643 Hudson Street,
(212) 352-3590 (no reservations)
Visited: Dinner August 1, 2006
Nestled on the western-edge of the meat-packing district, the Fatty Crab is small NYC restaurant that is likely to have a line of people outside – and they don’t take reservations. Inside is a dark wood décor, dark rose paint and exposed brick with cups of chopsticks on every table, to set a casual comfortable atmosphere. The restaurant is somewhat dimly lit by hanging exposed lightbulbs and a votive on every table.
Dishes arrive on chinoiserie plates brightening up the dark wood table. Somehow I feel as if I might be in London – perhaps it’s just our waiter’s accent. The food is decidedly not decided, taking on Pan-asian and playing around with it – and it works. Incorporating great ingredients like Heritage Foods USA Berkshire Pork and fresh fish, the seafood dishes sing with spicy notes.
The Fatty Crab is open until 4am on weekends – making it a hot spot for late-night dining as well as lunch, as they open at noon. Dishes are ordered en-mass and designed to share. They come from the kitchen in whatever order they happen to come out.
Dinner for two can be very reasonable if you keep the wine cost down (beer choices are excellent) but the wine list will likely tempt you with great, eclectic choices. This “fun food” restaurant should leave you with a smile, happy to return – if you don’t mind the wait and can take a bit of heat.
Overall, Jack thought the food was great and the winelist was very strong for a restaurant of this size. Joanne thought the food was good – and reasonably priced – and fun. Both of us would return and we recommend this restaurant.
Heritage Foods Slow-Cooked Pork Ribs $8
Glossy dark barbeque sauce glistened and beckoned “taste me.” Really good.
Fatty Tea Sandwiches – pork belly $7
Good. Room temperature and a bit soft with scallions mixed with the pork. This was the first dish out from the kitchen. Staler bread would have improved the overall texture.
Wonton Mee – shrimp and pork wontons, fried noodles $12
The wontons served in broth were great but I wondered what to do with the fried noodles – they weren’t great in the broth that the wontons arrived in and they weren’t great to eat alone either? The broth had a hint of spicyness.
Tilapa – tumeric tempura, crab curry, green chili, tamaki $12
The waiter recommended this dish and we ordered and then reordered after devoring the first round. The tempura was crispy but not thick and not greasy. The sauce was a bit on the spicy side and the tilapia was served over rice.
Fatty Duck – steamed, fried, toasted tamaki $11
Jack loved this – Joanne was a bit disappointed – expecting a crispier duck. It was hard to eat as it was cut across the bone into bone-in chunks – definitely finger food– and watch out for the chili pepper slices on top.
Coconut Rice $3
Flakey and good but un-needed, except to tone down the heat. Next time we would wait till later and see if we needed it.
2001 Movia Velika Bianco $55
Minerally and clean. Jack really loved it. (He already has six at home and is thinking he needs at least 12 more bottles!)
Lurisia Sparkling Water
A great sparkling water – and a nice choice here.
Fresh Watermelon – Kaffir Lime Juice $5
Red Watermelon puree arrived with julienned strips of Kaffir Lime on top in a tall glass. Yum.
You may notice that we do not give out a lot of praise. Having been to so many high-quality restaurants, it's pretty tough to impress us.
Most of our reviews are based on just one visit. We neither have the time nor the money (or often, the inclination) to visit most restaurants multiple times. So, please keep in mind that a single-visit review is a snapshot - the restaurant may be "on it" that day - or not. If the meal has a calamity involved (foreign objects in the food, wine poured on us, etc.) we try not to let it shade the overall review.
We pay for the food and beverages; restaurants never comp us. We try to be discreet about taking photos so that the staff doesn't notice/get an idea we're going to do a review. We rarely take notes in the restaurant.
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