For various reasons, my Monday was splendid. The weather was nice, I got so much accomplished, I received good news on various fronts, and I got to cuddle with an Alaskan King Crab at a restaurant called – of all things – Lucky Tao. We’re in the midst of AKC season, which is like that of the spot prawn: short, and not to be missed.
My friend Richard agreed to join me for a feast, and I made us a 7pm reservation at Lucky Tao on Alexandra Road. When we arrived, the restaurant was bustling, filled with families around large tables oooooh-ing and aaaah-ing over the platters of crab set down before them.
Though this was my first AKC meal, I had a basic understanding of how it works: depending on how many people are dining, you order one or two crabs, and they’re sold by weight – Lucky Tao is currently offering them at $15.95 per pound.
Your crab is brought to the table for you to have a look at, which proves it is indeed fresh (not frozen) and allows you the opportunity to do this!
These beasts are called kings for a reason – they are astoundingly huge, a blushy pink colour, and seriously armoured. Once you’ve visited with your crab, it’s taken away and prepared two ways. The first is steamed crab legs with butter and garlic. Richard isn’t the biggest garlic fan, however, so our server offered to have half of them prepared with ginger instead. So accommodating!
We feasted on an endless amount of crab legs, which are the easiest things in the world to eat. Out of sheer laziness, I sometimes avoid crab and lobster because they’re so much work to eat. Some people love the process, but I always feel like I’m expending more calories than I’m getting if I have to root around in a spindly crab leg for my dinner.
The AKC solves that problem, because their legs are so big they’re like meat troughs – all you have to do is stab one end with your fork, pull, and a huge piece of juicy, tender crab meat comes out. AWESOME. The platters came with a bowl of spicy soy sauce, which I skipped but Richard loved.
As we were working on the legs, they also brought out the body of the crab, which is usually filled with fried rice or noodles. Our server thought that would be far too much food for us, so he brought it out with just the crab meat.
In retrospect, I wish I’d told him “Don’t worry, you don’t know my appetite,” because we totally could have handled the extra dish. I won’t complain though, because it just meant we ate more pure, unadulterated fresh crab. The shell totally reminded me of Bowser from Super Mario, which might just be the first video game reference I’ve ever made.
The second preparation was coated in a salty, slightly spicy batter and deep-fried. They’re a bit tougher to navigate since the batter hides the shells, but they were amazing.
Often, I find that when shellfish is deep-fried the meat dries out, but this crab was just as expertly cooked as the legs. We ordered a bowl of rice to eat with it, and some dark green steamed gai lan. My hands were so covered in butter/garlic/crab at that point, I forgot to take photos of them!
Dessert was a small, complimentary bowl of red bean soup, which is ok, but not really my thing.
Because I was having the luckiest Monday ever, we ALSO received two glasses of wine as a gift from the group next to us.
A man from the table came over, inquired where we were from, and asked if we enjoyed Sauternes. We said yes, of course, and he offered us the rest of their bottle because they wouldn’t be finishing. We happily accepted, and here’s the man of the hour!
Our bill came to $200, which resulted in both of our jaws dropping temporarily to the floor. As we left, Richard pointed out that between the two of us, we’d consumed enough crab for a table of six to eight people, and I laughed because he was right. If you go in a group and order one big crab and a few side dishes, your bill will be far less than a hundred bucks a pop. I guess we’re just a couple of lushes!
Lucky Tao isn’t the most chic of Richmond restaurants, but because the atmosphere was convivial, our servers were friendly, and the food was wonderful, I’d certainly recommend it. Right now, especially! The season to pose with giant spiked crabs is a short one, so go and get yourself one ASAP. According to this very trusted resource, it could be one of the quickest yet!
Cash and cards accepted
Reservations STRONGLY recommended during AKC season
Vegetarian options available