No Games, Just Crab–Kathryn Baldwin

Posted on January 10, 2012


Fish”: a restaurant so organic that it refuses to taint its name with distractions like articles or adjectives.

I only discovered this hidden perfection from Tyler Florence’s leak on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and my boyfriend and I created an entire daytrip just to find it. At first, the u-turns and traffic on the trek to Sausalito were balanced by my anticipation for coming bliss. I had drooled over the crab sandwich on my twelve-inch television but I refused to believe a paid show’s rant until my own bite held enough power to melt a crab. I spotted the crowd before I actually spotted “Fish.” Finding parking and space for two at one of the outdoor picnic tables forced me into starvation mode. My boyfriend waited in line as I collapsed in the sun, contemplating the cruelties of charging $25 for a sandwich and judging how expensive the real estate on the restaurant’s backyard boat dock must be. After marveling at the view of invading birds and north-bay snobs bickering over shade spots, I recognized how pathetic I was for spending more than an hour’s salary on a sandwich. I texted my boyfriend: “Order me the fish tacos instead. That price is too depressing!!” Thirty minutes later, when I was two seconds away from frantically searching for a beer, he joined me with a grin of accomplishment and nothing less than the sandwich that had beckoned my obsession all the way from the FoodNetwork.

Usually, an item on a menu that contains crab is like a game of “Where’s Waldo” and when you finally find the crab you can’t help but wonder where it came from. This was no game. The homemade roll was nothing but a shadow to the mound of crab packed between its walls. Messy, yet elegant, clamping down on one corner was like finally opening your front door after being locked out of the house. You jam the key in quickly but by the time the handle swings inward you can’t help but switch to slow-motion for a deep sigh of relief. Once I had opened the door, my neck released my shoulders and I hoped I could just chew forever. Mouthfuls of dissolving crab shreds, butter, and shrinking bread forced my eyelids closed and confused my perceptions. My scorching shoulders were suddenly cool. The snobs were friendly and patient. The birds were silent and distant. The wooden bench was soft and forgiving. Fries were unimportant. My boyfriend was a hero for disobeying my texted orders.

“Fish” was sufficient without “the.”

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