There’s a saying in New Orleans, “Laissez le bon temps rouler,” a French “loan translation” of “Let the good times roll.” They certainly take that maxim to heart at Angry Crab Shack, an Asian-Cajun seafood joint that started in the Valley and is rapidly expanding beyond Arizona. After a few minutes at the boisterous, family-friendly shack, with its walls covered in customer notes and signatures, colorful lights, loud music, open-ish kitchen, tables covered in seafood and general din of frivolity, it’s easy to see why. Sometimes you want to feel like it’s Fat Tuesday even when it’s just a plain old Tuesday. Angry Crab Shack provides that immersive experience. Who can stress about unfinished to-do lists and work email notifications when you’re wearing a plastic bib and gloves and going to town on a princely pile of spicy crustaceans?
There are no food happy hour specials, per se, but you can order discounted “snacks” including shrimp cocktail, a calamari and clam strips combo, Angry Wings and barbecue pulled pork sliders (the latter at the Arcadia location only). And you can fill up easily on a few shared starters like oysters (market price), breaded scallops ($14), chicken wings ($7, half dozen; $14, dozen), calamari ($10) and peel-and-eat shrimp ($8). At a recent media tasting, my fella and I split kicky jalapeño hush puppies with ranch ($5), Phoenix Children’s Hospital Fries (crispy fries with a light dusting of Cajun seasoning; proceeds benefit PCH, $4), gumbo ($6), a catfish po’ boy ($10) and my favorite, the lobster crostini ($10). Lobster roll lovers know how pricey those puppies are, so I was shocked to see the same amount of lobster (maybe even more) served atop buttery toasted bread rounds for less than half the price of your average lobstah roll. This will now be my budget satisfaction for my regular lobster roll craving. (They also have twin lobster rolls for a wallet-friendly $14.)
If watching other tables around you gleefully dig into piles of seafood makes you wonder if you should turn happy hour into dinner, you absolutely should. You pick your seafood (head-on shrimp, king crab, blue crab, blue mussels, etc., all priced by the pound), your sauce, your spice level and your bag add-ins (seasonal veggies, sausage, corn on the cob, red potatoes). We went with shrimp, snow crab, sausage, corn and red potatoes with Angry Crab’s signature Trifecta sauce, a slurp-worthy mixture of the “Kajun,” lemon-pepper and garlic sauces in a mild spice to accommodate my wimpiness. My partner got a side of spice level three sauce and I got a side of garlic sauce for even more garlicky goodness. We finished an embarrassing amount of food for just two people, but it was that good.
Select beers are $2, craft drafts are $5, house wines are $4 and well mules are $6. There are also a slew of fun cocktails to pair with your po’ boys and crab, priced from $8-$10.
I went for the classic Hurricane (Bacardi Silver rum, Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, passion fruit purée), which went down way too easily. My partner heard that The Big Easy (Kraken dark rum, pineapple juice, lime juice and cream of coconut) was a riff on the Painkiller, his favorite tiki cocktail, and slurped down two in quick succession. We also sampled the Kajun Bloody Mary, a bold take on the brunch classic with house-infused spicy vodka, house-made Bloody Mary mix, a stout beer float and Cajun salt rim with a pickled asparagus spear and a crab leg sprouting from its depths as decadent garnishes. The crab lends a lovely brininess to the spicy cocktail.
THE INSIDER SECRET
In addition to benefiting Phoenix Children’s Hospital with those tasty fries, Angry Crab Shack partners with countless other organizations to make a positive difference, from veterans’ groups to cancer nonprofits. Ask your server about the month’s charitable partner to learn how you can stuff yourself silly for a good cause.
Happy hour runs Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. Deals:
- $2 Bud Light and Coors Light drafts
- $5 craft beers on draft
- $4 house wine
- $6 well mules
- $5 Deep Eddy Vodka drinks (excluding specialty cocktails)
- $5 glasses of Sutter Home wines (Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon)
- $9 glasses of Francis Ford Coppola Winery wines (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir)