French Culinary Institute alum Zak Pelaccio, after dazzling Brooklynites of late with comfort central (The Chickenbone Cafe and 5 Ninth), decided years ago to venture out in the realms of cuisine. His passion? Not the French fare he was trained to cook, but the wonderful and exotic flavors of Southeast Malaysia. What fellow FCI alum Bobby Flay did for Southwestern, Pelaccio has done for Malaysian.
Fatty Crab serves until 2 a.m., which makes it a number one spot for the Manhattan night owl. Maybe this late night grub spot may not be that accessible for the average clubber, but if you're in the hustling and bustling area of the Meatpacking District (which I'm sure you are), drop in and get some raucous good finger-licking food fun late-night!
Because of its homeliness, Fatty Crab is closely reminiscent of an English pub — the difference being that it’s serving up superior Malaysian dishes and cold Pabst Blue Ribbon jugs, rather than sloppy pies, greasy chips, and warm Guinness.
Pelaccio molds traditional Southeast Asian cuisine in a funky, yet communal environment. Twentysomethings salivate as they’re served delicious items, like Jalan Alor chicken wings and the “fatty duck” chunks of fried bird that coined the phrase "mouth-watering." There even a burger!
Don’t be surprised if you may want to fast-forward your dining experience to the spicy crab, star of the Fatty Crab menu. Claws and velvety sauce crammed into a bowl with a
garden of cilantro on top. The procedure for eating this — just dig in! Upper East Side snobby dining habits will not suffice — you will not be able to avoid the temptation to lick your fingers.
Fatty Crab personifies all that is good and evil in food. The steamy soft buns of pillowy moistness, stuffed with salty, smoked pork meat and delicately garnished with egg, salad, and a spicy dipping sauce is enough to have anyone on a diet turn to the dark side. There are Malaysian originals here too, like the Nasi Lemak, a plethora of curried chicken vegetables and heaps of spicy sambal. For a cool down, try the lime-laden watermelon salad with a Pelaccio twist of grilled slabs of pork, belly that is, and a toothsome beef rendang. (Photo: Darren Atkins)
Apart from the crammed dining space and long waits, Fatty Crab delivers a unique late night experience and something for everybody — single women and ravenous men.