by Steven Doyle photos by Joey Stewart
Caught in the waters of Bristol Bay and Norton Sound, the true red king crab is the most prized species of crab in the world, with strong demand from consumers in Japan, the US, and Europe. Alaska’s largest harvest of red king crab takes place in the waters of Bristol Bay. Roughly 100 boats participate in the fishery and harvest millions of pounds over a period of 2 to 3 months.
Alive, red king crab are actually a dark burgundy in color. When they are cooked they turn bright red with scarlet-red highlights on the top part of the shell, and especially around the toes. Taste-wise, true red king crab is the best in the world. The meat is snow-white, with highlights of bright red. During the season, a growing number of white table-cloth restaurants offer fresh red king crab – a sumptuous treat.
Every year, the first boat of the season is boarded with officials from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game who measure, inspect and gather important data about the crabs before they ship to restaurants. Last year, two of Ocean Prime’s regional chefs, Mike Denton and Jamie Kline, were fortunate to fly to Alaska and participate in this voyage to acquire the first catch of the season.
The Dutch Harbor Red King Crab Legs are served chilled or hot with drawn butter at Ocean Prime. Recommended wine pairings from their Director of Beverage Ryan Valentine include Sauvignon Blanc, Albarino and – of course – Champagne.
We were able to check out Ocean Prime’s catch along with a few other offerings from their current menu.
We started our dining experience with a few appetizers including the Surf and Turf, which is as you might imagine a fortunate combination of sea scallops and short ribs.
And what would a trip to Ocean Prime be without a visit with a crab cake served with their sweet corn cream?
Of course the Red King Crab was soon delivered to our table.
And we also enjoyed the Alaskan Halibut served with Lobster Ravioli, Asparagus, and a Sweet Corn Emulsion.
The Red King Crab season is short but sweet, and you must take advantage of the season. It is truly Christmas for the crab lovers like us.
The price is set at $30 for an appetizer portion (half pound) and $65 for an entree (full pound).