Shaking Crab, Porter Square Cambridge

We had dinner at Shaking Crab in Porter on Saturday in the former Tavern on the Square space. It was an ambitious choice for us with two spring onions in tow, since we were not sure how the heat level would be. As far as atmosphere, though, this place is great for kids- bibs, paper covered tables, a giant mess at the end: what’s not to love?

For apps, we all devoured calamari and curly fries. Our server, who was very helpful and attentive (in fact, there were at least 20 staff milling about with only 3 tables of diners), was able to bring us a sample of the chowder so we could confirm that it was too spicy for the kids. I’ll definitely be back to eat some myself- the sample was full of clams, bits of sausage, and absolutely delicious. That was going to be the kids’ main dinner plan, but we were able to make do with garlic noodles- these were drenched in garlic butter- dripping greasy trails across the table as we all dug in. Delicious, and an amount of butter that I would never use at home.

The grownups shared a whole Dungeness crab. We got the recommended shaking house spice, which was marked as “one chili.” I found it a perfect spice level, but my tolerance is pretty high so chili-haters beware as I would say it’s a notch above mild. The kids were not able to eat the crab, but had a grand time helping pick bits out to feed me. Keep it coming, guys!

The only dessert option was cheesecake, so we took our long-suffering spring onions over to Porter Exchange and got them some dumplings at Cho Cho and then some mochi. Interesting side note: the line at Santoku was long, but there were plenty of empty seats at the new Yume soba place.

I really liked Shaking Crab’s food overall and am eager to explore more of the menu. Next time we might try a fish sandwich for the kids, and I definitely feel that chowder calling me, as well as some shrimp. I can’t really comment on the pricing as I’m no expert on per lb prices for crab. I believe we paid $48 for the crab which was supposedly 2-2.5 lbs. The rest of the food seemed reasonable- it’s certainly worth something to have someone else clean up the tremendous mess we made. A very, very large mess. The largest.


Thanks for the review. I’m not far from the Newton location and keep forgetting about it. Sounds right up my alley.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2