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Have a jambalaya or a crawfish boil at King Crab Tap House. Photo by Lee Chastain.

By now, Fort Worth Weekly has written extensively about the curse associated with the location at 2600 West 7th Street, Suite 153. The spot occupies prime real estate in Montgomery Plaza, yet we’ve watched first Mac’s on Seventh, then Monte’s Corner, then Deluxe Bar & Grille, then Bite City Grill open up at that address only to close their doors one after another in defeat. I went into King Crab Tap House when it looked almost ready and was told that it would be open in a couple of weeks. That was all the way back in November, and in the months afterward I often wondered whether the curse would claim another victim before it even had a chance to welcome its first guest. Well, the place finally started serving customers in late February, and while it’s too early to say whether the curse has been broken, the solid Cajun-ish seafood on offer in this casual dining spot gives it some hope.

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King Crab Tap House

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2600 W 7th St, Ste 153, FW. 817-332-0033. 11am-10pm Mon-Thu, 11am-11pm Fri-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.

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Like many sports bars, this place sells out on atmosphere in favor of omnipresent TV screens. The place has live acoustic music on Saturday nights, which won’t distract you if you’re sitting at the other end of the bar. Big plate-glass windows afford a view of the pedestrian and auto traffic in the plaza, which is pretty much the only thing you can look at if you don’t want to watch the games on TV. The walls adorned with brewery logos and the rough-hewn wooden furniture are all designed to be used rather than admired.

Then again, there is the food. Our server told us that the spinach crab dip was by far the most popular appetizer, and we found it easy to see why. The nacho-accompanied dish won’t spark any revolutions, but the bitter note of the spinach seemed a natural fit against the lusciousness of the crab. This was the lead-in to a rather forgettable shrimp and grits entrée that one of my eating partners wound up with. Much better was the seafood jambalaya, a big platter of deep red rice brimming with crawfish, shrimp, and the requisite Andouille sausage. Jambalaya purists may well quibble with the dry consistency of this dish — it certainly won’t be coating the back of a spoon. I found the deep and complex flavor to be ample compensation. Was there a bit of paprika in that bite, or was my palate just fooled by the combination of smoked meat and chili powder?

The restaurant prominently features its Cajun-style seafood boils on its menu, and they do merit the top billing. King Crab offers king crab legs (of course), snow crab legs, blue crab, shrimp, and crawfish when it’s in season, but I chose the lobster tail with lemon pepper seasoning. The tail section came in a plastic bag with new potatoes and a cob of corn soaking up the seasoning as well. Those proved to be nice accompaniments for the sumptuous portion of tail meat lurking in the shell. Breaking open the shell is not an experience for fastidious eaters, but then, that’s why the restaurant has a roll of paper towels on every table. Serving this thing on an old newspaper would have been an appropriate touch, but I suppose there’s not enough spare newsprint around anymore.

The dessert menu does not go beyond staples, with acceptable takes on cheesecake and key lime pie. The chocolate cake was the best one we sampled, a generous slice with white frosting and small chunks of chocolate distributed throughout the cake.

I can easily imagine King Crab Tap House working well as a lunch place for busy commuters, with its selection of po’boy sandwiches and a huge wall of more than 50 draft beers — with our city’s craft beer scene, this restaurant won’t be left behind. The eatery’s smaller selection of cocktails also includes a nicely balanced Cajun margarita, tinged with lime and served in a glass rimmed with chili powder. If you’re looking for a place to take a long weekday lunch and watch the afternoon ball game, King Crab will fit the bill nicely provided it can keep that dogged curse at bay.

[box_info]King Crab Tap House
Spinach crab dip     $8.99
Seafood jambalaya     $12.99
Lobster tail boil     market price
Chocolate cakes    $6[/box_info]

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