NYC
Posted May 20, 2022

I cannot recall the last time I’ve cracked open crab shells and eaten a huge chunk of crab meat. In Los Angeles, I used to go to a lot of seafood buffets, and they would always have a plethora of snow crab legs that you could eat for hours on end. We decided today to venture out to this all you can eat seafood buffet in the city. We were able to walk in with no reservations for 2 around 5:30 PM on a Friday.

Ambiance

The decor is not as gimmicky as other seafood buffets where normally you see a lot of sea themed decorations on the walls. We were seated in one of the rooms, where there were several tables. There was a lobster tank next to the downstairs dining room, so I am assuming the lobster must be pretty fresh.

The place is pretty loud, but not uncomfortably so.

Like most sit down buffets, they give you a pencil and paper with items on it. We opted to not go the lobster buffet and stick to crab only. You simply checkmark the items you want per round, and the wait staff will take that and have the kitchen fire it up. The food generally came out pretty fast, probably averaging about 5 minutes per order. The items do not come out all at one time, but they do come out hot. There were times where some items we ordered didn’t arrive, and other times where items we ordered came super late. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask your wait staff on where things are if you’re missing anything. At your table, they have a bucket where you can throw your shells and junk into it.

And like the peel-yourselves buffets, they give you a bib to help you avoid a significant amount of mess on your shirt.

The price of the buffet without lobster is $80 and with lobster is $115. When you decide to pay, they come by with a remote tablet to your table.

Food

Along with your meal, the wait staff provides lemon wedges, cocktail sauce, some spicy tabasco-like sauce, and warm drawn butter.

The diet coke and apple juice are fairly expensive by themselves. I believe it was somewhere around $3 for each serving, so they are definitely not all-you-can-drink.

The garlic bread was deceivingly good and warm. This is definitely filler, so if you had any strategies in mind, don’t fill yourself up on this.

I asked for the seaweed on the side because my partner generally likes this at Japanese restaurants. Suffice to say, it tasted as expected.

The old bay shrimp came on 2 skewers and was pretty hot. The shrimps were pretty good surprisingly, although I wasn’t too fond of the outside consistency. The outside probably was a mixture of old bay and butter. When you get the shrimp, there’s this glazed texture on it due to it not being fully grilled.

The iron steak came rare but cooked fast on a sizzling pan. When they bring this, they have a side of drawn butter that they pour on this sizzling pan. This ends up helping lather and cook the steak some and also provided it some more fat. The steak itself was surprisingly pretty tender.

The scallops like the steak also had some drawn butter poured when it was served. The scallops were fresh and pretty good. We ended up getting 2 orders of scallops this night.

The cajun garlic butter shrimp (left) was not as good as I was hoping. There was something off with the sauce that I couldn’t quite articulate. It did not have that balance that I was expecting from the typical Vietnamese/Southern crawfish restaurants. My partner also did not enjoy the sauce much.

The jumbo crab legs with old bay (right) were piping hot and pretty good. It probably was not super fresh crab of course. The shell was not difficult to break, and the meat was fairly easy to pull out, even for inexperienced crab eaters. We ended up getting 3 orders of this because this was the best bang for us.

The clam chowder actually had a decent amount of clams, but the flavor was definitely not the best. It was not creamy enough and definitely lacked some salt.

The steamed clam with black bean sauce was pretty good albeit quite salty. They definitely steamed the clams and then poured the sauce over. My partner wasn’t a fan of this, so I ended up eating it all. The clams are very small, but they were tender.

Some other items we ate but didn’t have pictures:

  • hand breaded shrimp - this was actually pretty good, and in some ways I preferred this over the old bay shrimp. This one was much cleaner to eat and didn’t have that weird glaze to it.
  • dungeness crab with salt and pepper - they actually gave a pretty nice leg chunk, and it had plenty of meat. However it lacked flavor compared to the snow crab legs, so we just ate this once and didn’t decide to reorder. The preparation for this was similar to Cantonese dry-fried pepper salt seafood and pork dishes.
  • corn on the cob - this came steamed, hot, and still wrapped in the husk and was quite good

Final Verdict

The seafood here all tasted pretty fresh, and you are bound to get food coma afterwards. The price is rather expensive for the seafood and the preparation, and you can arguably find better seafood at this price point. However if you are starving and can really eat your way, this AYCE establishment would be very appropriate. There were some items that came out with a miss, but the snow crab legs were something we’d love to get again if we came back. After this meal, we decided to stay away from seafood for at least a week.

Yelp Jabs

I have searched around for other buffets outside of Manhattan, and I found some good Chinese buffets in the Bronx and in Brooklyn. These different Chinese buffets cost about $19.99 a person and they have the same seafood as the Crabhouse

This Yelper was comparing this restaurant to other Chinese buffet restaurants in the outskirts of NYC. It’s just not a fair comparison, since this restaurant is very close to Central Park and Midtown.

The crab legs were just ok not much meat in them. The steak was cool. Overall it wasn’t as good as many people said on their reviews. Yes it is all you can eat but the quality of the food could have been better. Especially for the $80 or $110 price tag.

This Elitist forgets the cost of seafood, and how there are several restaurants probably purchasing in bulk from similar suppliers. I thought the quality given these variables brought this fairly close to expectation. All of the crab legs served tonight had a respectable amount of meat.

Revisions

  1. May 20, 2022 - Initial revision.