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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
We were exploring this part of Georgia not far from Savannah (Tybee is 18 miles east of Savannah and right on the Atlantic) when the lunchtime hunger bug bit us. We checked out the beach area of Tybee Island and all the restaurants were crowded and parking was next to impossible due to hundreds going to the beach on this warm, Saturday afternoon. We had seen a roadside sign for the Crab Shack on the highway leading into the beach area and decided to retrace our journey and check it out.
The place looks more like an amusement park as you approach winding around sandy roads. Parking is helter skelter on grassy areas, under trees, anywhere you can find a hole.
The restaurant is absolutely huge with open air or downright outside air seating. It has cooling fans in the summer---much needed during our visit---and several fire pits for chilly winter nights.
Each table has a hole in the middle under a little platform where condiments and plastic knives and forks are stashed. Everything at this rustic restaurant is served on plastic. Well almost everything. I did get a little crab fork and some metal crab crackers with my meal. But when you're done, you just shove everything down the hole and it goes into a plastic garbage bag.
The setting for the restaurant is beautiful. It sits on a saltwater inlet and boats cruise by all the time. Birds fly overhead and land on the trees growing inside the restaurant.
Okay, down to the food. Once we parked and headed up to this sprawling place, we looked at each other and smiled. This was going to be "our kind of place," or so we thought.
We were seated and immediately ordered iced tea, unsweetened. You have to lean on the word "unsweetened" down here if you don't want sugar in it because they love their sweet tea!
The menu came and that was my first disappointment. It was very limited and a little bit on the pricey side. It had a low country platter for two for $39 but I saw several go by and they didn't look any better than we'd seen at several other places in Northern Florida. I wound up ordering a "half and half" -- a half pound of Alaskan snow crab and a half pound of shrimp for something like $17. It was served with a small ear of frozen corn. I preceded my lunch with a "cup" of New England clam chowder. It was more like a saucer of chowder. Fairly good and I suspect homemade since some of the potatoes were under cooked just a bit. Canned soup wouldn't come like that. The crab was pretty good, certainly average or a bit better. The shrimp were a little on the small side and lacked rich shrimp flavor we've gotten used to down here. They were peel-and-eat jobs and sprinkled with a seafood salt spice not unlike Old Bay. I suspect they started out life in a farm in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia or somewhere like that and then wound up here. My wife got a lunch special featuring Shack Crab Stew and shrimp, the same peel-and-eat foreigners that came with my lunch. The stew was more like a thick sauce than a stew. It was rich and creamy. My wife enjoyed it, to a degree, but when I took a nibble, it didn't do much for me.
Oh, almost forgot one huge irritant. They served melted margarine with the crab. That's a sin. You must eat crab and appropriate shellfish with melted butter, of course! (In their defense, if that was butter I got, then they need a new supplier!!! Yuk!!!!)
The staff here were extremely friendly and accommodating. It was a fun place to spend 90 minutes. The views were great. But from our one experience, don't go here expecting knockout food!
They have a web site here with directions, information, menus---the whole 9 yards.