Sunday, October 12, 2003

Crabs grab attention at Washington Platform

Campbell's scoop

By Polly Campbell
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Where to eat crabs:

Washington Platform Saloon and Restaurant has had such success with their oyster festival over the years that, five years ago, they started an annual crab carnival.

Crabs aren't quite as much fun as oysters. You can't have raw crab eating contests, for instance. There are no crab shooters, and you never hope to find a pearl. But then, most people think crabs taste better than oysters.

This festival is timed to coincide with the beginning of stone crab season and the tail end of soft-shell crab season. Blue crabs are fresh now, too.

Chef-owner Jon Diebold caters largely to the purist. There are plain, steamed crabs: whole blue and Dungeness ($12.95-$16.95) Stone crab claws, Alaskan and snow crab legs are sold by the pound ($18-$29) or half-pound. Appetizers include crabmeat fondue, crab cakes, spider roll sushi and of course, crab cakes. ($8.25-$8.95)

There's crab quiche, crab salad plate, soft-shell crab sandwich and crab Alfredo. ($7.95-$17.95)

Or there's the "crab carnage" steamer, which includes a mixed variety of steamed crabs with vegetables, pierogies, rolls and salad for $42.50

Washington Platform's not a bad place to stop after Tall Stacks. It continues the historic feeling of the festival with its old bar, exposed brick and late 19th-century saloon beginnings.

Dinner reservations for the crab carnival are encouraged, but you can walk in, too. Food is served 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and 4 p.m.-midnight Saturday. 1000 Elm St., 421-0110.


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