Red Lobster’s Crabfest is always a much anticipated event among seafood lovers, and this year the nationwide chain has expanded its offerings with several new dishes. In addition, the restaurant has partnered with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to feature wild-caught offerings from the pure (and chilly) northern waters. The Alaskan waters are some of the least polluted in the world, and the seafood they yield test largely free from contamination by pesticides, bacteria, metals and petroleum derivatives.
If you’ve ever traveled in Alaska, the incredible seafood is bound to be remembered as one of the highlights of your trip. Piles of crab and salmon snatched from local streams are featured on nearly every menu. If you haven’t yet visited our wildest and largest state, Red Lobster’s Crabfest provides a nice preview.
The 2015 Crabfest menu includes both Alaskan salmon and Alaskan crab, all wild-caught in a sustainable fishery. Two varieties of salmon — Sockeye and Coho — and two of crabs — Snow and King — are available during the event. The crabs come from the deep waters off the coast of Alaska and the Bering Sea. The salmon are caught in the icy waters of Bristol Bay, Sandy Point and Prince William Sound. Look for the Alaska Seafood logo on Red Lobster menus next to the wild-caught Alaska crab and salmon options.
Several new Crabfest dishes, available for just a limited time, have been added to the Red Lobster menu. They include:
- Crab Lover’s Dream – Sample the best of both species with both wild-caught snow crab legs and split king crab legs, served alongside Red Lobster’s signature crab linguini Alfredo;
- Wild-Caught Snow Crab & Seafood Bake – wild-caught snow crab legs join shrimp, sea scallops, mussels, tomatoes, corn and potatoes, roasted in a delicious garlic and white wine broth;
- Wild-Caught Crab Legs Dinner – Your choice of a generous portion of Snow or King crab legs to crack, served with roasted corn and baby gold potatoes;
- Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Dinner – Three premium lump crab cakes, perfect for those who prefer a less hands-on approach to crab, served with Meyer lemon aioli.
- Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes & Crab-Topped Salmon – Premium lump crab cakes paired with wood-grilled, fresh Atlantic salmon topped with crab (guests can substitute wild Alaska Sockeye or Coho salmon for an additional charge);
- Crabfest Ultimate Surf and Turf – A popular pairing of premium lump crab cakes with a peppercorn-seasoned sirloin topped with crab.
Several items on Red Lobster’s regular menu also feature wild-caught crab, including the Ultimate Feast (a combination of Maine lobster tail, snow crab legs, garlic shrimp scampi and Walt’s Favorite – fried – shrimp) and Crab Linguini Alfredo. All entrees include your choice of salad and those yummy unlimited Cheddar Bay Biscuits.
Crabfest is a great opportunity to learn more about Alaska’s sustainable seafood industry and its products. The history of sustainable seafood dates back over 50 years in Alaska. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council and the State of Alaska maintain a close watch and stringent limits on fishing in the region, adhering to and surpassing the standards established by the U.N.’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Wild caught Alaskan salmon has the only “best” rating for salmon on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch List, and salmon numbers are healthy with populations increasing to historic highs.
Salmon is Alaska’s state fish, with several species including the two featured on the Red Lobster menu. Sockeye Salmon is often called Red Salmon, due to its distinctive deep red flesh which remains red and richly flavored during cooking. It is Alaska’s second most abundant salmon species and lends itself to a variety of cooking styles including grilling, baking, poaching and broiling. Coho Salmon, also called Silver Salmon, is considered the best salmon for grilling, thanks to the texture of its firm orange-red flesh. Its delicate flavor is a favorite with many. Fresh salmon, like on the Red Lobster Crabfest menu, is only available during the short June to September fishing season. See a video about wild-caught salmon here.
Crabfest wouldn’t be Crabfest without plenty of crab, and Red Lobster is featuring two varieties of wild-caught Alaskan crab this summer. King Crab is the largest of the crabs caught around the globe, and the most impressive, with unmatched sweet flavor and a tender texture. Alaska Snow Crab is a consumer favorite, thanks to its tender, snow white meat and easily cracked shells. As part of the Crabfest celebration, Red Lobster’s Chef Heidi shared a video with five tips to make crab cracking a snap.
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is a partnership between the State of Alaska and the Alaska seafood industry, the state’s largest private sector employer. Its website includes details on the sustainable standards of the Alaskan fisheries, as well as nutritional information and some great recipes. More information can be found at the Wild Alaska Seafood website.
Crabfest continues for a very limited time at area Red Lobsters. In the Charlotte area, you’ll find locations in Matthews off Independence Blvd., in Pineville near Carolina Place, and in Concord near Concord Mills and the Speedway. Gastonia, Hickory and Statesville have additional locations. Find directions and menus on the Red Lobster website.
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