Last week, we finally snagged a reservation at the UWS Fatty Crab, which has been booked consistently since it opened. We had never been to the original Crab so we didn’t know what to expect and can’t draw comparisons. My husband and I joined my colleague, Elise, and her boyfriend, Marc, an Asian food aficionado, at the Crab. My initial impression of the restaurant was that it’s dark (very) and loud (very) and has a strange smell (hopefully, that was just a fluke). The waiter informed us that the plates are inspired by Malaysian street cart food and meant for sharing and that we would need 4-8 dishes for the table. Marc has a more adventurous palate that my husband and me so we divided and conquered. Here’s what we ordered:
Elise and Marc:
Skate Panggang – grilled on a banana leaf, sambul udang kering
Soft-Shell Crab (a special)
Chinese Broccoli with Salted Fish
Steamed Baby Bok Choy
Me and my husband:
Short Rib Rendang – braised with kaffir lime, coconut, chili
Nasi Lemak – coconut rice, chicken curry, slow-poached egg
Fatty Sliders – mini pork & beef burgers
I was quite pleased with my dishes. I had tried the short ribs at the Taste of the Upper West Side last year and they were every bit as good as I remembered. The rice dish was excellent as well. By the time the sliders arrived (two good-sized sliders), I was stuffed and only had room for one (extraordinarily spicy) bite. The short ribs and rice dish were very large – frankly, the waiter did us a disservice by not warning us that we were over-ordering.
I tried a few tepid bites of Elise and Marc’s dishes – the skate was topped with dried shrimp (I am not a fan of the latter) and the soft-shell crab was, well, soft-shell crab. Marc devoured his food enthusiastically and seemed pleased by Zak Pelaccio’s fare – coming from a man that travels to Flushing to dine on Asian delicacies like stinky tofu, I would say that’s a compliment of the highest order.
I left the meal wondering why I don’t eat Asian food more often – I do enjoy it, after all. When I asked my husband for his review of the meal, he said that he doesn’t need to make a return visit. I had been thinking the opposite, but the more I mulled over the increasing number of great places to eat on the UWS (places like Recipe – review coming soon – and Salumeria Rosi and West Branch and, of course, Shake Shack), I would have to agree. Fatty Crab provided a very good, if not overly memorable, meal.