It’s been a year since our state wildlife department declared open season on the Louisiana red crayfish (aka roter amerikanischer Sumpfkrebs) invading Tiergarten and Britzer Garten. Yet despite the “Berliner Lobster” hype of the first few months, the shellfish – which pose a serious threat to native aquatic species and ought to be eaten without remorse – have yet to find a place on menus beyond Spandau’s Fisch Frank and the Sichuan restaurant Grand Tang in Wilmersdorf.
Valiantly trying to change this is the German trio behind Holy Crab, a roving street food stand promoting the “invasivore” lifestyle. Chef Andreas Michelus, formerly of Hotel du Rome, cooks up the Lousiana invaders as well as three less photogenic crustaceans that have plagued the Havel river for years: the Chinese mitten crab, the signal crayfish and the spinycheek crayfish. The latter of those starred in Holy Crab’s inaugural feast at Sage Beach last month, which, whether due to the chilly weather or Germany’s persistent shellfish avoidance issues, was depressingly underattended. But while the whole crayfish, boiled in a Cajun-style spiced broth and served by the plateful, failed to sell, other dishes where it came pre-shelled – like the “Berlin Crab Roll” or the “Pasta Frutti di Plage” – showed promise among visitors. On behalf of designated city crayfisherman Klaus Hidde and his annual haul of 40,000 critters, we’ll cross our fingers that this is the summer Berlin finally catches on to the mudbugs’ appeal.
Updates and whereabouts at www.holycrab.berlin