by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine
For my next tasting experience, I head downtown to The Crab Stop of Vero Beach. Seafood is one of my all-time favorite meals, but I don’t get to eat it on a regular basis because my wife is not a fan. When this opportunity presented itself, needless to say, I was excited to finally get a chance to try them. What really peaked my interest in reviewing this restaurant was first and foremost the Facebook pictures they post of their food. I’m always seeing these large platters of seafood that look so good. If you have not liked their page yet, I highly recommend you do, so you can see what I’m talking about.
As I pulled into the parking lot around 5:30 pm, the lot was nearly full already. I luckily got one of the two remaining spots that were left. Street parking is also available with a short walk to the restaurant. After taking a few pictures of the outside of the building, Ellis, one of the Co-Owners, came out to greet and welcome me to his restaurant. As we walked in, I noticed that there were only a few empty tables available. This was a good sign that the food must be really good. The walls are painted bright yellow and classic R&B played on the radio, so it had a fun, yet laid back comfortable atmosphere. I had a seat at my table and prepared for what I anticipated to be an epic meal, so let’s get started!
Let’s dive right in and see what this place has to offer and what I had to eat!
Conch Fritters – ($8.95) – For those of you that don’t know what a conch fritter is, think of it like a hush puppy with diced up conch in it. The outside had a nice crunch, while the inside was soft and tender. They were perfectly seasoned and not greasy at all. Served alongside was a rémoulade sauce that had a slight kick to it. It was very creamy and a nice compliment to the fritters.
Corn Fritters – ($2.75) – Now these look tasty! Corn fritters are very similar to the conch fritters, only they have a sweeter batter and have corn instead of conch in them. The outside had a nice crunch to them, and they were soft and slightly sweet inside. They were dusted with powdered sugar to garnish and were so good!
Crab Cakes – ($8.95) – What better way to serve crab cakes than in the shell of a crab! The crab meat mixture is stuffed inside the crab shell, fried, and served with a side of their rémoulade sauce. While the outside looks quite crunchy, it was softer than I expected. The inside was chock full of crab meat and very little fillers. They were very well seasoned and quite delicious!
Caribbean Rice – ($15.95) – As a food writer, I’m rarely at a loss for words, but this one had such a WOW factor, I didn’t even know where to begin to describe it. It’s made with half of a pineapple that has been scooped out. A mixture of rice, sautéed yellow squash, zucchini, peppers, onions, carrots, chunks of pineapple, diced up shrimp, and Caribbean seasonings. The mixture was stuffed back into the half of the pineapple, baked, then topped with grilled shrimp to complete the garnish. This thing was HUGE, it overhung the plate as you can see from the picture above. I dug in and it was sweet, salty (in a good way), spicy, and had all kinds of different textures going on. This is definitely a one of a kind experience in Vero and it was insanely good!
Snow Deluxe – ($49.95) – Since it was just me at the review, they brought out a “smaller” version of this dish since the full-size one would just be too much food for one person. The bowl had to be at least 12 inches in diameter, and it had at least a half-pound of garlic potatoes, sliced smoked sausage, peel and eat shrimp, hard boiled egg, two corn coblets, two clusters of snow crab hanging off the side of the bowl, and topped with a lobster tail fluffed on top of its shell. This was my first time trying something like this and it was wonderful! The aroma of the garlic coming off of this when they set it down on the table was intoxicating! I dug in and gave it my best shot, but sadly I was unable to finish it and took the rest of it home.
Strawberry Pound Cake – ($3.99) – While not made in house, it’s made by a local bakery and friend of the restaurant called Bon Bon’s Sweet Confections. The cake was very moist and had a wonderful strawberry flavor. A nice way to round out a fantastic meal!
As a food writer that eats at a lot of places in town, it’s getting harder and harder to impress me, yet these folks somehow managed to do just that. Everything was beyond fresh and cooked to order. The flavors were bold and everything was seasoned to perfection. The owners, Ellis and Beverly can be found throughout the restaurant working and greeting their customers, making sure things are to your liking. At the end of the year, I write an article about the best of the best. I call it my GOLDEN FORK Awards. I have a category for Best Seafood and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that The Crab Stop is going to be pretty hard to beat. Will they win my GOLDEN FORK award for Best Seafood in Vero? You will have to stay tuned to see if anything else I eat this year can top it.
Have you tried The Crab Stop of Vero Beach? What has your experience been with them? Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or comments.
Atmosphere – 5 Forks
Service – 5 Forks
Food – 5 Forks
Rating Scale Legend:
1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent