Soft-shell crab season is upon us.
Right around the time that a full moon almost coincides with Easter Sunday, blue crabs start shedding their shells and "softies" hit local restaurant menus.
More restaurants are likely to list the Lowcountry favorite as the season continues, but here are 10 locations where you can sample softies now:
At Acme, chef Charles Arena is serving fried soft shells in a variety of ways, including over cornbread with remoulade sauce in a trio that also includes a petite filet over asparagus and shrimp-and-grits. There is also a fried appetizer over slaw in addition to sauteed options.
The Basement in Mount Pleasant has soft-shell crabs, buttermilk-marinated and fried, served on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato and kimchi aioli.
Since the availability of soft-shell crabs is so limited, Charleston Grill is only offering the dish as an off-menu special. That said, chef Michelle Weaver is planning to have more in stock for Saturday and Sunday evenings and preparing them in a variety of ways.
On April 1, the crabs were fried and served with sea beans, ramps and a brown butter sauce.
On your way out to Folly Beach, you can stop at this seafood restaurant for a softie.
At CudaCo., Chef Shaun Brian has a few different ways of making their specially handpicked "super softies." The "nerdy" option, as he calls it, is tempura-fried and served on a butter-toasted potato roll with smoked Nantucket sea scallop-infused aioli, accompanied by seaweed salad. The tempura batter is applied with a whipped cream dispenser.
At the Delaney Oyster House downtown, April 2 was the first night soft-shell crabs were on the menu.
Chef Shamil Velazquez developed a recipe for honey walnut softies, featuring a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet condensed milk, honey and lemon juice. Topped with orange segments and shiso leaves, the crab was to be plated with grilled broccolini covered with black walnuts.
This barbecue joint, with locations downtown, in West Ashley and on Sullivan's Island, is taking advantage of the "short but sweet" softie season with a fried soft-shell crab sandwich, featuring iceberg lettuce, tomato and red chile remoulade on a King's Hawaiian bun.
If you're looking to try your own hand at cooking soft-shell crab, Marvin's Seafood in North Charleston is offering them raw for $6 each. Or you can pay an extra $1.50 for the fried version on bread to-go.
Softies are available at Pier 41 Seafood & Raw Bar until the end of the season and are being prepared two ways. One is tempura-fried soft-shell crab with red curry, coconut sauce, charred broccoli, fingerling potatoes, boiled peanuts and Thai basil cilantro. The other is a Korean BBQ tempura soft-shell sandwich with Napa cabbage, pickled red onions, cilantro and a brioche bun.
To celebrate softie season, SNOB is serving up fried soft-shell crabs with changing side dishes. A recent dish included the fried crabs with curried butter beans, kale, tomato and Carolina gold rice middlins.
The dinner menu at this French bistro changes nightly, but Chef Carole Robert said softies will stick around for the season.
Robert sautees them in butter, fresh garlic and parsley, and serves them over a bed of local Bibb lettuce dressed in Champagne vinaigrette and with a side of housemade succotash.
She added that the popular dish sells out every night, as demand trumps supply.