The crab that fights back

Jaylene Maldonado and Kaiya Alsobrook

It was a Friday afternoon, traffic was bumper to bumper making me eager to reach my destination. The Kickin’ Crab was in the heart of Plaza Mexico and you could hear the mariachi playing their guitar as soon as you stepped into the main square of the plaza. The Hispanic culture was captivating and it made you feel as if you traveled to Mexico.

Once you walk in, you suddenly get a rush of energy from the restaurant. You can’t hear yourself think because there is so much happening at one-time, R&B music, the conversations of satisfied customers and the sounds of the sports commentators for the Mexico vs Bermuda game fill the establishment. 

The restaurant was at its’ max capacity and each table was filled with different families. Walking in, you immediately smelled butter and cajun seasoning – all appetizing things.  While you wait for your table to be ready, you may walk around Plaza Mexico, which is home to many establishments including, Wetzel’s Pretzels, Two Scoop, Planet Fitness and more. As you walk past Planet Fitness, you realize that you may need to stop by after filling up on delicious cajun seasoned seafood that you are about to devour. 

Once your table is ready, you will find that it consists only of a plastic table cover, salt, and pepper in a small plastic container, ketchup, a roll of napkins, and a mountain of limes. 

The Kickin Crab is not your traditional sit-down restaurant. Your food is served to you in plastic bags. The shells of your food are meant to be left on the table, as the server will pick it up when they change the plastic cloth. The restaurant serves a wide variety of shellfish, including shrimp, clams, and mussels in addition to seasonal items as well as being able to choose the level of spiciness. They also offer different sides to come in your bag as well such as corn, potatoes, and sausages. If you are unaware of what spicy level to get, I recommend getting the Medium to start off as the spicy may be too spicy for some. I had ordered the spicy as it had been my first time there. 

 “You might want to keep in mind that the spicy is actually spicy.” said the waiter.

Immediately as you open the bag, you are hit with a strong piquant smell of the cajun seasoning along with the spiciness. It was mouthwatering and made me want to rip off the shrimp skin off in an instant. You notice that the shrimp is not peeled and still has its black bug eyes that stare at you as you strip away its shell and bite into its spicy insides. 

After taking a few bites of the shrimp, you instantly regret getting spicy. Your lips may begin to feel numb and started to sting as if my lips were on fire.  The lingering dark thick red sauce marinated the shrimp making you want more despite the blazing sensation. At first, it may feel quite unusual that you are left to eat like a 5-year-old with no plates and leaving your trash on the table but makes for a perfect experience. 

The corn was scrumptious, it was both dulcet and hot. One bite it was sweet like sugar then the next it was unbearable but left you wanting more just like the rest of the menu. You could do without the potatoes as they were half-cooked and not as appealing as the rest. 

If you are looking for another Cajun-inspired seafood restaurant try “The Boiling Crab,” located in the heart of Koreatown on Kinross Avenue. The Boiling Crab is a little cheaper than The Kickin’ Crab but the Kickin’ Crab features more menu items in both the appetizer and main dish sections. Both restaurants are decorated with graffiti but, The Boiling Crab is decorated with names of customers and significant dates.

As with the Kickin’ Crab, your table is covered with a plastic table cloth that is used as your plate. Unlike the Kickin’ Crab, the boiling crab does not offer the same condiments such as salt, pepper, ketchup, or limes. If you desire any of these condiments for your meal, you would have to ask your waiter who will happily grab them for you. 

The Boiling Crab offers you less of a variety. They serve a wide variety of blue crab, King crab legs, snow crab legs, lobster, shrimp, oysters, crawfish, mussels, and Dungeness crab. 

 In addition to seasonal items, you are able to choose from four different flavors: Rajun Cajun, The Whole Sha-Bang, Lemon Pepper, and Garlic Sauce. Similar to Kickin’ Crab, you are offered different levels of spiciness and the levels of spicy vary from Non-spicy, Med, Mild, and the spiciest. 

Unlike the Kickin’ Crab, The Boiling Crab’s mild is not as spicy in comparison. Their spicy flavoring was mellow. You could hardly tell you had ordered the mild.

 Just like the Kickin’ Crab, they also offer different sides to come in your bag as well, such as corn, potatoes, and sausages. Unlike the Kickin’ Crab, they offer an extra side of gumbo with or without rice. The gumbo is appetizing for you if you do not wish to order the other menu items.

If you are unaware of what spicy level to get, I recommend getting the medium to start off as the spiciest level they offer may be too spicy for some. I had ordered the mild as it had been my first time there but I wish I chose the highest spicy level they offer. 

You may also decide that you don’t want your food in a bag and bucket and decide to order mess-free popcorn shrimp with cajun fries. The golden-brown popcorn shrimp is crunchy on the outside and the cajun seasoning packs a punch on the inside.

Once you start eating your popcorn shrimp you realize your food was very tasteful. Despite being fried, you can tell the shrimp held lots of flavors which leads you wanting more before you finish eating. 

Although both establishments offer the same variety of food, we suggest you visit the Kickin’ Crab. Although it costs a couple of dollars more, you are getting more for your money and the flavor it offers is unmatchable.