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After a delayed start, dungeness crab season arrives in the Bay Area
Local restaurants and markets are serving the beloved seafood despite lower quantities
February 8, 2021
The Dungeness crab season arrives in the Bay Area after a two-month-long delay involving price negotiations and low supply, which hampered the beloved season for seafood lovers.
Adrian Hoffman of San Francisco’s Four Star Seafood & Provisions described this season as a bad year all around for crab fishing. “I was talking to one of my fishermen and he said it’s been the worst year he could even remember,” Hoffman stated. Normally at this time, over 100,000 pounds of crab would have already been fished by Hoffman’s fishermen, but so far, only 10,000 pounds have been fished.
According to Hoffman, the scarcity of crabs this season has caused prices to skyrocket with twice the price in comparison to past seasons. Market prices for Dungeness crab range normally from $6 to $9 a pound while picked crabs; crabs that have no shells or guts can start from $20 a pound.
The following restaurants and markets below give crab and seafood lovers a place to order and enjoy the crab season this year.
Alley & Vine
(Mon – Sat 11:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.) (1322 Park St STE D, Alameda, CA 94501)
Describing themselves as authentic Californian cuisine, the restaurant partners with local farmers in order to provide the freshest ingredients for its dishes. For this Dungeness crab season, the restaurant is providing crabs that were sourced by San Francisco-based seafood company, Four Star Seafood. The restaurant is offering half a crab for $39 that is sauteed and prepared in the oven and comes with potatoes and vegetables on the side.
“We just try to work with all fresh produce, actually grown by local farmers, all organic,” Francisco, a manager at Alley & Vine, said about the restaurant.
Ray’s Crab Shack
(Sun – Sat 11:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.) (5989 Mowry Ave, Newark, CA 94560)
Serving the Tri-City area of Newark, Fremont and Union City since 2011, Ray’s Crab Shack offers different crab dishes during the season. Besides the Dungeness crab which is sold between 1.5 to 3.5 pounds at market price, the restaurant also offers a variety of seafood such as shrimp, crawfish and lobster. The combination bag, which includes an assortment of seafood such as shrimp, clam and crawfish, costs $33.
PPQ Dungeness Island – San Francisco
(Mon, Wed – Fri 4 – 8:30 p.m. Sat – Sun: 12 – 8:30 p.m.) (2332 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121)
Offering an assortment of seafood including crab and lobster, the restaurant sells Dungeness crab for $60 a pound. Besides seafood, the restaurant also serves Vietnamese cuisine such as peppercorn and salted egg yolk prawns. There is also a sister store located in Millbrae, CA, in the Peninsula region. The Millbrae location is open on the same days as the San Francisco location.
(Wed, Thurs 5 – 9 p.m. Fri, Sat 8 a.m. -12 p.m.; 5- 9 p.m.) (3308 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610)
A bar and pizzeria, this Oakland-based restaurant also offers Dungeness crab at $45 for half a pound. The crab comes with nori bread loaf and butter on the side.
(12 a.m. – 3 p.m.) (979 Edgewater Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404)
Ranging in price from $5 up to $50, Ocean Empire is a seafood company that is based in Foster City, which is 22 miles south of San Francisco.
“We serve local people who love crab; our crab hasn’t been in the tank yet so compared to the local market it just tastes better,” owner Eric Wu said about his company’s mission and quality.
Offering pickup at their Edgewater Boulevard location from midnight to 3:00 p.m., the company also makes appearances at the farmer’s market in Foster City located at 1010 Metro Boulevard, every Saturday. Those looking to buy Dungeness crab can find them for $7.50 a pound when shopping with Ocean Empire. The crabs are sourced by crabbers who frequent Half Moon Bay for crabs to be sold in their market. For more information, you can visit their Instagram page.
Four Star Seafood & Provisions
(Mon – Sat: 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.) (1315 Egbert Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124)
The San Francisco-based seafood company partners with local businesses and farmers to provide Bay Area residents fresh seafood. “My partner and I, we’re both chefs, decided about 5 and a half years ago to open up our own seafood company to improve the supply lines for seafood to get to restaurants,” co-owner Hoffman said in an interview. The company offers customers a chance to arrange a delivery or even a pickup through their website.
Despite the short supply of crabs this year, fishermen have noticed the quality of the crabs this season. The crabs are said to be bigger and heavier in quality, meaning there is more meat in the crabs than usual.
Crab season usually starts in November and ends somewhere in June, though the best months for Dungeness crab are typically in the wintertime. However, don’t wait as there’s no telling how long these restaurants will have their crab supply for.
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