Monday, July 07, 2008

Crabs! (Restaurant Review: Mickey's Family Crab House in Bethany Beach, DE)

Is there any better way to cap off a week at the beach than with a crab feast? Doubtful. And if there is, I'm not even sure I want to try it.

After a week of beach and games and theme nights and a day of kids' rides at Rehoboth, we spent our final night in Bethany blessedly without kids (I love babysitters!), busily trying to eat our weight in blue crab. Initially, Friday was to be "Greek Night" (aka Toga Party) but as the week wore on, we all realized we could really use a night to ourselves. Also, we wanted crabs. It was late June, and I hadn't had a single crab all season.

We chose Mickey's Family Crab House, right on route 1 in Bethany, mostly for its proximity to our house. Not much driving, plus we wouldn't waste any precious childless time with a commute. Fortunately, we'd also heard some good things about the place from miscellaneous sources. Still, it's a crab house, not a five-star dining experience. We knew what to expect: paper-covered tables, pitchers of beer and a whole lot of Old Bay.

And that's what we got. Mickey's is as crab housey as crab houses get. Loudish, crowded, picnic tables, cheap beer and a brassy, hon-ish matriarch in charge of it all (but no, she's not Mickey). We all ordered all-you-can-eat, which was a very reasonable $38 per person, and also included corn. Because we can't help ourselves, we also ordered clams, hush puppies and crab dip. (We came close to also ordering their special oysters, but I can't bring myself to eat oysters in June. It's just...wrong.)

It was good, too. The first batch of crabs wasn't fantastic - they were a little on the dry side and maybe had been sitting for too long, and the corn was pretty horrifically overcooked, but that's not the main attraction. The second two batches of crabs were excellent - hot and steamy and perfectly seasoned (not too much, not too little). The crabs were surprisingly heavy, too, especially for all-you-can-eat.

The hush puppies and crab dip and clams were all pretty excellent, too, though we didn't really need any of them. Also, the pina coladas we had for dessert might have come straight out of a drink machine, but they were icy and tasted like pina colada ice cream, and I can't find any fault with that.

Our service was friendly and more than prompt, and really, we just had a great time. Also, Mike and Cooper and I (the Maryland natives) were all impressed by everybody else's enthusiasm. It's rare, I think, that six non-Maryland natives are so willing to get all-you-can-eat - and to really eat. Granted, at least half the crew has been living in Maryland since freshman year in college, but still.

A couple of pictures:

Kyle and Mary eating lobster bibs

Jen and me (and a little bit of Mike, mid-word), waiting for crabs. See how I wore orange to mask the anticipated mess? Smart.

Unrelated to crabs, but aren't Dixon and his little ladyfriend Maddy so cute and happy?

Photos courtesy of Alicia and her iPhone, Mary and her camera


theminx said...

After a bad experience at Buddy's, I'm afraid of all-you-can-eat crabs. My friend and I were bought a tray of disgusting stinky crabs that must have been dead before they were cooked. We pulled the backfin out of each of the dozen to see if any of them were good before sending them back and asking for a fresh batch. Ten minutes later, the waitress dumped a load of hot crabs on the table - each missing a backfin.

We never went back.

Kit Pollard said...

Ugh. That's not a fantastic story. But I can't say I'm 100% surprised, considering it was Buddy's...


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