Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Crazy Crab'z at AT&T Park

Update Review, October 2015 Visit

As always with update reviews, I'll tell you to start with my original review, if you care about general background and previous experience with an establishment, as I skip that entirely for update reviews, unless something has changed.

I recently attended a ballgame at AT&T park as part of a company offsite, where our tickets were loaded with SplashTix credits to spend at concessions within the park.  Some co-workers spent the entirety on cocktails, but I was never impressed with the margaritas or Bailey's hot chocolate.  Others were all about the hot dogs (which I'd had before, and didn't really want again) and garlic fries (again, I'd been underwhelmed in the past).  I fondly recalled the crab louis salad from Crazy Crab'z for, but this time, I decided to spend my credits in other ways: indulging in bubble tea, a hot fudge sundae, and caramel corn.  Don't judge!  It was all great.

Luckily for me, anther co-worker went to Crazy Crab'z, and decided that he wanted Tony's Pizza instead, after eating half his meal.  You know who quickly volunteered to take the rest off his hands.
Crazy Crab'z Sandwich (1/2). $17.
It was ... ok.  The bread was insanely buttery, crispy, toasted sourdough.  Not really my thing, but I knew it wouldn't be.  There is a reason I opted for the salad before.

The filling was generous though, tons of crab meat, some shredded, some lump, with a lot of mayo mixed in.  Decadent, quality crab.  There were also slices of tomato.

Overall, it was certainly fine, but not really what I was in the mood for.  $17 is a high price for a fairly small sandwich (what you see above is only half), but, hey, it is the ball park, and there was a lot of crab.  I'd go back to the salad next time.

Original Review, June 2013

I recently attended my very first baseball game at AT&T Park, as a team offsite event for work.  This was not just my first Giant's game, or even my first professional baseball game, it was literally, my first ever baseball game.  Given that info, you can kinda imagine how much I cared about the actual game I was going to see.

I almost didn't go, but then I found out that they were also giving us credits ("SplashTix") to spend at the concessions at the ballpark.  I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from ballpark food, but I had visions of delicious things like snow cones, fries, cotton candy, and caramel corn.  And, as my co-workers quickly pointed out, if all else failed, the credits could be used for drinks.  I was pretty much sold, and then, being my crazy self, did some research to find out what was good at the ballpark.  I quickly discovered that while I could get classic hot dogs and peanuts, AT&T Park, being in foodie obsessed San Francisco, had a lot of other options.  There was sushi.  Crab.  Clam chowder.  Fried dough.  Sooo many choices!  My decisions were made a bit easier by the fact that only about half the merchants accepted SplashTix.  (Side note: I wish they had signs or logos or something that indicated which did and which didn't, because it was annoying to wait in long lines, only to find out they didn't accept it.  My understanding is that this was the first year they added SplashTix, so hopefully that gets smoother in the future.)

My research quickly revealed a number one spot for food: Crazy Crab'z.  And being a crab lover, this was very exciting.  Everyone complained about the prices, but raved about the crab itself.  And they complained at its location, back behind the scoreboard, probably the further away concession.  But again, pretty much everyone - Yelpers, Chowhounders, my friends - all universally said this place was worth it, and hands down was the best food in the park.

So, that is where we headed first.  The long hike along the Promenade to Crazy Crab'z was actually really beautiful, with open views to the bay.  I see the bay all the time, so this wasn't all that novel, but it was pretty striking.

We found Crazy Crab'z, and as predicted, it had fairly long lines.  While we were standing in line, a guy came over, pointed at a bunch of us near the back of the line, and told us to come with him.  Uh, what?  We kinda didn't move, and he was like "come with me, shorter lines".  We still didn't move much, but eventually followed him over to a line several stands down that was just advertising hot dogs and whatnot.  Um, I wanted crab, what was he doing?  He explained that all the lines were actually the same.  I still doubted him, but did as he said.  And, he was right, we could order the crab at the short line instead.  So, protip, all the lines back there are actually the same, you don't need to join the crazy long line.

