Restaurant Review: Washington Platform's Crab Carnival

My husband and I are crab fanatics - we've had crab legs at Joe's Crab Shack, Red Lobster, Mitchell's Fish Market, Jeff Ruby's Waterfront, Logan's Roadhouse and even made at home from Jungle Jim's. So when we saw that Washington Platform was having a Crab Carnival - we had to check it out. (Their Crab Carnival is going on through Nov 16, 2013.)

Washington Platform is downtown at the corner of Court & Elm. It's not very big and there's no dedicated parking lot that we could see. There is street parking and a few pay lots within a few steps though.

While it wasn't too busy the night we were there - it appears they know how to have fun - check out their Harlem Shake video (I love the guy in the lower left).

The bar doesn't have a great selection of beers - but it was nice to see a few local selections - although they were out of the Angry Orchard.

I went for the lightest one I knew - Rivertown Helles - I'd had it before on my tour and liked it quite a bit.

The Crab Carnival is going on through the weekend at Washington Platform so there's still time to check it out. They have a variety of steamed/chilled crab - although we heard the table next to us order and they do not have Stone Crab - it's a supply issue - even though it's on the menu. There are also a wide variety of "crabbatizers" and entrees to choose from as well.

The decor is outdated but I did like these weird v-shaped booths. It was good for a couple so you had a little open view of the restaurant. In the bar room there was some live music but it wasn't distracting by any means in this room.

We started out with rolls and I didn't really care for them. They were stale and the butter was cold. Oh my disdain for cold butter.

I also got a side salad with ranch. The salad was fine but I really didn't care for the decimated vegetable bonanza on the top. It seemed like a coleslaw mix thrown into a blender. The ranch was good though. (good ranch, cold butter - oh the ups and downs of dining - haha)

My favorite kind of crab is either crab cakes or steamed King Crab legs - but I thought since this was a Carnival - I would try something different. I'd always wanted to try Soft Shelled Crab ($10.50) and figured this was a good time to give it a whirl.

I didn't dig it - there just wasn't any crab flavor. Larry refused to try a bite - he couldn't get over eating the shell and the legs. To me it tasted like a french fry. There just wasn't any crab flavor or meat and the fried soft shell just wasn't interesting. And they served it with a remoulade - which seemed to be served with every crab item. I didn't love that either - very bland. The portion size was fine but after one crab I didn't really want to eat the other.

Then I got the Blue Crab Lumpmeat Cocktail ($12.95). I love crab meat and I love shrimp cocktail - sure-fire winner right? No. The crab meat was very bland. I've never had Blue Crab - so not sure if it was supposed to be bland - but there was no sweetness to the meat. And again - smothered in that remoulade.

Larry got a pound of King Crab ($34.50) and the menu says "chilled or steamed" but the server didn't ask (which we didn't realize) and it came out chilled. We both much prefer steamed. It was fine for King Crab but some of the legs didn't have much meat in them.

Why Should You Go? Well - we didn't love our experience. I know they are also known for their Oyster Festival - so if you like Oysters - that might be another reason to try it out. The food just wasn't great and the prices were pretty high (although our meal was provided by the restaurant). It's odd to say in this world of "Chains are the Devil" - but Red Lobster is still our favorite place for King Crab (other than making at home). It's only available at certain locations - but it's cheaper and tastes better. The service was fine - a bit slow for the 2nd half of our meal - but fine overall.

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Disclosure: Our meal was provided by Washington Platform. All opinions are my own. 

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