The season is here! And we're not talking Christmas. Florida stone crab season, one of the most hotly anticipated food times of the year, has officially crawled its way into Florida restaurants. As of October 15th, fishermen began harvesting to bring these tasty crustaceans to tables near you. We’ll give them two claws up.
It’s no secret that Florida stone crab claws are absolutely delicious - with or without the mustard - and obviously gives us a reason to frequent Joe’s Stone Crab (more below). But, one of the main reasons for the craze is the fact that these particular stone crabs are not always available. For only seven months out of the year, to be exact.
The good news is that stone crabs don't die when they are harvested, since only their claws are taken, and those, interestingly enough, can regenerate. By legally allowing only seven months of harvesting, the continued survival of the species is ensured. Phew!
While numerous Florida restaurants feature stone crabs during the season, here are a few South Florida-based establishments (and delivery services) most popular for their fresh selection.
Joe’s Stone Crab: This one goes unsaid. If there ever was a king of stone crabs, it’s undoubtedly Joe’s on Miami Beach. The legendary establishment is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and is internationally renown for its fresh, quality stone crabs, sourced from the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys and Ten Thousand Islands. Served in the dining room or via Joe’s Take Away, their luscious stone crabs are available in four sizes – medium, select, large and jumbo – and are served with Joe’s chilled signature mustard sauce. Not able to visit the restaurant? You’re in luck! Joe’s ensures everyone in the U.S. can get in on the frenzy, offering their stone crabs via overnight delivery. Order online on the Joe’s Stone Crab website.
Truluck’s: With locations in Miami (Brickell), Fort Lauderdale, and Boca Raton, the folks at Truluck’s pride themselves on their fresh-catch, sustainable Florida stone crabs. Their claws are served direct from their own fisheries near Naples, and are served pre-cracked with their specialty mustard sauce. On Monday nights, guests can even enjoy all-you-can-eat stone crabs.
Billy’s Stone Crab: Located in Hollywood on the Intracoastal Water Way, Billy’s offers a fresh selection of stone crabs sourced mostly from the Florida Keys and the state's West Coast. Diners can indulge on an all-you-can-eat stone crab meal of medium, large, jumbo and colossal claws. Billy’s also sells stone crabs to guests looking to bring some home, from its on-site market and overnight delivery service. Order online on the Billy's Stone Crab website.
Even some of Miami's hottest restaurants not solely focused on seafood feature stone crabs during season. The Dutch, located at the W Hotel on South Beach, and Miami Beach's Meat Market both serve claws sourced from the Florida Keys. Edge Steak and Bar, located at the Four Seasons Hotel on Brickell Avenue, features stone crabs as an appetizer, served with their whole grain mustard sauce.
And for folks who aren’t making it to Florida for the season, Miami-based George Stone Crab, the largest national stone crab home delivery company, will ship their Florida Keys claws overnight to anywhere in the U.S. Order online on the George Stone Crab website.
So, if you’re a stone crab fan, or eager to try them, it’s time to get cracking! Be sure to get your fix before the season officially ends on May 15th, 2014.