Crazy Crab'z offers exactly 3 items: the signature toasted Crazy Crab Sandwich, a cold crab and bay shrimp roll, and a Crab Louis salad.  Everyone says to get the Crazy Crab Sandwich, but as it comes on sourdough, which I dislike, I decided to check out the other options too.  Everything is pre-made, so I had a chance to eye my choices.  The cold crab and shrimp roll looked really sad.  The hotdog style roll looked soggy and totally uninspired.  It had a lot of the crab and shrimp salad inside, but it seemed like a waste to get the shrimp mix, when I really wanted only crab.  The Louis salad was also pre-packaged, with a huge serving of crab salad atop the greens.  Since I mostly just really wanted crab salad, I went for that, with the caveat that my companions would of course give me a taste of the Crazy Crab.
Crazy Crab Sandwich. $16.50.
So, this is what everyone claims is the best thing to get in the entire ballpark.

I see now why people complain about the prices.  Sure, it is the ballpark, so everything is expensive.  And sure, it is crab.  But this was small.  Maybe hard to see in the photo without context, but this is certainly not a large sandwich.  Kinda snack sized, not meal sized.  Which is ok, since you want to get garlic fries, sweets, and lots of other goodies too, right?

The sandwich is served on grilled garlic sourdough.  As I said, I don't like sourdough (I know, I know, such a bad San Franciscan!), so this wasn't a hit for me.  It was really crispy, really oily, and a tiny bit garlicky.  Kinda hard to eat as it was so crisp.  My dining companions, who do like sourdough, didn't like it either.  One removed the tops on his and ate it open-faced, the other just took a fork and ate the crab filling only.

The filling was a mayo based crab salad.  It did have both shredded crab and lump meat.  More mayo than I cared for, as it masked the flavor of the crab, but the crab did indeed seem quality.  There wasn't much of it however.

The only other thing inside was tomato slices, which were surprisingly ripe and paired well with the mayo.

The whole thing was lukewarm.  As I said, everything was already made, so I'm not sure how long ago it was actually grilled, as they had lots of baskets all lined up under heat lamps.  The warmth was nice, but it certainly could have been fresher.

This wasn't an awesome crab sandwich, and I wouldn't go out of my way for it, but for ballpark food, it wasn't bad.  The amount of crab for the price however was still a bit shocking.  Hard to see from the photo, but the entire thing was very small, and the filling not that generous.
Crab Louis Salad.  $12.75.
Since I really just cared about the crab, I went for the salad.  From looking in the case, I could see that the louis salad had far more crab on top of it than the crab and shrimp roll had inside its sad looking bun.  And it easily had twice the crab salad on it that the Crazy Crab sandwich had inside its crappy sourdough.  It was also $4 cheaper.

The base of the salad was generic shredded iceberg.  It was crispy and fresh tasting, but still just iceberg.  It was nice to have some crunch with my crab though, so I appreciated some of it.

The tomato wedges in the salad did not live up to their counterparts from the sandwich.  The slices in the sandwich were red and ripe, and these were pale and mealy.  Meh.

There was also a hard boiled egg, cut in half.  It was surprisingly decent.  You can only make a hard boiled egg so good obviously, but it wasn't overcooked, the yolk wasn't off-color, it was just pretty good. I enjoyed it dunked in the Louis dressing.  Speaking of the dressing, it was also pretty good.  A bit tangy.  Better than most Louis dressing I've had even at restaurants.  I appreciated that it was in its own container so I could add as much or little as I wanted, and everything stayed fresh and crisp.

The crab salad was the same as from the sandwich.  Again, more mayo than I liked, masking the crab flavor, but a nice variety of lump and shredded meat.  And there was just sooo much on here.  I couldn't believe how much more crab I had than the guys who got the sandwich.  My biggest complaint however is that it was the same mayo-based crab salad.  I liked the Louis dressing, but I didn't want to add it to the already overly mayo-ed crab salad.  So I ate them separately for the most part, some bites with just crab salad and lettuce, and other bites with egg, lettuce, and dressing.  I would have preferred to just have undressed crab on top.

Many of the concessions at the park are outposts for full restaurants located elsewhere in the Bay Area.  When Emil realized this, he wanted to know where the real Crazy Crab'z restaurant was, as he was that impressed with the crab salad.  I had to sadly let him know that the only place he could get this was at the ballpark.  He then started scheming about the shelf life of the salads, saying he could come and get a few at a time, and stock his fridge.  Lols.  This was definitely the best value at Crazy Crab'z, and likely the best thing to get at the park, but I wouldn't say it was worth stocking up on.  Although, I can't stress enough how huge of a scoop of crab salad was on here.  Certainly the winning choice.  I'd consider getting it again in the future if I was ever back at the park, but I'll probably explore other options next time.  Unless you really want sourdough, or just a small snack, get this, not the signature dish!


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