i kind of have a love-hate relationship with fatty crab. i really really love their malaysian style food. it’s super spicy, it’s original, and almost everything i have ever had in the restaurant is amazing (take out is not as successful). but the service can be inconsistent if not out right terrible (i was especially unhappy at the upper west side service), and the prices, well it just seems over priced for what it is — more 2005 than 2009. whatever, sometimes i just have to have some very interesting, super hot and very tasty asian food.
my favorite things at fatty crab are mostly meaty and fatty. i could easily fill up on multiple orders of the pork belly tea sandwiches served with sambal aioli and on super soft crustless white bread. the fatty duck is another favorite, fried and served with toasted tamaki. i’ve had a number of their vegetables like the chinese broccoli and the baby bok choy, which are good, but i think the real reason to go are the meats. i also recently had their soft shell crab special pictured above. nicely fried in turmeric, sitting atop a super spicey and soupy rice concoction with curry, green chili and tamaki. i had it with watermelon and kaffir lime jice, and started with slices of green mango that are energized with chili-sugar-salt. it was a great way to begin the summer.
there are plenty of foods i haven’t tried at fatty crab, including the highly touted hot dog that has a homemade xo sausage with pickled chiles and veggies, the pickled watermelon with crispy pork appetizer, and the goat brains (probably not for me). and i really need to have their signature disk the chili crab which comes in a bowl of chili sauce and several crab legs and slices of toast with crab, chili sauce and white toast and the short rib rendang with kaffir lime, coconut and chili. they also have lots of great cocktails.
in addition to the upper west side space, which opened in the last year and is pretty big, fatty crab’s original tiny restaurant is in the meatpacking district and the one that i prefer since the service is better there. however, this location tends to blast their not so mellow musical selections which makes me feel really old. and even though in theory this is a great place for a business expense, don’t make the mistake that i did of bringing an over-60 work colleague there — he might like food but not the ambiance. fatty crab, 643 hudson street at horatio street, manhattan, new york, 212.352.3592; 2170 broadway between 76th and 77th streets, manhattan, new york, 212.496.2722.