Crabby Rick’s Shore Shack

3626 Rt. 35, Toms River; Facebook.com/crabbyricks

Crabby Rick’s sits on Route 35 in a section of Toms River known as Normandy Beach. Amidst an endless lineup of summer bungalows and seaside mansions, this blue and red shack is a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” type of place. A handful of well-shaded picnic tables flank the outside of the building, while a mix of Bob Marley favorites play in the background, their melodies dancing through the salty ocean air and setting the perfect mood. In fact, the whole vibe at Crabby Rick’s feels more like you are hanging out at a friend’s beach house who happens to be cooking up some delicious seafood.

Keep it:

Fried Clams ($9.95) Forget the puny frozen ones you find at most seafood joints (you know the ones I’m talking about — they look and taste like fried rubber bands). Crabby Rick’s fried clams are in a whole other category. Large whole-belly clams, fried to a golden brown and served with house-made tartar sauce. These were a real standout.

Lobster roll ($16.95): Usually you find one of two styles of lobster rolls, either the lobster salad-esque Maine style or the hot buttered Connecticut style. The lobster roll at Crabby Rick’s falls into neither category, instead it is served on a garlic roll with some spices and fresh greens. A simple, unique presentation that lets the lobster meat shine.

Crabby’s Crab Cake Sandwich ($12.50) One of the largest and most impressive looking crabcake sandwiches I have encountered. According to the menu, this monster contains “super lump” crabmeat (a category I was previously unaware of) which is coated in a thick, extra-crunchy breading, and served with lettuce and Crabby’s tartar sauce on a wonderfully squishy bun.

Throw it back:

Crabby’s Spicy Crab Soup ($8.95) Snow crab, Jersey corn and chorizo sound like the perfect ingredients for an amazing soup, but in the end the thin broth just left me unimpressed. That said, I do prefer cream soups and I have a feeling that a cream-based version of this might make me change my mind.

The fries: They came alongside almost every dish I tried, and added very little to any of them. Seafood pairs best with thicker, more substantial fries. These shoestring ones need to be promptly booted from the menu and replaced with something worth dunking into their awesome tartar sauce.

Trophy winner:

Fried clams

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Associate Editor, At The Shore/ACWeekly

Freelance reporter for At The Shore/Atlantic City Insiders from 2011-2015; Editor in Chief, MainStreetMarlboro.com,2014-2015; Writer for Zagat, 2013

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