Family Crab Dinner @ La Capitale

{Sadly La Capitale is now closed. Table Five08 is in it's place. Andaluz is owned by David Rosales, who also owned La Capitale.}

According to Oregon Business Magazine, over three million pounds of dungeness crab have been harvested from Oregon's Pacific waters this winter. I have single-handedly consumed half of that catch. All of it at La Capitale.

My first round came at La Cap's Sunday Family Supper. The supper was pitched on the restaurant's webpage - Dungeness Crab Feed: Whole cracked crab with all the fixin's, salad and chocolate-hazelnut roulade cake. They also offered an option for kids Children under 12 were provided the option of a kid's menu with baked mac n' cheese or grilled cheese or croque monsieur with frites. Yes please! Reservations made online for 5 - me, my two daughters, along with my friend @lopezjen and her daughter.

I am a third generation crabber. As a child, my grandpa would take us to Nehalem Bay, we'd rent a small boat with an outboard motor and several crab pots. We'd bait the pots, drop them, and wait. It was cold and rainy, and sometimes the water was pretty rough. The boat would rock when we'd quickly pull up the pots, anticipating the little pinchers to sort through, tossing the little ones back by hand. We'd take our catch up the dock, they'd be cleaned and cooked in a giant crab pot. Back at the beachhouse, we'd feast. My mom would drink a beer, and then use the empty bottle to crack the shells, a technique I use now as an adult.

In preparation for the dinner, I told David Rosales about my beer bottle trick, but assured him I would act civilized and used the crackers he provided. I also asked Rob the Bartender for his opinion on the best drink for a crab dinner. He recommended a white burgundy wine, or Jack Daniels. We opted for the wine. An excellent choice.

Following our cocktails, a crisp blue cheese wedge salad opened our meal. Next, the crab - pristine, fresh and clean. It was served with butter, a spicy red sauce and BĂ©arnaise for dipping. Side dishes included a tasty slaw and fingerling potatoes. Dessert was the perfect ending. We all left very full and very happy. David and Rob provided exceptional service, as usual.

Round two came when I returned two days later for lunch. I was hoping there would be a crab dish on the menu, and sure enough, an open faced crab-melt with gruyere. Complete with La Cap's incomparable pomme frites and a small bistro salad. Y.U.M.

7 comments:

Jennie said...

Nom nom! So, is it true? Are crabs better during the months that have an 'R' in them?

Salem Man said...

I'd like some more description on how you use a beer bottle to crack crab shells. I'm already familiar with the part about making the beer bottle empty.

Vegan's Nightmare said...

I'm pretty familiar with the beer bottle trick myself, so I've included the instructions below. It's a little long-winded, so you might want to get a beer to drink while you read it:

- Step one, empty a beer bottle. I'll assume you are skilled in that art, so I won't go into any additional detail to explain how to do it.

- Step two, get a freshly cooked crab.

- Step three, empty another beer bottle, because step two was pretty exhausting.

- Step four, get some butter and melt it.

- Step five, empty another beer bottle because it took so damn long to find the stinking butter in the back of the fridge that you got thirsty.

- Step six, go on the hunt for another bottle of beer, because whaddya know, your bottle is empty again.

- Step seven, once you've acquired the beer you were seeking in step six, open it, and drink half of it, but only half.

- Step eight, find some crab-crackers because you just realized that the only bottles of beer you had around the house were 22oz Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA's at 9% ABV and you're in no shape to be using glass to crack open a crab shell.

- Step nine, use the crab-crackers as specified in step eight to crack open your crab.

- Step ten, enjoy crab with second-half of beer from step seven.

I think that's pretty much it. Those are the details of the trick as I remember them anyway. I'm sure MnLs can add any steps I might have missed.

Salem Man said...

Excellent advice VN.

KandN said...

Wow, I can see it now - Crab feed with the EatSalem bunch. My goal eat crab, crab and more crab.

I size up the competition. K - a crab light weight. I don't have to worry about her. Salem Man - I think he'll be easy, tell him a story and he'll investigate it all night and take pictures of his own camera (eye roll). Vegan's Nightmare - says he is a carnivore but we can distract him with a liquid diet. MnLs - she might be competition.

First course - bacon wrapped crab balls. MnLs fires the first shot by telling our companion landlubbers a tale about cracking crab with a beer bottle. Hah! It worked. Salem Man looks at the beer bottle and wonders how to use it. Vegan's Nightmare starts drinking (good he's distracted. MnLs is laughing soooo hard she forgets to eat. I get all the appetizers.

Second course - lightly smoked crab meat with chilled raw vegetables over a bed of rice. Tell Salem man the bottle has to be empty. This will keep him busy for a while. VN is on step 2, up looking for the crab. MnLs is up hob knobing with the beer tender. I eat the crab and get the rice and vegetable to K. She's happy I'm happy. I got all the crab.

Third, Crab Louie. Tell Salem man the bottle has a screw top. It doesn't, but that will keep him busy trying to open it. MnLs is busy with her wine, smelling it and swishing it. VN is really engrossed in step 3 & 4 of his liquid diet, too bad there is no crab meat to dip in his butter in.

Fourth course, cooked crab dipped in butter. VN is on step 5 & 6 don't need to worry about him. MnLs is busy trying to crack the crab with a bottle. Bottle smashes the crab into little pieces so it'll take longer to pick it up. Salem man hasn't figured out yet that because the bottle is full, he is making crab mash. I just use my hand to separate the shell pieces to eat the big pieces of leg meat inside.

Fifth coarse, more bacon wrapped crab meat this time dipped in chocolate, ahhh dessert. This is even better when chased by an excellent apple brandy (James you've out done yourself) Could it be that MnLs doesn't like chocolate so she doesn't want more dessert? VN is working on step 7, don't have to worry about him. Salem man finally figured out how to open the bottle. Now he is trying to use the open bottle to crack crab. Maybe we should have told him to drink the beer first.

Well I got my crab fix for tonight. I wonder how I will get my crab tomorrow. Maybe I'll go to La Capitale!

N

Anonymous said...

.....Whatever..

tracylee said...

Speaking of crab, tomorrow night is the Albany Rotary Crab Feed. $30 for all you can eat crab, chicken, salad, bread and dessert. 3-8 pm at Calapooia Brewing Company in Downtown Albany!

http://www.democratherald.com/news/local/article_c59d7d2a-1108-11df-a857-001cc4c03286.html