By: Shilo Urban
In Fort Worth, seafood restaurants generally fall into two categories — casual chains like Flying Fish and upscale options like Eddie V’s, but Blu Crab’s varied menu and casual upscale atmosphere make it an ideal, everyday seafood house.
At 8 p.m. on a Thursday, we arrive to a packed patio at Blu Crab Seafood House & Bar. The ambience is just as lively inside — the large bar top, which takes up one side of the restaurant, is overflowing with people, and most of the tables are full as well.
Although the hostess seats us promptly, it’s clear the staff is overwhelmed, and we are forgotten for a while. After a friendly chat with an apologetic manager, our server takes care of us quickly. Observing the energy around the bar, it’s easy to imagine this would be a great place to grab some oysters and a cocktail for a weeknight happy hour.
We decide to start with a half dozen Fresh Gulf Oysters on the Half Shell ($9). The oysters are large and delicious on a cracker with a dash of hot sauce. For those who aren’t fans of raw oysters, Blu Crab has other raw bar offerings (i.e., ceviche, shrimp cocktail) and a hot appetizer menu with everything from shrimp rolls and seafood fondue to calamari and crab cakes.
Blu Crab's menu is diverse. Whether you want a po’boy or fried seafood platter, fish tacos or boiled seafood, there is a little something for everyone. Blu Crab also has several fish filets available that can be ordered grilled, blackened or pan seared with your choice of sauce and sides.
We opt for the Cajun Boil Fest ($38), a combination of shrimp, crawfish, snow crab and blue crab that our server assures us is big enough for two (which it is). Contrary to the name, they’re out of blue crab that night, but happily sub it out for more crawfish at our request. We order the dish spicy and get the “Full Monty” treatment — covered in a combination of garlic butter, lemon pepper and Cajun seasonings. The spicy seasoning is hot enough to burn the lips, so I’m glad we didn’t ask for “flaming.” All of the seafood is fresh and not overdone — although the crawfish are a little on the small side.
For dessert, we try the Key Lime Pie ($7), which is perfectly creamy and sweet with a delicious raspberry sauce to offset its citrusy tang.
On a return visit for Saturday lunch, Blu Crab’s atmosphere is much more subdued. We grab a seat at the bar, and the bartenders are very attentive. For starters, we try a cup each of Seafood Gumbo and Crab Chowder ($6). The gumbo has a rich chocolate roux and plenty of seafood. The chowder is comforting and creamy, but the crab flavor is somewhat lost in its richness.
We order the Mix Grill with Dirty Rice ($15) off the lunch menu, which is one skewer of scallops, shrimp and salmon with mixed veggies. The scallops are perfectly cooked, but the shrimp and salmon are a little overdone — a hazard of cooking different seafood together on a stick — and the dirty rice is dry and, therefore, left mostly uneaten.
We also order a signature dish recommended from the dinner menu, Horseradish-Crusted Sea Bass ($38). Although far overpriced for lunch, the pan-seared sea bass is perfectly cooked with a flavorful horseradish crust. My favorite part of the dish is the beurre blanc sauce with crabmeat, which is delicious and doesn’t overwhelm the delicate filet. The dish is served with truffled red potatoes and green beans. The sea bass is a far superior choice, but it’s hard to get past the price point. If I make another lunchtime visit, I will probably stick to gumbo and a sandwich or taco.
In the end, if you want a pound of crawfish or fried catfish, a casual fish house probably fits the bill, but if you’re looking for a little more, Blu Crab is relaxed without the neon and fancy without the fuss.
Location: 6115 Camp Bowie Blvd., Ste.104
For Info: 817.763.8585
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
What We Liked: Despite an initial blip in service on our first visit, overall we found the staff to be attentive and friendly.
What We Didn’t: If you are looking for something other than soup and a sandwich, the lunch menu is a little lackluster.
Our Recommendations: Grab a seat at the bar for happy hour or a weeknight dinner and enjoy oysters, boiled seafood or fish from the grill.
By: Shilo Urban