If You Don’t Get An Amazing Soft Shelled Crab Sandwich I Want to Hear About It

So, the Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge keeps rolling along- but as of now it just seems like the Cer Te show. You guys said you wanted it to keep going, so Cer Te (on 55th btw. 5+6th) keeps pumping out the sandwiches.  (Maybe yesterdays coverage will encourage other Midtown businesses to get on board!  What are you waiting for people?  A challenge has been issued!)

The June offering from Cer Te is a soft shelled crab sandwich, and I stopped by yesterday to try it for myself.

Man I love soft shelled crab.  So good… and not that expensive when all is said in done.  I mean, if a Midtown deli can afford to put it on their by the pound buffet, certainly we can get more under $10 soft shelled crab sandwiches!  I didn’t make it to Cer Te until 2pm yesterday, so the place was empty and I was told it was taking awhile because they were frying the soft shelled crab fresh.  I’m saying this because there is a huge difference between fresh fried soft shelled crab and something that gets fried in advance and site out.  I’ll eat ‘em both happily, but one is clearly going to be better than the other.

I’m also mentioning this because I have always tried my hardest to stay under the radar when eating out in Midtown. I never introduce myself, never say who I am, and more importantly, I never accept free food (unless it is a free food promotion that all Midtown Lunchers can partipate in.) I always go in, like a regular customer, order my meal and pay for it like a regular customer.  Obviously some places know who am (mostly carts, because you can’t communicate with them over the phone like a brick and mortar store), but I still never accept free food.  Not a single cookie from the Treats Truck.  Not a single kati roll from the Biryani Cart.  (I always pay.)  Even though Cer Te has been part of the sandwich challenge for months now, I have never met anybody there in person, never have said who I am, or talked to anybody in the context of Midtown Lunch.  Everything has been done over email.

Of course after yesterday, I can’t say for sure whether or not they knew who I was.  (I had the baby too, who was already a Midtown celebrity long before yesterday.)   They didn’t say anything, and I ordered and paid for my meal like a regular customer.  But the cook was told by the manager to make the soft shelled crab sandwich fresh (it took about 4-5 minutes, even though the place was empty.)  And it was freakin’ awesome.  I loved the potato roll, the beer battered soft shelled crab, and the tartar like remoulade sauce (which you may remember from the catfish sandwich a few months ago.)  It came with a tasty potato salad, and cole slaw and for somebody who loves soft shelled crab, I thought it was well worth the $9.


But I don’t want any special treatment…  so here’s what we’re going to do.  If they thought they were serving a delicious looking, fresh made soft shelled crab sandwich with a good amount of coleslaw and potato salad to a regular customer, than you should get the same thing right!  Granted, I was there at 2pm- and the place wasn’t that crowded… so clearly they had more time then if it had been during the lunch rush (when Cer Te can be completely insane.)  If you don’t get the same great sandwich, I think Cer Te should suffer the shame of being outed on the site.  If they didn’t know who I was- it shouldn’t be an issue. Obviously they can fry every sandwich fresh during the rush, but if they’re not that crowded, and you ask for it- they should be able to make you a fresh sandwich in 5 minutes.

I know it’s kind of unfair to make an example of Cer Te (especially because I don’t know if they knew who I was or not), but I don’t want to write that this sandwich was amazing- only to have you guys go get some cold soft shelled crab grossness.  More than that, I want this to be a lesson to all Midtown Lunch spots. Now that my photo is out there, if you give me special treatment, or give me  a larger portion, or put more care than normal in preparing what you serve to me- the readers of this site will be able to tell. And when that happens, they will do what they can to shame you into making the same good food for every single customer!  And they’ll do it with my full support.

If my photo is out there, I can’t stop places from making me things that tastes extra good (or is a bigger portion.)  But together, we can make sure all Midtown Lunchers get the “special” treatment!  Not just the ones who write stupid blogs…

Now, go get a Cer Te soft shelled crab sandwich!  It was freakin’ awesome.

Certe’s Thanksgiving Dip is the Greatest Sandwich Ever Created (With address and phone info)
The Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge


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    The Soft Shell Crab Is Now The Greatest.

    Eating it as we speak. It’s perfect.

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    @gumbygaya: how crazy is the line there right now??

