Tuesday evening – The restaurant’s website had boasted of a culinary tour of the American South and included a multitude of superlatives, such as ‘wonderful’ and ‘truly amazing’. I eagerly inspect the menu. There is plethora of extravagances, including oysters, lobster, crab and shrimp, in addition to a mouth watering selection of steak and pork dishes. Some minutes the decision has been made to go with the She crab soup with sweet roe and grilled corn succotash, followed by the 12oz Ribeye steak with hollandaise and a crown of green beans.
In my famished state the minutes pass like an eternity. Taking occasional sips from my Budweiser I close my eyes and imagine the forthcoming dish in all its glory. A fresh red She crab, one powerful claw raised upwards, lying serenely in a rich buttery sauce, surrounded by a dizzying array of succulent vegetables (see picture 1).
The waiter approaches, deposits the starters on the table and then retreats hastily in the direction of the kitchen. Looking down I stare despairingly into a bowl of partially submerged black crustaceans, in a pool of murky liquid, becoming increasingly convinced that they are not in fact crabs, but rather some variety of mud dwelling shelled arachnid, plucked from the fetid banks of the polluted inner city river just metres away (see picture 2). There is no visible evidence of the promised sweet roe and grilled corn succotash and I can only assume that they have sunk to the depths.
Foolishly in a decision I was to later deeply regret, I consumed a number of these loathsome creatures, biting through the sharp shells, before forcing down the vile gooey interior with the aid of gulps of Budweiser. Moments later I had pushed the offending bowl away and was waiting with trepidation for the arrival of the steak. It was evident however from the expressions of disgust and the greenish hue on the visages of my dining companions that the dinner had come to an end. We cancelled our main courses and departed haughtily.