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It’s that time of year when Dungeness Crab season takes over the Pacific Coast. These meaty and sweet crabs are found in the cool waters from Santa Barbara to Alaska, and this season has yielded a bumper crop.
Tommy Bahama’s Island Grille in Newport Beach is commemorating the season with a special menu dedicated to this tasty crustacean. Chef Jacquelyn Nabong is preparing a daily fresh menu that features a mix of both traditional and creative preparations, all featuring succulent Dungeness Crab.
While the menu items will change throughout the season, current offerings include a Dungeness Crab “Martini” featuring lump crab marinated in ginger, mirin, scallions, black sesame seeds sitting on a bed of ripe California avocado, a crab BLT Slider featuring Nueske’s premium bacon nestled on a toasted La Brea Bakery slider bun, Dungeness Tacos comprised of watercress, avocado cream, mango salsa, chipotle aioli, and of course lump crab all nestled in corn tortillas.
If you are a traditionalist, you won’t want to miss the Petite Filet Oscar: Char-grilled beef tenderloin topped with chunks of crab, served alongside grilled asparagus, all drizzled with a rich and creamy hollandaise.
The menu is available for a limited time only and is slated to end right after Valentine’s Day (although it may be extended if the crab season holds out), so we decided to visit Tommy Bahama and check out this crab menu.
We ordered all of the above-described items and a few other signature dishes (Kobe burger, ribs, desserts), plus signature cocktails. Our verdict—WOW! The crab martini is a winner, packed with flavor and creatively designed. The crab tacos were fun and tasty, while the bacon added terrific texture to the slider. In fact, everything we sampled was extremely well prepared, full of flavor, and beautifully presented.
Tommy Bahama is in Corona Del Mar Plaza, 854 Avocado Avenue, Newport Beach.