Friday, November 16, 2012

Crab & Fin: Sensational Seafood on St Armand's Circle

With its 34-year history and inviting sidewalk tables overlooking Longboat Key's upscale St Armand's Circle, it’s no wonder The Crab & Fin is such a popular destination for locals and snowbirds alike. A trip to Longboat Key for me is never complete without the requisite shopping excursion around the 'Circle' and securing one of the highly desirable outdoor tables under the awnings of The Crab & Fin, within earshot of the talented local pianist who bewitches patrons everyday with his soft jazz standards from Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Coleman Hawkins, Blossom Dearie and more — it's worth the price of admission alone, if the food weren't so terrific too.

The charming hand painted sign of the Crab & Fin

Originally the location of Charley's Crab, I've been coming to St Armand's Circle on Longboat Key since my parents purchased a property in Florida in the 1980s. I've come down with many friends, relatives, boyfriends and now my husband too, but no trip is complete without a lazy afternoon at The Crab & Fin.

The Crab & Fin is located on a desirable corner of St Armand's Circle

Finding a table for one at lunchtime, at the height of the season on prime real estate seemed slim, but the maître d' took my name and within minutes I was seated front row centre. Within minutes again, I had ordered a glass of chilled 2001 Chateau de Poyet Muscadet, a bottle of San Pellegrino and a half dozen fresh Moonstone Oysters from Narrangansett, Rhode Island to start, which arrived with fresh lemon, horseradish, cocktail sauce and a champagne-cracked black pepper mignonette sauce, and a basket of warm bread complete with a pot of whipped butter. As an entrée I chose my regular — sashimi-grade Yellowfin Tuna Tartare with fresh guacamole topped with crispy angel hair filo on a tangy pillow of chili lime aioli. I was in heaven.

A lovely glass of chilled 2001 Chateau de Poyet Muscadet from the Loire

Fresh squishy bread and whipped butter arrives with the wine

Half a dozen Moonstone oysters from Narrangansett, Rhode Island

I always love to admire the shells post-feast

Yellowfin Tuna Tartare with fresh guacamole topped with crispy filo 
on a pillow of chili lime aioli

Chocolate dipped slices of chilled pineapple arrive with the bill

This jazz pianist has been playing at the Crab & Fin for as long as I can remember

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