By the name alone, one might think that this restaurant was some Chinese place on Alexandra. But no, it’s a little dockside (dock-on?) restaurant in Steveston. Similar in form to Pajo’s fish and chips, the restaurant is more like a concession window floating on the water off the Steveston boardwalk, but the seating area is not quite so spartan — it’s got an awning to shelter diners from sun or rain, though I doubt people would be out and about in Steveston in the rain.
We ordered the Feast for Two, which includes a half crab, seafood spring rolls, miso soup, and fries. I’m not really a fan of miso soup, but I tried this one, and found it quite pleasant; less salty than typical sushi restaurant miso soup. I still found it a little incongruous in the context of the rest of the menu, though. Fries and a western-style crab preparation paired with miso soup and spring rolls bring the word “fusion” to mind, but without the accompanying harmony and playful, well, fusion between cooking styles and ingredients. Like Canada is a cultural mosaic, this is a culinary mosaic, within one restaurant!
I’m a spring roll fiend. I like all things deep fried, and these ones were okay. My favourite kinds are still the ones found at dim-sum restaurants: super crunchy rather than crispy, with steaming hot filling. The shell on these rolls was flaky and crispy rather than crunchy, which, while probably healthier, didn’t quite suit my taste. The filling was average, though I forgot to make note of exactly what was inside the roll. It was definitely seafood, though, so no false advertisement here.
The fries were a little soggy, perhaps owing to the gravy, but the addition of crab was a nice touch. Crabby poutine. A few minus points for the shredded cheese, but after many poutine experiences in Vancouver, I don’t even know about the use of legit cheese curds in poutine anymore. Nowhere gets the squeak right…
Thinking back, I’m actually not even sure why I ended up at Crab King to begin with. I don’t even like crab that much — it’s a lot of work breaking into the crab shell for a small payoff of meat. Lobster has a much better time/food ratio, although it’s more expensive. Luckily, Crab King supplied us with crab breaking supplies, so I didn’t have to resort to the time-tested Chinese method of just biting the shell until it breaks open. Or was that just my own method, being the savage I am? Another thing about crab: I’m not even sure that the different methods of preparing it have an effect on the flavour. After all, people don’t eat the shell, which is where all the seasoning is. Crab King remedied this with a little dish of butter for the crab, to lend some flavour to the meat. I personally prefer letting the delicate taste of the crustacean stand on its own, but to each their own!
Immediately, you’d think that this isn’t really enough food for two people, and… you’d be right! This isn’t heavy food, at all; it’d probably be best suited to a light or early dinner before taking a summer evening stroll around the Steveston boardwalk and picking up some frozen yogurt.