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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 Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.