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


  • I went to get the sandwich around 2pm today. It was packed. They told me I had to wait 4-5 minutes for the sandwich. As I waited, I was worried I would get hit by the massive catering trays they were moving back and forth through the crowd. I loved the sandwich! Same sides as the picture. Can’t wait to go back next Thursday.

  • Ordering it for delivery today…I hope it’s still good!

  • Way to go, Cer te, for addressing the issues (and promptly)!

    Too bad I don’t work nearby (I was feeling adventurous on Monday). The portion is definitely small, but who has ever been filled up by eating soft-shell crabs? WHO?! It’s just a nice treat every so often.

    RockCenter: being that they’ve started frying them to order because of our earlier reports, delivery is throwing caution to the wind. You’ve been warned.

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    Had mine at around 2 pm yesterday. It was outstanding. Fresh, meaty and filling.

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    Round 2 today. Its awesomeness again. I actually think its a perfectly sized portion given the sides.

  • I tried it. I think people that like soft shell crab will like it. The entire meal is terrific. I got plenty of salad and slaw. Excellent as usual.

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    Round 3. If Mickey’dees filet-o-fish has ambitions of greatness, it would be this bad-boy.

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    I just had the sandwich. Went at around 12:10pm today. Altho the sandwich was tasty, it wasn’t out of this world… and I say that b/c i noticed that the bun was freshly toasted… BUT the crab WASN’T freshly fried. I even took the bun off to double check… sure enough, my crab was cold. It’s still a decent sandwich but just letting you know, it’s not always freshly fried!

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    As of 7/21, they aren’t carrying the Soft Shelled Crab Sandwich anymore. Disappointing.

    But the guy must have known I was a Midtown Luncher, because he recommended the new ML Special (Uncle Sammie) or a steak tip wrap, explaining them in careful detail despite the huge line.

  • sir eats-a-lot isn’t a woman? Ah, gee wiz. Another fantasy I can never use again.

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