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10 places in Charleston to find soft shell crabs so far this season

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It's softie season in the Lowcountry. Home Team BBQ/Provided

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: 

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Acme Lowountry Kitchen is serving up soft-shell crab amidst a trio with petite filet and shrimp and grits. Provided

Acme Lowcountry Kitchen

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. 

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The Basement's soft-shell crab. Provided

The Basement

The Basement in Mount Pleasant has soft-shell crabs, buttermilk-marinated and fried, served on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato and kimchi aioli. 

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Charleston Grill Chef Michelle Weaver holds a soft shell crab that had just arrived from Georgia. Provided 

Charleston Grill

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. 

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Soft-shell crab at CudaCo. Provided


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. 

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Honey walnut soft-shell crab the Delaney Oyster House. Provided

Delaney Oyster House 

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. 

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Home Team BBQ's fried soft-shell crab sandwich. Provided

Home Team BBQ

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. 

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Soft-shell crabs at Marvin's Seafood. Provided

Marvin's Seafood

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. 

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Soft-shell crab at Pier 41. Provided

Pier 41 

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. 

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"Big G," the man behind SNOB's cornbread, holds a box of soft-shell crabs, ready to be fried. Provided


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. 

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Soft-shell crab at Ville Sainte is served on a bed of local Bibb lettuce dressed in champagne vinaigrette. Provided

Ville Sainte Bistro

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. 

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Reach Kalyn Oyer at 843-371-4469. Follow her on Twitter @sound_wavves.

Kalyn Oyer is a Charleston native who covers arts & entertainment and food & bev for The Post and Courier. She's a music festival & concert photographer and used to write about music for the Charleston City Paper, among other publications.

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