Usually, Alaskan king crabs don't arrive in restaurants until sometime in October. But if you have connections, you can get these tasty crustaceans flown in directly from the Bering Sea about six weeks before anyone else gets their claws on them.
In this case, it's a steak house that has first dibs on the giant fruit of the sea.
See also: Rare Blue Lobsters at Red The Steakhouse
Red the Steakhouse's Peter Vauthy has a particular fondness for the crabs and seeks out the first catch of the season. According to the chef, "as of this time, I only know of two boats that are fishing this early. These boats are bringing in golden and brown Alaskan king crab, which have an earlier season than red king crab, which starts in October."
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The crabs are flown in directly from the boats and arrive at Red within a day of their catch. Vauthy says freshness takes the taste "to another level. The king crab, literally, is out of the water less than 24 hours by the time it shows up here at Red.
"You can actually smell the Bering Sea on the crab when I opened the box this morning. We get them so early because I stay in contact with these warriors of the sea and am always ready to jump on the opportunity to share something so delicious with my guests."
Vauthy, who spent a summer working in Alaska on a fishing boat, says harvesting the giant creatures is as perilous as television depicts it. "The season starts with the naming of all the fishermen who didn't survive the previous season. In retrospect, that should have been a clue that it was not the safest of jobs. King crab fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet, and that job has changed over the years from a catch as much as you can to a quota system. It is now a bit more civilized, and this makes crab somewhat more accessible."