The experience

So I actually decide to plan ahead this evening.  I have to admit that this is one of the few times that email ads have worked on me.  I got an email to go to Joe’s Crab Shack on Valentine’s day for crab.  Sounded good and it beats the game of who can make someone else pick the restaurant tonight we’ve been playing. So, with Grace’s happy approval that a choice had been made in advance, we were off to Joe’s Crab Shack in East Plano.

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I got Mina to be excited about going to dinner by telling her they had a playground. We don’t come here often so I don’t think she remembers the place.  I’m not even sure we’d come here with Benji before.  In any event, Grace agreed to sit outside saying she thought it was warm enough even though I knew that was not entirely true.  Of course she immediately hunched up all cold.  If they had have switched on those radiant heaters they had outside it would have been perfect.

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Mina made a mad dash for the playground and Benji immediately wanted to come.  I set everything down and we followed the kids out to the playground.  Benji instantly got to climbing and went through the big red tube.  He stopped to pose for the camera.

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Mina, meanwhile had found the large slide and Benji followed her up.  Grace would remain paranoid of this the rest of the evening’s play session as she feared he would fall.  Benji probably rode it 20 times.

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Mina decided to build a sand castle after seeing some other kids doing the same. Somewhere she had found a pink piece of plastic that she was happy to decorate the castle with.  She, too, stopped to pose.

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Grace and I took a brief break to order and appetizer and when they came back they even brought it over to the ledge so we could eat it while standing in the play area.  It was also about this time that Mina discovered that they had accidentally brought the kids Sprite instead of water.  Grace shrugged it off for Mina but sent Benji’s back.  That made Mina happy.

After a good bit of nonstop play the food finally arrived.  Luckily it was enough to get the kids to the table with minimum struggle.  Mina helped me put on my bib to eat my crab with.

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She then asked about the strange utensils they had given me.  I told her it was to crack open and eat the crab with.  She wanted to try it and I was quite sure she’d end up crushing or pinching her finger on the nutcracker so  I let her help me with it.

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Mina attempted to play with the crayons they gave use briefly but instead wolfed down her burger in record time. Benji wolfed down his as well.  Grace took them to play while I finished up my crab that was taking a bit to eat.

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We debated dessert but we still had to stop and get supplies for Mina’s Valentine’s Day party at school the next day and it was getting late so we just settled up and headed home.

The food

The food was average to very good.  This place has your typical seafood fare.  A bit of cajun, some fried seafood, various fish dishes, and, of course, crab.

DSC00797We started off with the Crab Stuffed Mushrooms.  They were very tasty.  Definitely on the rich side with a bunch of cheese inside.  I would have preferred a bit more mushroom myself as there was way more crab stuffing than there was mushroom.

DSC00800Grace went for the Crawfish Half and Half.  She seemed to enjoy it but I am pretty certain that she thought the roux on the crawfish etouffee was on the light side.  It had quite a bit of green pepper flavor when I tasted it. It was OK but nothing fantastic.  The fried crawfish were well cooked with a nice crust and the cocktail sauce was really good.

DSC00799I went for the steam pot of Dungeness Crab.  It came with a 1.25 lbs. of crab with new potatoes and corn on the cob.  I gave the corn to Grace because she is a much bigger fan of corn than I.  I went for the garlic seasoning though you can get it several different ways including barbecue, old bay, spicy and plain.  The crab was very good and very meaty.  I even had enough to give some to my wife who loves crab.  The garlic added a nice touch.

DSC00801DSC00798The kids went for the two mini Beach burgers which Mina thought sounded cool and Macaroni and Cheese so they could split it.  I got them both applesauce which Benji loved so much he got half of it in his lap.  Mina devoured the burger in record time probably after burning all the calories on the playground and the desire to get back to it.  Benji mainly stuck to the mac.

The service

The service was pretty good.  I think we had a trainer/trainee team.  They were pretty good at keeping us stocked but were a bit hard to find on a few occasions.

The kids

Definitely a kid friendly restaurant.  I mean it has a giant playground in a sand box! On top of that they give you a nice activity book and crayons which hardly got touched since they were playing instead.  If you have toddler’s you will certainly need to be out there with them.  And if you are in that in between period where you can’t quite let them out on that type of equipment yet and you have one older that will be out there, you might be stick with a crying kid back at the table.DSC00808

Total Cost: ~$70 (two drinks)

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