Yes, this is a blog primarily about birds. And I write about birds here a lot. But fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly and every once in a while, I need to eat crab. Lots of crab! That’s why this past Sunday, July 4th, I invited my friends Nan, Lisa, Steve and Randy to join me at Catfish Dewey’s in Fort Lauderdale. Field Trip!
I had read about Catfish Dewey’s and their all-you-can-eat meals online. Reviews seemed mixed, but I was betting the place wouldn’t be in business since 1984 if it wasn’t any good. Most of the reviews had to do with the “ambiance,” or lack thereof, but to be honest, I really didn’t give a damn.
I have eaten in some pretty “interesting” looking places all over the world. Roadside markets, little food stands in parks, even at an oceanside shack in Aruba. So a little bit of a rustic look certainly wasn’t going to deter me from going. And yes, it is a tad on the rustic side. The decor is dated, but they know that in a place like that, fine linen and china don’t mean anything when you are serving up hot, steaming bowls of crab legs to a table of five that were ravenous. We were hungry and really didn’t care about the atmosphere due to the fact that we were having a great time making absolute “oinkers” out of ourselves. I don’t think any of us really noticed. The Hostesses were so nice and seated us at a great table that happened to be next to a bus station.
I found that handy because there was a huge pile of napkins right next to me. If you have never eaten crab legs, let me simply explain that you should wear clothes you don’t care about or at least dark clothing, because the shells will fly, butter will be splashed and if you’re worried about your clothes, bring a shower curtain to drape over yourself. This isn’t just eating, this is an experience. Here is a photo of our table and you can see the pile of napkins behind Nan:
The all-you-can-eat (AYCE) snow crab is served every Thursday and Sunday for $26.95. But I was thrilled to discover that you can have the “AYCE” anytime for a dollar more. I’m not about to quibble over a buck for crab! They have other AYCA specials as well: Catfish of course, fried shrimp, peel and eat shrimp, scallops, crawfish, oysters and clam strips, all on different days. The meal comes with hush puppies and a side. Nan and I had the collard greens and while they were really good, they got in the way of my crab. I had a couple bites and returned to my cracking and dipping.
We all ordered the crab legs except Steve who was partial to the shrimp. I sampled one of his breaded and fried shrimp and it was fabulous! I think they used panko bread crumbs which made them light and really delicious.
Generally, I’m a rum and lemonade kind of gal, but that just doesn’t play well with crab. I think the way to go with crab is beer. One of their offerings was “Shock Top” beer. I loved it! It’s a light citrusy beer that they dress with an orange slice and it worked really well with the crab. And of course they had a nice neon light that added to the atmosphere!
My Shock Top is in front and of course, Nan had her beloved Amber Bock:
If you notice, the checked table cloths are vinyl; a wise choice there because by the time we were done with our meal, it appeared as though we had taken our crab and pushed it up though the tablecloth. There were crab shells, crushed napkins, butter, and crab shreds everywhere. they bring these big bowls for the shells, but if you look close, you can see the table is beginning to get littered with crab bits and gunk:
That was just our first bowl of shells. We repeated that process four times, so you can imagine what we left for them to clean up. But I assure you that Diane, our server didn’t mind. We left her a great tip. Diane was hopping around making sure we were all happy as, well, clams and didn’t get “crabby.” Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Diane did a wonderful job making sure we got what we needed. She anticipated everything. We rarely had to ask for a thing.
Here are some shots of the Festivities:
Here is Lisa getting busy with her Crab Cracker:
It’s funny. I knew everyone at the table but none of the others had met. But we all had a wonderful time. Lisa just moved here recently and has begun her internship as a newly graduated Medical Doctor. We all warned her that when you get older you tend to compare aches and pains and she’d probably have to put up with a little of that during dinner, but she was a good sport about it! But we were having so much fun talking and cracking crab that there was very little of that. And everyone agreed that we have to come back again soon. We also all agreed that a shower was in order before going to bed. You get greasy from the butter and “crabby” from the seafood.
Now in the middle of all of this chaos, I’m getting up to shoot photos, we’re ordering more beer, and we all occasionally have to make a run to the restroom. During my wandering around shooting photos, one of the Hostesses asked if I would like to meet “Dewey.” Well all righty then! Here’s Dewey. Cute isn’t he?
Our delicious Hushpuppies. Dangerous when you’re set to eat a lot of crab!
The dining room lighting fixture. It came from a hotel on the beach that had been torn down years ago. Notice the sea horses:
Seahorse close-up shot:
Randy and I taking a break from the crabs:
Randy’s plate of crabs. Poor guy was getting pelted by me because the “garbage bowl” was on the other side of him and he got pelted when I winged shells past him. God it was messy! But it was so much fun!
Our desserts. An orange cake and a tuxedo bombe:
You can tell I’m just getting warmed up! Thank God for those napkins behind me.
It was a wonderful day. I got some people together who had never met each other before to do something that was not only fun, but delicious. I was able to hang with some friends, introduce Lisa, who is new to the area, to some of my friends and we had a hell of a time. Sometimes life is about doing something different, going someplace you’ve never been before and connecting people to other people, other places and new experiences. Catfish Dewey’s was the perfect place at a perfect time and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. It was a rainy day but we all had a wonderful afternoon. The warmth of Catfish Dewey’s made for a fabulous experience for all of us. I think the smile on Randy’s face tells the whole story:
You can find Catfish Dewey’s website here: