Tali's Crab Shack vs. Capt. Crab's Takeaway: Miami Gardens Crab-Off
The crab-off brewing on Miami Gardens Drive ended before it began. We decided to check out two dueling crab restaurants -- Tali's Crab Shack and Capt. Crab's Takeaway -- but when it came to the crab, it wasn't much of a contest.
All photos by Zachary Fagenson Inside Capt. Crabs is where you want to be.
It was obvious why after the first step inside Tali's Crab Shack. There it was, right out in the open; a stainless steel microwave. The crew took no shame in pulling pre-cooked crab out of a refrigerated case and reheating it for a couple of minutes. Don't worry about taking a number, you'll know your food is ready when you hear the beep.
Nikolai and Vitalij Sokol opened the takeaway joint just west of 37th Avenue in April 2012. The couple sold off three similarly named restaurants in Jacksonville and took a year off before moving to Miami.
Inside Tali's Crab Shack. We spared you the microwave shot.
A glut of crab shacks in north Florida prompted them to "come down and introduce Miami to how garlic crab needs to be cooked," said Nikolai, who goes by Nick for short.
About a mile away, near 47th Avenue is Capt. Crab's Takeaway. It's been a Miami Gardens mainstay for more than a decade. At lunch the drive-through line wrapped around the grey, Tudor-style building.
The focus at both was obviously crab, but not Stone Crab or the buffet-favorite Snow or King varieties. It's Blue Crab. Alive they have brown-green shells and claws that all turn blue toward the tips. The crabs are caught up and down the east coast, and are especially abundant in the northeast, off the coast of northern Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Standard preparation is simple: Crab, garlic, parsley, something spicy and maybe butter.