Thursday, August 7, 2008

R Bistro and my love of soft shell crab

I have mentioned before how much I love soft shell crab. I only wish I saw it on more menus. In case you don't know, soft shell crabs are blue crabs right after they have molted their hard shells and haven't quite grown their new ones. They are caught at that point and you can eat them whole, shell (such as it is) and all. I love them. In fact, I declared to my hubby last night that they are probably one of the most perfect foods. They have the yummy tender crab inside with the little bit of crunch that normal shellfish lacks. They are almost always fried somehow, either sauteed or deep fried, just to add that much more crunch.

So when the menu came out Wednesday for R Bistro and one of the featured items was soft shell crab served with two of my other favorite summer time things, tomato and corn relish, I booked a reservation. The crab was served on top of grilled bread with some yummy spread, tomato slices, mizuna greens and bacon. The corn relish was on the side. It was one of my all time favorite things I have eaten at R Bistro.

Many of the menu items were actually selections from other well known female chefs/cookbook authors. Alice Waters, Patricia Wells and the 2 Fat Ladies to name a few. When I saw the summer tomato pudding as an appetizer, courtesy of the 2 Fat Ladies, I knew I had to try it. I watched their show quite a bit while I lived in England and was sure it would be good knowing their propensity toward cream, butter and all things rich and delicious. I didn't even ask what exactly it was but went for it. It turned out to be a chopped and seasoned tomato mixture covered in a sort of soft tomato-ey bread crust with a bunch of stuff around it like cream fraiche, green olives, boiled egg and some more tomatoes. It was even better than expected. Light and so flavorful. I highly recommend it.

We tried dessert, thinking someone else's recipe might help in this area (as I think desserts are R Bistro's biggest weakness), but it still wasn't overly memorable. It was Alice Waters' chocolate pave, which was like a flourless chocolate cake. It was just ok, not a lot of flavor. I really need to learn from experience and just skip dessert, as everything else is usually so good.

My suggestion is to get there by Saturday and get the soft shell crab, or if you can't do that, go to R Bistro and see what's on the menu anyway. And hey, they are even on, so it is even that much easier to make your reservation!

R Bistro
888 Massachusetts Ave
Indy 46202

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