I went to New Orleans in April for a buddy’s bachelor party. Besides some incredible meals (first time eating rabbit!), we did the usual Bourbon Street staggering, met a few French Quarter characters (dreadlocked white girl selling weed lollipops and a racist, Fox News-quoting cab driver), and made jokes about art galleries crammed with prints of sax players silhouetted against backdrops of eighth notes. I’d like to say, “OK, New Orleans. We get it.” But someone who knows the Crescent City far more intimately than I would be quick to say, “Nope. You don’t get it at all.” Of course, he or she would be right. Though I can get into the city’s cuisine until my stomach explodes, the perpetual murmur, both sonically and visually, of jazz and blues (not to mention the underlying “base” note of garbage smell) gets old for me rather quickly. I guess that’s why I always passed Blu Crab. Somewhere along the line, I erroneously got it in my head that the Camp Bowie seafood restaurant came with an extra side of N’awlins schtick. I’m glad I was way off.
Instead of being an upscale version of Razzoo’s, Blu Crab is an elegant restaurant and bar with an understated nod to New Orleans, mostly in the form of the menu, though some of the wall art would be on point for a place on Canal Street. Overall, though, Blu Crab is quiet and cool and decorated in hues of blue and gray. One day I’ll go back for dinner, but I’d dropped by for a drink during happy hour.
For the sheer purpose of unwinding, the vibe at Blu Crab’s bar is choice. The counter is nearly as long as the dining room. I’d call it about a quarter mile of polished granite, its seating neatly demarcated by placemats and square appetizer plates. Given the bar’s length, you’d do yourself a favor to get up and walk to the end of it. There are different offerings on either end, ones you might miss if you stop only in one spot. For example, if you sit at the end farthest from the door, you might not notice the shelf of $5 liquor specials. When I popped in, that $5 shelf spoke to me via a bottle of Jameson Black Barrel and another of Piehole Pecan Pie Canadian Whiskey, though there were three other top-shelf brown liquors on special as well. I guess that shelf is a clearance rack of sorts, so if you love bargains, Blu Crab’s $5 shelf is right up your alley. It also doesn’t call for the infinite patience of an afternoon combing the racks at Ross for something as good as it is cheap.
On the topic of cheap, Blu Crab’s happy hour is what sealed the deal for me. While I was interested in the ambience of a nice restaurant’s bar, I was reeled in by $4 craft drafts and $3 fish tacos. A $4 craft beer isn’t a rock-bottom price, but it’s certainly competitive with most other places around town, and none of Blu Crab’s other happy hour appetizers is over $7 –– besides fish (and shrimp) tacos, you’ll find fried shrimp eggrolls, fresh seafood spring rolls, seafood bruschetta, and cups of gumbo. Domestic drafts are only $3 during happy hour, and should you want to get your buzz on quick, a Hurricane can be had for five bucks.
Because I had other things to do, I pulled up stakes after a beer and a couple of tacos. But for an inexpensive, smoke-free happy hour at a classy-looking bar (and if you’re into infusions, Blu Crab advertises a mango-habanero tequila, so be sure to ask for it), I’ll be sure to return.
–– Steve Steward
[box_info]Blu Crab Seafood House and Bar
6115 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW. 817-763-8585.[/box_info]