I usually shy away from chain locations in the Capital Region because I’d much rather you try something new that’s local and can only find here than a franchise that you could get anywhere. Joe’s Crab Shack (579 Troy Schenectady Rd, Latham) caused a frenzy when it first came to Latham and now that it’s been a few months (September 2012) and it’s died down a bit, here’s what I think.
I love seafood, I can’t get enough of it. Sushi, lobster, crab, salmon, burgers, oysters- I could eat it in any form, any time. I love it. I’d never been to a Joe’s Crab Shack before but based on my opinion on seafood, I figured I had to go, no question. After the hour and so wait even though there were plenty of tables open, we finally sat down. I started with the sangria and got to take the mason jar home!
There are starters, burgers, crab cakes, salads and soups but from what I was told, the only way to go was to jump head first into a bucket. They had steam pots with bits of lobster and crab buckets and each were steamed in a different seasoning. Each came with corn and 3 little potatoes but with all the crab/lobster meat, those are almost not even worth it. Why waste stomach space with that when you could focus on seafood?
The steam pot wasn’t bad but it was covered in Old Bay Seasoning. It got to the point where it was pretty overwhelming and I wish I got it without it. I’m pretty sure that’s an option and without it I’d probably be able to tell you better what the steamed seasonings taste like. The crab and lobster were both cooked well and were delicious. I got the queen crab because apparently they’re sweeter and better tasting. In terms of flavor, anything tastes better with enough butter but even without it the crab was pretty sweet. In comparison to other chain seafood restaurants, I would put it about the same. The only difference is the style in which they serve it and the amount of straight crab or lobster you’re getting. They give you tools to use to get the meat out of the shell but I’m not really great at it and I ended up taking forever (and needing help) to get everything.
The whole dining experience takes awhile, especially with the dancing and singing added in every so often. I don’t expect the wait to be the same as when I went but you’re going to be working on your steam pot for at least an hour if you’re good at it. Might as well though, the steam pots are a little on the higher priced side and unless you’re going to bring home the corn and potatoes for later, the seafood won’t taste the same the next day after popping it in the microwave.
We also somehow found room for dessert after and got some kind of apple crisp a la mode. It was a nice sweet finish to the seafood flavor. We were way too full and probably shouldn’t have eaten it but it was well worth it. Overall, I really enjoyed Joe’s Crab Shack as an experience. In terms of food, it was alright. It’s what you would expect from a chain seafood restaurant. If you’re going to eat somewhere like that, you know there’s no innovation and most of the food isn’t coming in at its freshest but if you’re looking for seafood in Latham, it’s pretty good and Joe’s Crab Shack is a good choice. You’re not gonna hate it but hopefully it’s not the best seafood you’ve ever had. If that’s the case, make a trip to the coast ASAP. Have you been there? What have you ordered? Did you enjoy it?