It took me a long time to finally say yes to trying fatty crab; I’ve read lots of buzz before its opening but somehow invasion of NY names hasn’t lived up to the hype. Motorino, Boqueria, Lupa just to name a few, it seems like they don’t even try, and people think they sound uber cool just saying “ Oh you know I was just at this new restaurant, it’s really famous in NY! OMG, it’s so awesome!” SERIOUSLY?! (-_-“)
Anyways, it doesn’t help that it’s serving Malaysian cuisine. I grew up in Singapore, spoiled by the authentic no fuss Malaysian cuisine so readily available so I was very skeptical trying a New Yorker take on chili crab.
It feels like most of the newly opened restaurants look very similar; Fatty Crab felt like a cross between Chomp Chomp, Three Monkeys and Chachawan, with the old Hong Kong style plates and mugs and raw cement walls and the black framed windows. I felt like I was slowly merging all those restaurants in my head :p I’m not so sure about the loud music, nor the virtually ZERO privacy between tables. I get that heart pumping music gives energy and adds a somewhat trendy vibe to a restaurant. But the music was almost as loud if not louder than Yardbird! We had to shout across to carry on a conversation. And the tables were so close to each other, multiple times I had stuff (I suspect it’s crab shells or sauce) landing on my arms from the tables next to me. The good news is, you don’t have to worry about the next table eavesdropping since it’s almost impossible to hear what ur friend sitting across from you is saying half the time!
At least the service was good, we tried consoling ourselves; the chap who showed us to our table was friendly and welcoming and the waitress who served us was bubbling and enthusiastic. She explained that they usually recommend two skinny (lighter dishes) and two fatty (heavier dishes) and a dessert.
My eyes went straight to the fatty slider since I’m on my burger crave, the spiced beef burgers, sambal aioli, pickled cucumber sounded delightful, the patty was juicy but it was a definite letdown on the “sambal” department, nothing really spicy about this dish really. The burger left me so unsatisfied I ordered the burger from Chinnery at the Mandarin Hotel the very next day
The sea scallop was overcooked, and the acute flavor of the papaya salad totally overwhelmed the delicate subtle sweetness of scallop (if they even cooked it right). The salad itself was pretty good, spicy yet light at the same time but they are probably better off sticking to using prawns for this salad
The watermelon pickle and crispy pork was a much better dish(might have just been by comparison to the first two dishes) the watermelon was refreshing and the crispy pork was nicely charred with the right amount of fats to meat ratio that made it tender and succulent. I was unlucky to have gotten one odd piece that had no fats in it and that felt like just chewing cardboard…
Finally their signature dish had arrive, Chili Crab with dungeness crab, chili sauce, pullman toast. Remember to give it a good stir before starting on the dish, the fried Dungeness crab sits on the chili sauce. Chili crab or black pepper crab in Singapore is typically first fried and then stir fried in the sauce so the crab is encased in its glorious sauce so you get a taste of it with each bite of crab. Fatty Crab’s version on the other hand, leaves you in a bit of a dilemma, if you dip the chuck of crab meat into the sauce, the sauce would overshadow the crabmeat, do it without, and it becomes bit too bland. The sauce was also more salty then chili and it felt tad heavy.
The peanut butter sundae our waitress so passionately recommended was the BEST thing we had all dinner. The peanut butter sauce, the heavenly caramel sauce and the toasted almond cookies all went very well with the ice cream. I pulled the jar towards my side slowly as J and I were talking and ended up having most of it to myself =) **Score**
The final bill came up to be about $700 per person, the un-memorable, barely average food, the overly loud music, the sardine packed table arrangement just doesn’t justify what we paid for. We did tip the waitress as her service was possibly the best part of the dinner at Fatty Crab..
Address: 11-13 Old Bailey Street
Tel: +852 2521 2033