Knuckles-Deep in Crab, Salty’s

If you have lived somewhere for a certain amount of time – enough time to feel like you “know” a place, that your little grooves are getting so smooth and deep that you think that’s what it means to live – I recommend befriending someone new to the area. You’ll get the chance to be some kind of magical city concierge by recommending a whirlwind of beer bars, veg restaurants, public art, and whatever else. And you’ll get a chance to back the hell up and experience the standards you’ve somehow skipped.

That is how I recently ended up at Salty’s in West Seattle. For the first time. “Oh, how long are you visiting?” the waiter said when I told him I’d never been before. “Nine-and-a-half years so far,” I replied.

I’ve had Salty’s on my list as a place for brunch the next time one of my parents visited, and it will surely end up on the itinerary when the time comes again. But fortunately, I ended up there before that came to pass. And fortunately, I got to consume… this:

bag o' crab at salty's in west seattleContents: two sides of crab legs, two perfect potatoes, one half-ear of corn, three shrimp, dream fodder for the next four years.

And your tools? These:

crab cracker and tiny fork at salty's in west seattleNot pictured, because I was too enraptured by crab: a WOODEN MALLET.

So part of the joy is that you’re in this semi-swanky restaurant with panoramic freaking views of Seattle’s most flattering angle. Ok? There’s that. (Also $3 wine that night, mmmm.)

The other part? Being in that semi-swank environment… and then going knuckles-deep into a crab leg. Look around, and you’ll see dozens of other people doing the same thing. Couples old and new, laughing as a piece of shell goes flying. Or in the case of our table, three women reveling in how we found any messiness going on to be purely and completely awesome. We egged each other on as we poked and smashed and cracked. We dipped crab in the garlic butter using only our fingers. We could have used extra hot towels at the end.

Seattle is a great place to be a pescetarian. That night at Salty’s is a prime example of why I am one, rather than purely vegetarian.*

So go, be messy with friends, whether it’s in Seattle’s number-one locale for brunch for visiting parents… or around a giant steamer pot in your own damn kitchen. Bonus points if you catch stuff yourself.

But that’s another entry, due in another week or so. Two words: clamming gun.**

*Vegan, of course, means no cheese. Vegan is right out.