Eating Adventures

Cracking shells and sucking heads at the Crawling Crab

In A Federal Case, I'll be eating my way up Federal Boulevard -- south to north -- within Denver city limits. I'll be skipping the national chains and per-scoop Chinese joints, but otherwise I'll report from every vinyl booth, walk-up window and bar stool where food is served. Here's the report on this week's stop...

When I was a kid, my bedroom featured a nautical theme with a shrimp net stretched across one wall, various plastic sea creatures purchased from corny maritime gift shops, and sea shells and driftwood collected from Gulf Coast beach vacations. For me, the kitschy stuff wasn't cheap or cheesy; it was just a reminder of the bounty of the ocean and of all the great seafood I ate in restaurants decorated just like my bedroom. My parents must have cringed every time they drove past a giant fiberglass crab or blinking neon lobster, because I wanted to eat at every boardwalk shack or strip-mall dive so adorned. After all, how could such a place possibly be bad? The Crawling Crab holds this allure for me -- leftover from childhood but no less potent -- because I know that the big red crustacean, coupled with a squiggle of neon promising "Louisiana crawfish," means uncomplicated seafood embellished with at most a layer of crunchy breading or a spicy sauce.

See also:
- The answers to life's important questions can be found at Tacos y Salsas
- DaLat Vietnamese Cuisine serves up vibrant sauces and neighborhood charm
- Pho Duy: Round three on Denver's finest stretch of noodles

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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation