Excellent | Worth a Detour
The Crab Shack
Review by: Jess Dawson
You’ll see signs for The Crab Shack on highway 80, the main drag on Tybee Island (Tie-bee, not tea-bee, if you’re curious). We follow the ample signage to the expansive parking lot that’s big enough to fit RVs, trucks, bikes and cars alike.
A huge painted sign for “hostess” tells us exactly where to start. We follow her past an eight-foot alligator (we’ll get to the real ones later) to an sprawling patio that overlooks Chimney Creek. It’s a Monday at noon, and they’ve just opened, so we’re some of the first there, but certainly not the only ones.
Our waitress, Rhonda, is energetic and attentive. She explains that the “Captain’s platter” is the favorite around here, so we get one of those. It’s huge, and placed atop a tiny table on top of our table, which sits above a round circle that opens up directly into a pristine trash can ready to collect as many shells as we can get through. The platter is generously portioned for its price tag: there are about 10 mussels, which could use a little bit of broth or seasoning, but fresh. The sausage is good to nibble on in between seafood. The potatoes are well cooked and sprinkled with Old Bay seasoning, along with a half a cob of corn. The crawfish are fresh and simple, as are the shrimp. Both delicious dipped into the bowl of butter or spicy cocktail sauce. The crab is my favorite. It’s super sweet and tender, and brimming with meat. I appreciate that even though this “serves one,” they don’t make us get two (even though we’re clearly sharing).
We also get one of the deviled crabs, which is sort of like a crab cake, but a little breadier. It’s somehow miraculously served in its shell and arrives with a creamy, thick aioli, which Rhonda reminds us is very good and essential to our enjoyment. The crab is also excellent and flavorful on its own.
The Brunswick stew is a tasty reprieve from the seafood. Its tomato-y broth is nicely seasoned with a bit of spice, local lima beans, and spicy chicken cut from meat fresh off the BBQ out front. The soup was traditionally made with squirrel and rabbits, and its origins are argued over between Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia.
A self-service hand-washing station is extremely handy for both Covid times and crabby fingers. Everyone is friendly and happy to be here, sitting and relaxing to Jimmy Buffet tunes and watching the wind pick up on the water. I imagine in the summer this place is a madhouse, and the beautiful oaks that blanket the space are much appreciated.
On our way out, we stop at the alligator pit to check out the congregation of alligators born and bred in this exact spot. They don’t do much, but are fascinating to watch post meal.
|Meals Served||Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Late Night|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|