Occupation: Retired CEO
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Nettie's Crab Shack
Reviewed Nettie's Crab Shack: Thursday, May 19, 2011
Because on street parking on Union can be difficult, I tried to time our arrival with the expiration of the parking meters at 6:00. I had to bite the bullet and park in the lot across the street ($10.00 for two hours).
Nettie’s has been a regular luncheon venue for me, my wife, and my mother-in-law for almost two years. We have enjoyed the open air setting of the restaurant and the causal, but professional, manner that we have had with each of our visits. But we have been in a rut, ordering the same bill of fare: one house salad, two oyster po’boy sandwiches, and a half carafe of wine. The sandwiches usually contain between four and six oysters and are accompanied by coleslaw and shoestring potatoes. The portion is such that half of the po’boy is boxed for dinner.
Without exception, we have been greeted by Nettie. I don’t think that she ever goes home. So when we walked in for dinner, she was shocked and inquired if anything was amiss. We sat at our favorite table in the alcove. Our waiter, Nick, offered a choice of still or sparking water. We started with a cocktail and appetizers, which consisted to two stuffed eggs with crab and two crab cakes with homemade shoestring potatoes with rosemary. It was a very nice sampler.
The menu is the same for lunch and dinner, and there are three to four specials on the chalkboard, in addition to a variety of oysters. Tonight’s specials were grilled squid with fava beans, which I ordered, pan-seared halibut, which my other-in-law ordered, and pan-fried salmon. You have a choice of two sides of the eight options with the entrée. My wife decided on the Mediterranean mussels from Washington. We ordered a bottle of the house Chardonnay, which was Heron from Napa.
The service was prompt, and we all gave thumbs up on the presentations, portions and quality of the food, especially the mussels. We finished the meal with a large pot of French press coffee and a berry and apricot cobbler, which could have fed four. It was a satisfying dinner experience.
The only downside to Nettie’s is that the only meat dish is a hamburger, but this is a seafood restaurant, so what do you expect? On the plus side, we took our 20-year-old grandson to lunch, and he said the burger was one of the best he has eaten, and he loved the shoestring potatoes.
Occupation: Artist & Independent Music Producer
Favorite Restaurant: Dragon Rouge Restaurant
Reviewed Nettie's Crab Shack: Sunday, May 29, 2011
Nettie's is a very cute place, tucked away within the heart of busy Union Street. There is a nice little deck out front that has a small bar, perfect for sunny day Bloody Marys and Mimosas. Unfortunately, all the seats outside were taken, so lounging in the sun was not in the cards for me this time around. That being the case, I strolled down the ramp that took me into the main restaurant. The first thing I noticed were the high ceilings and huge skylights which let in a nice, natural, soft light. The layout was very wide-open, which made for a great place to gather friends and have a large gathering, without feeling cramped.
I was greeted instantly as I came in, and the staff was very friendly all throughout. After being seated, I ordered a beer, and enjoyed its cool refreshment as the soft colors and warm light got me in a relaxed state. There was a baseball game on the television, and everything was all right.
When it came time to order, it was a tough decision, but being that I was at a “crab shack,” I had to go for some crab. I ordered the warm crab roll and was not disappointed. It came with a tasty little side salad of pickled okra, cornichons, and carrots, which was surprisingly good. The crab roll itself was fantastic, with generous portions of crab that came in a soft roll, toasted to perfection. The meat was very tender, and complemented nicely by the scallions and butter at the bottom of the roll. When the richness of the crab was too much too take, I would balance it all out with the rosemary shoestring potatoes that came with my dish. With their light saltiness and very crunchy texture, they were the perfect balance to my main course.
I enjoyed Nettie's, and think that I would even more so if I had a party of friends that were in the mood to crack some crab and have some cocktails. This place is like a slice of Fisherman’s Wharf, minus all of the tourists and hullabaloo; perfect for social gatherings where you would like to have loud conversation and not feel like you are being a bother.
There were quite a few dishes on the menu that caught my eye, and I would definitely go back.
Occupation: Education Technology Innovator
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Walzwerk
Reviewed Nettie's Crab Shack: Thursday, May 26, 2011
My first venture to Nettie’s Crab Shack was a memorable and surprisingly tasty experience. I went with my husband, his sister, and our brother-in-law, which allowed us all to try a wide range of offerings.
We went on a Thursday night and gave up on street parking after circling around the neighborhood several times. Luckily we found a parking garage right across the street from Nettie’s Crab Shack ($10). As we emerged from the garage, Union Street was bustling, but Nettie’s seemed a bit lifeless in comparison to the other nearby restaurants. Fortunately, the interior was more inviting, though a bit sparse. We were warmly welcomed and seated at a table near the bar. Our waiter immediately brought us both still and sparkling water and was very knowledgeable about the menu and specials. There weren’t any off-the-beaten track beer options on the drink menu, but the guys were happy ordering a couple of Anchor Steams, which go so well with seafood. Us gals considered a variety of cocktails with enticing names, but ultimately unappealing ingredient combos, so I settled on ordering a glass of the Kung Fu Girl Riesling, and my sister-in-law had the Prosecco.
There were a variety of appetizers we all wanted to try, so we started with the Dungeness crab deviled eggs, spring pea soup, and New England clam chowder. My sister-in-law requested the two soups be split into four bowls for easier sharing, and we appreciated how obliging our waiter was. We toasted with our deviled eggs and all savored a simultaneous bite. This was a lovely way to “bait” the tastebuds, as their menu suggests. The soups were also very good and offered very distinct flavors. Us gals preferred the freshness of the spring pea soup, whereas the guys favored the chowder with smoked bacon. My in-laws were impressed with Nettie’s excellent selection of oysters and ordered a half-dozen Beau Soleil , which arrived perfectly chilled with a delicious mignonette.
Shortly after the first round of our feast, our main dishes arrived. I had the blackened halibut BLT and have to say that I had no idea what a remarkable treat I was in store for. This extraordinary sandwich came with both a side salad and the rosemary shoestring potatoes. Everything was perfectly seasoned, and the flavor combination was both unique and intoxicatingly good.
My husband had the linguini and clams in a white wine sauce with lemon and garlic. Although he didn’t rave about it, he did make his way through a very generous mound of clams. He did offer me a forkful, which was good, but nothing to rave about. Meanwhile, my in-laws shared the warm Maine lobster roll served with the rosemary shoestring potatoes. Once again, our waiter graciously pre-divided their order on two plates, and they were very happy with the taste of warm lobster combined with the thick, delectable cushions of bread made especially for Nettie’s at a local bakery.
You would think we wouldn’t have room for dessert after such a feast, but we couldn’t resist ordering the warm apricot-blueberry cobbler, and the butterscotch pudding. Both were very satisfying and excellent with a cup of coffee.
In the end, this was a very positive and pleasant experience, and we will definitely return to Nettie’s Crab Shack every once and while (or whenever that halibut BLT makes its siren call).