In Season: Where to Eat Soft Shell Crabs

According to the old salts on the dock, the first full moon of May, which was last Saturday, begins the sweet season for soft shell crabs. Baby blue crabs have begun to molt, and you have about six weeks before they grow their new, harder shells to catch them, fry them or sauté them and devour them whole.

Suck down some oysters at the Grand Central Oyster Bar and crunch into the sautéed Carolina baby soft shell served with chipotle cilantro remoulade.

Wash down the beer-battered babies, which come fish and chips syle, at Walter Food — a recent and welcome addition to the Williamsburg steak and seafood scene — with the Gold Rush: a bourbon, honey and lemon cocktail.

Mary’s Fish Camp, the popular West Village spot that serves whatever the net dragged in that day, has had them “on and off” for a couple of weeks (call ahead, but not too early) served with whatever vegetables they snagged at the farmer’s market.

For a slightly more dressed-up version of the soft shell, relax in the balmy breeze of Washington Street where Barbuto has made a tempura antipasti out of their little guys and piled them — split in half and stacked high — up on mixed greens.

Like many indulgences, this one is fleeting, so wherever you end up, just enjoy it while it lasts.

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