Soft Shelled Crabs Show Up On A Midtown Pay By the Pound Buffet!!!


Uh… yeah.  You heard me right.  Soft shelled mother f’ing crabs on a Midtown by the lb. buffet.  That is what I discovered at the Cafe Duke on 51st btw. 6+7th yesterday. I’ve already written a bunch about how much I love their by the lb. buffet, but this just put it over the top.  Soft shelled crab! I’m still giddy thinking about it.  This could be the biggest money item to ever show up on one of these generic Midtown deli buffets (the ones that cost under $10 a pound anyway).  And, they don’t even weigh that much (especially compared to other stuff like fruit and bone in chicken).  It really is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen at a by the pound buffet.

At $7.79 a pound, Cafe Duke by the lb. is on the high end of these kind of crappy Midtown options… but for the quality it is definitely worth it.  The food always looks fresh, every choice looks damn tasty, and the sauce they put on their fake jumbo shrimp makes me not mind that they are trying to fake you into thinking you’re actually getting shrimp

How they were, a shot of my lunch, and the one big downside- after the jump…


I’ve written a lot about strategy at the by the lb. buffet, and I admit it always scares me since you never know how much it’s going to cost until the moment of truth (the weigh in)… but on this day I got pretty much everything I wanted and it ended up being a little under $9.  Crabs, a couple of dumplings, 3 fake shrimp, some roasted cauliflower and asparagus, a few pieces of general tso’s chicken, and a little bit of noodle salad.  This is about as balanced a lunch as you’ll ever see me eat.

I only took two of the soft shelled crabs, to be safe, but if I went back I think I would load up.  Sure, they’re cold- but they’re fried, salty and gooood, and they are a surefire winner from a beating the by the lb. buffet standpoint.  The one downside… they are a seasonal item, and won’t be available forever.  In fact, they may not even be there today.  I talked to the manager who said as long as their purveyor keeps delivering them, they’ll keep ordering them… but he has no idea when that will stop.  They’ve been on the buffet for 10 days straight now, and should be there today (but he wouldn’t guarantee it.)  Good luck!  And feel free to report back in the comments if you’re in the neighborhood…

Fake Shrimp Scam (?!?!) And the ML Guide to Eating at a Pay By the Pound Buffet in NYC
All New York City Pay by the Pound Buffet Posts on Midtown Lunch


  • I like how they’re next to the fake shrimp.
    And dude, you make me wanna work in midtown so bad… soft shell crab~!!! by the lb.!!!

  • So if I go there today and they’re not there, I’m going to cry.

  • I love your idea of a balanced meal.

  • They’re from the Gowanus Canal. Or some other Superfund site. Guaran-fucking-teed. Eating buffet soft shell crab from Cafe Duke, CAFE DUKE!, the joint that proudly sells fake shrimp – Zach, you are one crazy-ass fucked up white boy. That shit is radioactive-aids-feces-scurvy-worms ridden for sure. Repent before its too late!

  • they’ve had it rotates in..

  • Wasn’t it determined, in other postings, that this place was sketchy as far as people getting sick from the food?

  • If anyone goes today, please post if the crab is there—I’m gonna hit it tomorrow—no doubt!

  • Now that’s a real shame when folks be throwin’ away a perfectly good white boy like that

  • Zach’s married. These lunches are like unprotected south east asian sex for him…

  • As a professional psychologist married to a RN with experience in the field of correctional medicine, I can assure you that contracting infectious herpes clouds one’s judgement and inhibits rational decisionmaking. So does being stupid, though.

  • The “logist” is overkill.

  • If anyone knows “stupid” and “clouded judgement” — not to mention venereal disease and homo-bestiality — it’s DocChuck

  • I wonder if he gets off talking to himself like that…

  • incidentally Hing Wong has switched to $/lb self-serve system on the fast food side. I always go to the Chinese line but I took a look and its cleverly priced at $2.90…/half pound.

    From what I saw it looked like people were paying more for a lot less food than they used to serve you.

  • In reference to the old fake Shrimp post – has anyone else seen the “fake shrimp wrapped in bacon” monstrosity? It’s like Surimi and Rumaki made a bastard love child…

  • it’s not noodle salad. it’s jap chae. don’t get it twisted!

  • I can’t believe no one made a crabs joke.
    I’m disappointed.

  • I called them today to inquire about the soft shell crabs. was told that they don’t have any today. =( soo disappointed.

  • Saw them at Cafe Duke on 41st and Broadway yesterday.

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