I know of The Crab Shack only because it suddenly appeared in my neighborhood one morning in a weed-choked empty lot, between a rarely-driven schoolbus (shown beside; the owner operates a CDL class when the mood strikes) and a psychic/palm reader’s place of business, if that’s what they’re calling the business of reading palms, these days. Why would a seafood truck be here, I wondered. Stolen, I thought. Left to rust, I speculated. Tomfoolery, I decided. Madness. For what kind of lunatic would find an overgrown, abandoned lot in a mostly-residential (and highly unfashionable) neighborhood of Alexandria South suitable for peddling a highly-perishable food product from a trailer better suited to hauling ponies around the childrens' birthday circuit?
I stopped on a recent Saturday afternoon and approached this foodtruck misbegotten in the gastronomic wasteland that is this part of Fairfax County. John greeted me. He smiled. Then he asked me what I’d like to eat. I looked. But my cursory glance at the menu was made superfluous by the sudden whiff of Old Bay adrift on the air. Crabs. A dozen, I said, followed by an emphatic and most polite please. John left the trailer out the back door, threw a dozen of the little bastards in his steamer, and, moments later, walked out into the parking lot with a garbage bag full of the most glorious crabs I’ve yet encountered this season. And as John tied off the bag and handed it to me, I understood by the glimmer in his eye that this was no mere food-for-money exchange. This was more than that. A proffering. A gift. A bequeathment. Money had nothing to do with it. For what John knew then, and what I was soon to learn as I ripped the bag open with my bare teeth, is that the act of sitting down at a wooden table in summer with a bag of perfectly steamed blue crabs and an ice-cold beer is one of the most transcendent culinary experiences a person can have. Ever. I experienced it. And so should you.
Call John at 703.507.5607 for insight, wisdom, and directions.