After a hit-or-miss season in 2022 and a complete hiatus during the pandemic, the seasonal offering of stone crab claws has returned to Mason Street Grill, 425 E. Mason St.
Those who’ve enjoyed this delicious shellfish understand that there’s 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 crabs’ allure are their 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). The crustaceans are also a sustainable seafood choice, since the crab claws are harvested individually from live crabs. Once a crab claw is removed, the crab is released back into the water where its missing claw regenerates.
Chef Mark Weber sources stone crabs from Clearwater, Florida, where they are sustainably harvested, cooked and shipped overnight directly to the restaurant in 20-pound batches.
Guests can order the claws served chilled with mustard sauce or hot with lemon and butter. Pricing is per claw with large claws for $15 and jumbo claws for $25.
This year, the stone crab claws will be available as the season permits with availability in the dining room and at the bar. Guests can also order them for carry-out.
Tips on cracking claws
Crab claws at Mason Street Grill come fully cracked for easy eating. But if you’re serving them at home, Chef Weber has some great tips for gracefully (and easily) cracking the crab claws, which are much harder and tougher to crack than most other crustacean claws. Check it out!
Mason Street Grill is open for dinner service seven days a week from 4 to 9 p.m. The restaurant will also be open on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23 from 1 to 8 p.m.; guests can enjoy the regular dinner menu or choose Mason Street Grill’s special prix fixe Thanksgiving menu.
Stone Crab at home
Thinking of sourcing your own stone crab for the holidays?
I checked in with St. Paul Fish Co. prior to publishing this article and they indicated that they will be bringing in stone crab during the months of December 2023 and January 2024. Both their Downtown and Mequon locations will have a limited supply. Guests should call ahead to inquire about availability. Be sure to use the stone crab cracking tips in the video above for best results.
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.