentration as we struggled to get every last morsel of meat of of the legs of these delicious sea spiders. When it was over (too soon) we were buttered up to our elbows, our grins glistening and stomachs distended. Two wet-wipes apiece were not enough to clean this mess.

Final conclusion: “A totally worthwhile venture; Art’s Crab Shak met our expectations.”

Photo by Ed

More photos by Ed

No comments

No comments yet. Be the first.

Leave a reply

Search this site

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • RSS

  • SF skyline photo by meta-man.