Thursday, August 11, 2016

Where Ties are Not Required or Even Recommended

Using Yelp to find a good seafood place near Anaheim, we settled on the Boiling Crab (TBC), a favorite of over 2,000(!) reviewers.

The restaurant was in a slightly run-down suburban shopping center in Garden Grove, but the location didn't keep the weeknight crowd away. There were at least 20 people in line outside.

Let your fingers do the shelling
Seated in half an hour, we ordered quickly. My associate went right for the crab--boiled of course--while I, wanting to preserve my collared shirt, ordered shrimp that could be eaten diffidently with a fork and knife.

The server plopped down a bag of shrimp that was boiled in red spices. Where was the plate? Where were the utensils?

That's when I looked around at fellow diners who were attacking their shellfish with fingers and teeth. Now I understood why the waitresses set out a plastic table cover and gave all customers a bib when they sat down.

I stripped down to a T-shirt and tore at the shrimp with gusto. The crustacea were fresh and delicious and mildly spiced, as I had ordered.

The Boiling Crab experience is unique: diners are compelled to focus on the food and talk to their companions---who wants to get crab juice all over their smartphone?

In select parts of the country there is a renaissance in fine dining, and people are again dressing up when they go out to eat. A word to the wise: TBC does not cater to that demographic, so guys, you don't have to wear a tie.

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