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There is a certain je ne sais quoi about stone crab, a coveted crustacean with a relatively short season and (usually) a hefty price tag.
But, there’s a good reason for that. The meat is sweet, creamy and fresh; and many consider it worlds better than the more common Alaskan King Crab.
Part of the crab’s allure is its relatively short season, which begins in mid-October and runs through May, with the best eating taking place during the late fall and winter months (generally through February). In Wisconsin, it’s also a delicacy that shows up fairly selectively – usually on only the best of restaurant menus.
Typically, one of the best spots in Milwaukee to get your stone crab fix is at Mason Street Grill, located just inside the Pfister Hotel at 425 E. Mason St. Since they just launched its winter menu last week (which includes stone crab), I took the time to check in with Chef Mark Weber, who took a trip in 2012 to Florida to observe the harvest of stone crab with a local fishing crew. And he gave me some great tips on cracking stone crab claws – which are much harder and tougher to crack than most other crustacean claws.
In Florida, it’s traditional to serve stone crab with a mustard and citrus sauce. And that’s exactly how they’re served at Mason Street Grill, where you can order the claws in sets of two, four, six or eight (with prices starting at $25.95 for two large claws and $36.50 for two jumbo claws).
If you’d like to prepare the winter delicacy yourself at home, you can source stone crab claws from St. Paul Fish in the Milwaukee Public Market. As for the citrus mustard sauce, Chef Weber says you can’t trust most recipes on the internet. But, if you visit him at Mason Street Grill, he’ll happily give you his personal recipe.
Mason Street Grill is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner Monday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.