Crab House NYC Manhattan

Another day, and another full belly.

I am a big YouTube food and travel video fan. Two of my regular channels, Tim Lee and Mikey Chen both thought highly of Crab House and the idea of all you can eat lobster seemed a good idea. It was.

Going in, I realized this could be a disaster as easily as a fun experience. And waiting 15 minutes for the host to show up to the ‘waitlist check in station’ was not a good start. And his dirty tee shirted appearance was even more anxiety producing. After all, we were about to drop north of $200. But as close as I was to leaving, we stuck it out. Glad we did.

They offer 2 choices. For $80, you get your choice of a bunch of stuff. For $115, you get all that stuff us all you can eat lobsters. We went big.

Our first round included 6 clams & 6 oysters. The oysters were better than the clams. Both were fresh but neither properly shelled and they did not loosen them from the shell. But al in a, a good start.

Next came claws in garlic butter, 2 lobsters with salt and pepper and at least a pound of edamame. The lobsters were outrageously fresh (you see the live lobster tank on your way in. I looked carefully later and all were alive and in good condition, the water sparkly.) Butter yet they were cooked perfectly. They remove the claws (and I would bet they get one clawed lobsters from their vendor) from the body.

After I demolished the first lobster I looked at the claws and the order was 6 huge claws. The observant might say there are only 5 in the basket, but that was due to my gluttony. The claws were superb. They crack them in the kitchen but you still might need to use the crackers on a few.

By this point, we were stunned at how good it all was!

Next came the fresh scallops. They were seared and topped with melted butter on a hot cast iron pan. We ate two before I bothered to take the pic.

Next was 2 more lobsters in garlic butter again perfectly fresh and well cooked. The dusting of spice on them was put on with the tiniest of heavy hands but this is a minor quibble and not a fault.

By now Kay dropped out and so]the last round was 1 more salt and pepper lobster.

So the total was 6 clams, 6 oysters, a 1/4# of scallops 5 lobsters that collectively weighed 8 to 10 pounds, and 6 HUGE claws. As a retired chef, I always think portion control.

Now onto value. The other night at Hamido, they offered lobster at $27.95 a pound and scallops at a similar price. Doing the math, we came out ahead! But at that kind of money, $230 sans alcohol, tax or tip, it is a rare treat. On the other hand, for my birthday, we are going to get 2 dozen maryland crabs and that will set us back $188.

The server was great. When we told her we were from Baltimore and staying in Flushing she said she loves the Chinese food in flushing because it is the real Chinese food. She said in Manhattan, they tone down the food even for her. We asked where she came from, and she said Shanghai but she always ate spicy food growing up. We started to talk of yesterday’s food crawl and she was impressed at all a group of us round eyes (my description, not hers). She told us that they serve Cajun spiced shrimp and in the kitchen they always tell the chef if white folk order something extra spicy so they use more Sriracha and less hot pepper. And even asians get a toned down version because they had too much food sent back.

Finally she asked how we heard about them and I told her about tim lee and mikey chen. She was there for both. She was the one talking to Tim at the lobster tank. It was fun to hear about those experiences. Tim walked the entire restaurant filming quietly. Interestingly enough, Tim’s video brings in more custo.ers than mikey’s. She said 2 parties a week who actually show them the video. Tim raved while mikey, while he loved the food, emphasized his group function there more than doing one of his deep dives on the food. Plus Mikey did not do the lobster. It would be fun to see how many lobsters mikey would have got down.

Last add on value. There is a value on being stuffed to the gills on lobster. I have in the past been stuffed to the gills on Foie Gras and on oysters. Today I added lobster as a grill stuffer!


Thanks for a great report - I can’t believe I had never heard of this place. It’s not far from my DH’s office either…maybe next time I go in to meet him after work we’ll check it out!

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We were there from 2.30 til 4.30. The restaurant was less than 50% full. I think if it was completely fu it would be more of a challenge to hit the sweet spot as perfectly. With COVID, we try and dine at off hours. And often the food is better when everyone is fresh.

By the way, they offer fresh but not live Dungeness crab, fresh fish like flounder. And given how fresh the clams, I would bet their clams in black bean sauce would rock. And tim lee raved about their steak which they treat just like the scallops. With a group you can order the steak and grab it off the cast iron right after it hits your table so it is seared on the bottom and pretty rare on top.

Alcohol is pretty spendy. Cocktails made with nothing special brands were $18, and mediocre beers at $9. The ice water was a great accompaniment, free and abundant.

By the way, I used to use your avatar. Until we got Lord Poopington, our first ever pet.


Lol, that’s midtown for you. Or really any neighborhood in Manhattan. Great tip about off hours dining, though - will keep that in mind. BTW, do you know if they allow people at the same table to order “levels” of the buffet? My DH is not a shellfish person so the lobster would be lost on him, but he would enjoy just about everything on the $80 menu. I on the other hand would eat nothing BUT lobster!

Great report. Little slice of heaven right there. I agree they may use culls and bullets ie one claw and no claw lobsters but those are a lot cheaper, friends in Maine come up big on those, so great way to serve up such a fiesta at value to a customer. One can look at a cull as a lobster with a missing claw or just consider 2 culls for less than price of a whole lobster as a lobster with an extra tail I think. Look forward to trying this spot out thanks !

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I think the server said no. Since we were there specifically to pig out on lobster, we did not listen carefully.

When you order, they send a portion per person at the table. I can’t imagine how they could police it.

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Had not heard of this term. Thanks.

In LA a Chinese friend used to order lobsters that had ‘gone to sleep’. Meaning a lobster that has died, but very recently. At my local hmarts, they steam off their dead lobsters and they are a great price. But in the words of Miracle Max, you want one that is mostly dead, not completely dead.

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Whoa and wow @Dean! That looks delicious! Thanks for the great report.

(To Kay, maybe I need more YouTube food watching… though now I think about it, I can just follow you guys around after you do the watching!)

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I”n LA a Chinese friend used to order lobsters that had ‘gone to sleep’. Meaning a lobster that has died, but very recently. At my local hmarts, they steam off their dead lobsters and they are a great price. But in the words of Miracle Max, you want one that is mostly dead, not completely dead.”

As much as I enjoyed your original post.
I hail from New England on the coast and that would NOT be ok up there.

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Haha, great minds! I also have three of those infernal creatures in your photo - one goes by the name of Princess Poopsalot!

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Our lease has his name on it and we are allowed only one cat. Luckily, Poop has multiple personalities: bossy, grumpy, angry at us, and, finally, sweet and cute to his cat sitter.

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