  • I’m reposting from my experience Monday:

    I agree w/sir eats-a-lot, it is tiny & tasty, but not worth the price. I won’t get this again unless it is 2X for the same price. If your in the mood for soft-shelled crab, call Cafe Duke @ 51st to see if they have it in the salad/food bar and you can get 3 times the crab for the same price as the latest Cer té offering.

    Also, my sandwich came w/lousy, stale potato chips – NO tasty potato salad, nor cole slaw..

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    I got there at 12 sharp to get the goodness. Took a few minutes to prepare. Definitely my favorite sandwich from Cer Te

  • Looks good. I don’t know if it’s worth the 9.70 though. Hmmmm.

  • We changed the side options after Monday’s initial reviews. We also want to let you know that every sandwich will be fried made to order.

    We appreciate that Midtown Lunchers raise the bar for quality casual dining in Midtown and as always we welcome all of your comments and responses.

    Thank You,
    Chef Edward Sylvia

    (If this comment is repeated 2x our apologies, the initial one isn’t showing for us)

  • Just had it…

    Super tasty (and freshly fried). Nice buttered roll, two lemon wedges, hot sauce and remoulade all included.

    No shennanigans with the sides, either–had the same slaw/potato salad that the Fat Man got.

    That said, still jonesing for a snack…

  • Gotta love and respect the stones on Cer Te: addressing the hostile masses head on, and never making sorry excuses (a la Peter Lusk, and the other historic whiners who have challenged ML feedback in the past).

    I will be eating the hell out of this sandwich tomorrow, and am looking forward to it. Wish I’d seen this earlier today.

  • Cer Te I’m happy you’re on this site and supporting us midtowners with consistency. Very good job. I’ll be partaking in the sandwich tomorrow. :)

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    I just had one of these bad boys as well. As everyone mentioned above its pretty tasty, but the portions were definitely underwhelming for the cost. I opened up my sandwich and it looked like 1 fried softshell crab (it did not strike me as freshly fried). My potato salad had 6 potato pieces in it. The only thing I did get a decent amount of was the red cabbage and raisin slaw. If I didn’t get a Bacon 2 egg and cheese on a roll for breakfast, I think would be out searching for more food as we speak. It still a worthy taste though as it is pretty damn good. Was everyone elses meal comparable in portions?

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    I got 4 potato pieces so consider yourself lucky..
    the sandwich itself was really good tho… Better than I thought.. crispy… and loved the hot sauce on the side…

    I liked the Mexican Torta too, but this was delicious.. definitely having it several more times while its available..

  • Yea, small potato salad (6 chunks or so), with an ample lump of red-cabbage slaw.

    Did appreciate the blue potato in the salad. Groovy.

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    Got it today. Hung out a bit with Edward – delicious sandwich. Certe can do no wrong!

  • @Kevin – I agree w/you 100%. Sandwich was tasty, but the portion was too small and I wasn’t even half full afterwards..

  • (especially because I don’t know if they knew who I was or not),

    Jesus Wept.

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    Funny thing reading about how you’re trying to stay “under the radar”. I actually ran into you today on 6th Ave and 49th Street. Even funnier is that I ran into Neil Patrick Harris a few minutes later at Radio City Music Hall. And all this while on my way to check out Minar and Margon. And one day after reading about you in the Times. You’re a celebrity now!

  • I saw Neil Patrick Harris too!!! very exciting…

  • Oh and what I meant by that was that I’ve always tried to stay under the radar in the past (never posted my photo on the site, or anything like that.) But I wasn’t going to say no to the NYT! (And I’ve still gotta eat lunch in Midtown every day, so now that you know what I look like you’ll probably see me alot…)

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    I discovered this website from the NYT article, and now am obsessed!! So I called ahead to order this sandwich from Cer Te — only to receive a call back 3min later from a very apologetic Carlos, who said they and their suppliers were sold out! I ordered the Thanksgiving instead (half of which is still sitting on my desk because it is so damn filling) but Carlos was nice enough to offer me a free drink, a free brownie card for the next time I go, and his business card so I can request an extra crab in my sandwich next week! I’m definitely going back.

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    can’t lie…i pretty much hated the sandwich i got. i tried it yesterday at about 11:30am.

    my particular “soft shell” wasn’t so darn soft. it was actually kind of like eating a fingernail sandwich – not appetizing.

    could’ve been a fluke. i’ve been going to certe for years; it’s a hot and cold (literally and figuratively) spot.

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