Aug 18, 2013

It's time to get crackin' at Claw!

Last Thursday night my friend Rosemin and I had no idea what we were walking into.  Loud music, a mechanical bull, and an all around fun vibe, Claw has to be one of the liveliest places in town! Located in the heart of Dubai on level 2 of Souk Al Bahar, this crab shack transports you out of Dubai and into a good ole' southern tradition. 
We sat down at our comfortable table in the corner (right next to a small stage) covered in a classic red and white checkered table cloth. As we gazed at the boisterous crowd, I thought to myself, what a GREAT concept.  It was refreshing to see a place with a casual aesthetic where jeans and t-shirts are the norm.  A well needed change form all the higher-end DIFC joints, Dubai is now finally catering to it's residents who appreciate value for money as well as a trendy bar scene.
Our friendly waitress was all smiles as she approached the table and greeted us.  No doubt she was genuinely excited to represent the establishment and was beaming with pride.  Her training was impeccable as she understood how to handle her guests.  Giving us the time we needed to make our decisions as well as suggesting key menu items which is always important whether you are new or a regular customer at any restaurant. My guests and I were so pleased with our experience until this point, we took our time deciding on our meal for the evening.
My favorites from our selection of starters were the jumbo buffalo prawns with a blue cheese dipping sauce (pictured below) which came highly recommended by our waitress .  This item reminded me of my college days when Buffalo wings were a staple part of a weekly meal plan. My palette has developed considerably since then, but after one taste of these, memories of my obsession with this bar snack came rushing back.

The other memorable item from the appetizers were the crab cakes.  Made the way they should be with jumbo lump crab meat, these pan seared patties were an especially tasty treat.  The chipotle mayonnaise it was accompanied by needed a little more heat or perhaps even a corn relish or mango salsa to give it a fresh touch. 
With so much on offer, we again had to go with our waitresses suggetions for the house specialties.  This heaping mound of crab legs pictured below is called the "Crabapalooza" and contains a mix of Blue Crab, Mud Crab, Snow Crab, and King Crab.  Before we could tuck into this monstrous portion, the waitress prepped us then provided us with the right tools to go into battle: bibs, mallets, crackers, and crab forks.  She even gave us some helpful tips on how to attack the dish, then left us to our own devices.

We went at it without a care in the world, and although I had crab juices dripping down my arms and probably some in my hair, I enjoyed every minute of it.  The succulent crab meat had just the right amount of seasoning and paired with the drawn butter, lemon, and corn on the cob, this was my crab heaven!   

Another popular menu item were the Baja Fish Tacos.  Beer battered and fried then served up in a soft tortilla shell with the regular fixings it was a fiesta of flavors in my mouth.  I only wish there could have been extra fresh guacamole and perhaps a dash or two of hot sauce (other than Tabasco) which would have completed it for me. 
 My guests were also intrigued by the sizzling fajitas which you could hear and smell throughout the restaurant.  This is another one of those nostalgic food items I used to enjoy way back in the high school days, and have seen recently making a comeback! The quality of the meat was outstanding from the juicy chicken pieces which were perfectly charred to the beautifully cooked tender pieces of steak. Served with the standard accompaniments including fresh salsa, sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, and the soft corn tortilla shells kept in the warmer, all that remained was the assembly. 
After the crab fest we wiped ourselves clean with these customized wipes provided to us by our lovely waitress.  (A nice little touch and proof that details matter when it comes to the food service business). At this point we knew we would not be able to leave Claw without a tasting from the delectable desserts on the menu.....

My first pick was the Key Lime Pie, a southern favorite with origins linking it back to late 19th Century Florida.  It's a light but tasty dessert, and stood out as the best option after such a filling meal.  The graham cracker crust was crumbly enough to stand up against the tart and creamy filling. 
The dessert item below is one you could call indulgence at it best.  Yet, another menu item that you often find at popular All-American eateries, was now available right here in Dubai!  Simply called the "banana burrito", it was so much more than that. The picture really says it all with banana and chocolate deep fried in a crispy shell covered in caramel sauce and served a la mode, I guess its safe to say the word diet never crossed anyone's minds that night.  Claw is a necessary addition to the culinary scene of Dubai. The entire experience from entering the restaurant to (if you are brave) riding the mechanical bull is focused on the customer.  You feel well taken care of and appreciate the effort put forth not only by the staff, but the owners and managers that understood their was a niche in the market.Check out claw if you are looking for a fun casual night out with some solid southern comfort food.  Calorie counting is against the rules at this crab shack, so be sure to bring your appetites!
 

4 comments:

  1. The photo of the banana burrito was all I needed to put Claw on my to do list. Sadly, I went there recently and tried most of the desserts on the menu (with the exception of the key lime and the pecan tart). The experience was mainly a let-down for me, and not just the desserts. I've binged my way through so many dessert menus and patisseries in town that I think I have become desensitized - perhaps I need to find a new hobby (that is kinder to my cardiovascular health)!!!

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  2. My apologies for the late reply! Sorry to hear about your experience at Claw, I heard they had a change in chefs over the past couple of months which could result in the inconsistency of the food. The key lime pie was one of my favorites, although the banana burrito appealed to more palettes. As far as desserts go in Dubai, there are only a couple that qualify as "great" in my book so indulge in moderation because it just might not be worth the calories!

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