I've been living in Long Island City for over two years, and I'm embarrassed by how long it took me to eat at The Waterfront Crabhouse. Even though the restaurant is just steps away from the Water Taxi Beach, it's not located on my usual route to/from work or near any of the shops I frequent on the weekends. So, when I was extended an invitation to dine there for the purpose of writing a review, I accepted and invited my friend Kym out to join me for the fun.
To be perfectly honest, given the restaurant's location, I was surprised by how many people were standing by the bar socializing and by how many tables were already full with customers. The walk from the Vernon-Jackson station is a bit of a long one, so seeing a relatively full restaurant was encouraging. While I was waiting for Kym to arrive, I admired the collection of vintage posters and signs hanging on the walls. (I love all things vintage.) There were also decorations of a nautical nature scattered around to go along with the theme of the restaurant.
As soon as Kym arrived, we immediately embarked on our tour of some the recommended dishes at The Waterfront Crabhouse. We started with the Neptune Platter ($28.95), which included Alaskan King Crab Legs, two Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, four Little Neck Clams, four Cherrystone Clams, and four Oysters served over ice, with mustard sauce on the side. Since Kym isn't the biggest fan of raw bar items, I had to tackle most of the platter myself. I had tremendous difficulty getting the crab meat out of the crab legs. The shells were limp and didn't exactly crack when I tried to free the meat. Kym and I both agreed that the shrimp were overcooked, and after discovering that the clams were gritty with sand, I stopped. Unfortunately, the Neptune Platter was a bit of a let-down and made us wary of what was to come.
Kym and I signaled that we were ready to move onto the next course -- the hot appetizers. Upon recommendation, we shared the Fried Calamari ($10.95), the "New Orleans" Hot & Spicy Shrimp ($12.95), and the Mushrooms Stuffed with Crab Meat ($10.95). Based on the quality of the items included in the Neptune Platter, I admit I was worried that the calamari would come out overcooked, but it was fried to the perfect point and wasn't chewy at all. Our only criticism was that the calamari could have been salted a tad more after being pulled out of the oil, but, overall, the calamari was a nice starter. The shrimp were definitely spicy and, according to Kym, who has spent time down in New Orleans, the seasoning was spot-on. I made the mistake of dipping some of my bread into the sauce that drowned the shrimp and then spent the next ten minutes chugging water to relieve my taste buds. Oops. And, the Mushrooms Stuffed with Crab Meat were absolutely delicious, not too heavy, and seasoned well. They were so go, even Kym ate an entire mushroom -- and I've never seen her order mushrooms during our dining adventures around the city!
At this point, Kym and I were beginning to get full and didn't know how we were going to get through the next course. Especially since we had three more dishes coming: Stuffed Shrimp Portofino ($18.95), Cut Lobster with Asian Black Bean Sauce, and the Surf & Turf ($26.95). While Kym enjoyed the stuffed shrimp, I wasn't that excited by it and felt there was too much spinach in the stuffing. Conceptually, the dish was a good one, but I think it would have served the kitchen more had they kept the dish on the simple side (i.e. less is more). We were both dying to try the Cut Lobster with Asian Black Bean Sauce after listening to our server wax poetic about the dish. Unfortunately, when the plate reached our table, the food was cold and the sauce was too salty.
Kym and I only ate a couple of bites of it before we gave up and moved onto the Surf & Turf, which consisted of two medium lobster tails stuffed with crab meat and filet mignon. The crab meat filling was the same filling that was used in the stuffed mushrooms from our first course, so we devoured the lobster tails pretty quickly. Since my stomach was filling up with food, I let Kym have most of the filet mignon.
A little tip from me to you: don't dip your filet mignon in the clarified butter. It may seem like a good idea at the time, but, trust me, you'll regret it! Oh, the richness!
Really, Kym and I should have stopped there. We should have held up our hands in surrender and should have summoned for our server so we could thank her for being so friendly and helpful in making suggestions as to the dishes we should try. But our server wouldn't let us leave the restaurant until we had tried dessert: Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Lava Cake, and, the specialty of the house, the Chaos Cake, which consists of a layer of brownie, topped with a layer of cheesecake, topped with a layer of chocolate mousse. Oh. Em. Gee. That Chaos Cake was to die for and totally pushed us over the edge. Seriously? Heaven on a plate.
Without a doubt, Kym and I were treated to a feast at The Waterfront Crabhouse, and I'm eagerly awaiting the warmer weather so I can try their seasonal summer items!
The Waterfront Crabhouse
2-03 Borden Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101
(718) 729-4862 | Map
Taste As You Go Disclaimer: I was provided with the opportunity to dine at this restaurant at no cost. I do not accept monetary compensation for writing about my experiences. All opinions are my own.