Located in the Piazza in Northern Liberties, Crabby’s Café and Sports Bar (1050 N. 2nd St.), at first glance, seems to be suffering from multiple personality disorder. Vietnamese, Creole and Seafood all rolled into a sports bar setting. But in fact they do all 3 cuisines fairly well. With plenty of outside seating including a large bar and lounge area that extends outside and lawn games, Crabby’s fills a need for whatever you are in the mood for.
Crabby’s Café is the 2nd location of the original Crabby Café, a popular spot in Northeast Philadelphia. While the cuisine may seem random, there actually is a large Vietnamese population in Louisiana who created a cuisine that blends Vietnamese and Cajun flavors.
The extensive menu includes a wide variety of food from classic bar snacks, to seafood boils and of course pho. Appetizers range from clams and mussels to fried seafood varieties like fried calamari and clam strips. In addition, Crabby’s offers a range of wings options – from whole wings in thai fish sauce, breaded Cajun-style wings or Jose’s Wings, with your choice of sauce. Try the Cajun fries and Jose Wings with the garlic hot sauce.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Crabby’s also serves the classic Vietnamese noodle soup, Pho, which is stewed for 24 hours. Choose from various options including Pho Tai with round eye beef , Pho Bo Vien with meatballs, or the Crabby Café Special with round eye beef, meatballs and tendon.
Both the wings and the Pho are quite good, but the stars of the menu are the seafood buckets. Choose your seafood – crawfish, shrimp, snow crabs, king crabs, Dungeness crabs, clams and museels – by the lb or one of their Crabby Buckets. Bucket combos come with sausage corn and potatoes and your choice of sauce: Crabby’s regular, spicy, burning or garlic butter. The seafood is boiled in a bag and brought to your table still steaming in the bag. The sauces are flavorful but messy so be prepared to put on the bib they bring to your table. Try the Fishermans Bucket with Crawfish, Shrimp, Snow Crabs and Clams, enough to feed 2 or 3.
Crabby’s offers daily specials, including Mussel Mondays, Taco Tuesdays and Wednesday Wings. Happy hour is available Mon-Fri, 4-6pm with drink specials and buck a shuck oysters.
Crabby’s covers a lot of food but manages to do everything decent. Service is inconsistent. Often they seem to be short staffed and slow, while still very pleasant and friendly. Prices are reasonable and for large portions. If you’re in the mood to sit outside and enjoy reasonably priced seafood, Crabby’s is the place to go.