Trending on Recent OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Soft-Shell Crabs

This is the delicious soft-shell crab po' boy served at GW Fins in New Orleans.

The weather has been wacky this spring, particularly on the East Coast. Back in February, there were days during which the temperatures reached well into the 80s. A lot of my fellow New Yorkers enjoyed this, though the Master Gardener in me considers it a sign of the ecological apocalypse. One happy by-product of this eerily unseasonably warm weather, however, is the early arrival of soft-shell crabs. I indulged at a friend’s restaurant for the first time last night and relished every crispy bite, so much so that I am having them again today! 

Another Monkey, San Francisco, California: “Best Thai food I’ve ever had! Definitely order extra soft-shelled crab. Four of us came, and we split four dishes, and all were amazing. The crab was so good that when we finished, we ordered a second for dessert!”

 * Blue Water Grill, New York, New York: “I took my mother here to celebrate her birthday. She love soft shell crabs and they went above and beyond to ensure that they let us know that they were going to have thm especially for her. They were flash fried and extremely tasty.”

Chef’s Station, Evanston, Illinois: “Soft-shelled crab was on the menu and my wife and I agreed that it was about the best we have had. Foie gras appetizer was perfectly prepared, too. Definitely a find for us.”

Chez TJ, Mountain View, California: “Dining at Chez TJ was one of the best experiences I have ever had. The food was innovative and delicious and they were awesome when it came to celebrating our special occasion and food preferences. I loved everything we were served, but I must say the soft-shell crab was the best, most succulent, sweet and well-cooked soft-shell crab I have ever had.”

Cookshop, New York, New York: “Pizza with fresh ramps, sublime. Soft-shell crab delightful and generous. I’ll start combining appetizers at this nabe fave, but not because the scallops and pheasant don’t stack up–they do!”

Craft, New York, New York: “We had a great dinner with really different and exciting dishes. The soft-shell crabs were amazing. Crisp and incredibly favorable. One of the best meals we have had.”

ELEVEN, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: “A magnificent soft-shell crab was served with freshly foraged ramps — those seasonal rarities which just go to prove exactly how good nature is at making food when not messed around with by mankind.”

* Food Wine and Co., Bethesda, Maryland: “Soft-shell crab was crisp and had a fantastic corn puree alongside.”

Gram & Dun, Kansas City, Missouri: “I had the special of the day — soft-shell crabs with a light breading and grapefruit sauce and truly enjoyed it.”

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On Our Plate: Chicago Restaurant Week; Additional Winter Restaurant Week Reservations Open; Buy Tickets for St. Jude Gourmet Gala in DC on February 21

Chef Jason Tilmann made this Valentine's Day special for me when I visited Triomphe -- and I ate the entire thing. Standing up. In the kitchen. In four minutes. It was that good.

Happenings on and around OpenTable this week…

* Be a part of the largest St. Jude event in Washington, D.C., the 14th annual St. Jude Gourmet Gala: Mardi Gras for the Kids! on Tuesday, February 21, 2012, at the National Building Museum. Your tickets support children suffering from catastrophic and life–threatening diseases, and you will also enjoy an exclusive opportunity to taste some of the D.C. area’s finest restaurant cuisine while mingling with more than 750 business, financial and political leaders. Buy tickets today!

* Got a question for New Orleans Chef Tenney Flynn of GW Fins? Let us know in the comments! We’re interviewing him tomorrow about Mardi Gras, foods and booze for Fat Tuesday — and hangover cures for Ash Wednesday!

* Chicago Restaurant Week kicks off Friday. Take advantage of $22 lunches and $33 or $44 dinners at hundreds of restaurants in the Windy City.

* Reservations are now open for additional Winter Restaurant Weeks, such as AnnapolisAtlantic City, Buckhead, Burlington, Chicago ChefDenverHudson ValleyLas VegasMinneapolis, Orange Countyand Sonoma County.

* Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but if you missed any of our coverage on chefs, aphrodisiacs, and more, click here!

And, we’re still hiring! We’re staffing up and looking for talented people to join our team. Check out openings in engineeringoperations, and sales.

Notes from NOLA: An Evening with Chef Tenney Flynn at GW Fins

We’re back with more of our coverage of the Louisiana Seafood Blog Masters! Chef Tenney Flynn and the amazing staff at GW Fins, one of NOLA’s most notable restaurants, put on a six (and then some!) course menu that highlighted some of Louisiana’s finest seafood specialties. Dishes included a softshell crab BLT and Louisiana barbecue shrimp to Creole tomato salad and grilled Cobia, among others.

When asked what seafood he prefers to serve to his discerning diners, Chef Flynn told OpenTable, “It depends on the day. But, the amount of fin fish that are in the Gulf…even people who live in New Orleans aren’t necessarily aware of the wealth that there is in the Gulf. If you take all the fin fish on the East and West Coasts, we still have more varieties in the Gulf. The tonnage in Alaska is greater, but we have more varieties.”

The diversity of seafood is as impressive as the volume of seafood. Chef Flynn notes, “Everybody associates New Orleans with shrimp, crab, crawfish and oysters and maybe Speckled Trout and flounder or Pompano, but we’re also the number two tuna harvester after Hawaii. And, people don’t necessarily think of New Orleans when they think of tuna, but we’ve got some yellowfin, some bigeye, some albacore, and some blue fin, which is an incidental catch. But, five kinds of tuna, five kinds of snapper…I could go on and on and on. All these fish — and more — are locally available.”

GW Fins, known for its top-notch seafood, prides itself on sourcing not only an amazing variety of Lousiana’s best catches — but also its freshest catches. “We get fish occasionally that’s still in rigor, and theres no way to fake that. It really is amazing,” adds Flynn.

View the slideshow below to see the spread Chef Flynn put out for food bloggers, including Gaby DalkinAmy ShermanEmma Christensen, and Jenny Flake.

Notes from NOLA: Several Servings of the Louisiana Seafood Festival

In Louisiana, they’re proud of their seafood. In fact, they’re so proud that they put on entire festival dedicated to it! As part of our coverage of the Louisiana Seafood Blog Masters, we spent the day at the 2011 Louisiana Seafood Festival watching amazing cooking demos (in a, thankfully, air-conditioned tent!) by some of NOLA’s most important chefs, including Commander’s Palace chef Tory McPhail and chef Chris Lusk, aka The King of Louisiana Seafood. We hit up street vendors (fried green tomatoes, étouffée, and po’ boys, oh my!), snapped photos alongside top bloggers, including Nate Lippy, Emma Christensen, and many more, and enjoyed the sights and musical sounds going on around the old U.S. Mint.

Check out the slideshow below to see what we saw (and ate!).

Coming up next — dinner at GW Fins and brunch at Commander’s Palace!