Stone Crab Claw Dreaming

Pinch Us


Although the calendar indicates that the holidays are still in the distant future, some would argue that “the most wonderful time of year” is already upon us. Seafood markets can hardly contain their glee, and lovers of stone crabs have visions of perfectly steamed claws dancing in their heads. Stone Crab season is officially here and markets along the Gulf Coast have packed these brightly colored beauties on ice to sell by the pound. The SRQ Nosh team visited a local seafood institution, Captain Brian’s Seafood Market & Restaurant to get the pinch on this seasonal favorite. 

Harvested daily in the gulf, Captain Brian’s is serving and selling claws at his market that are brought in from Tampa to Naples. “We are easily going through 150 pounds of claws a day from people buying them in our market to take home or stopping in for lunch or dinner at the restaurant,” says Brian Bochan, owner of the restaurant and market located on highway 41 just north of the airport. 

Serving these seasonal claws as home is easier than you’d think. “Plan on one pound per person” says Bochan. “We sell medium, large and jumbo sized claws. Each one is pre-cracked and flash boiled to save you from the extra work of enjoying them.” If purchased pre-cracked, claws should be eaten the next day ensure the freshest flavor. True to his seafaring title,  the good captain shared an insider tip with us that only a seasoned seafood purveyor would know.  “Before you buy multiple pounds to take home, buy just one. Crack it, smell it and then eat it. You’re looking at the freshness of the claw. They should be sweet and a little bit salty with a nice flaky texture.” 

For sides, the captain recommends keeping it simple. “Obviously, the claws should be the star. I would serve them cold with potato salad and cole slaw,” says Bochan. “But the best compliment is mustard sauce, a squeeze of lemon juice and then wash it all down with a cold beer. My favorite is Harpoon IPA.” 

If restaurant dining is more of your scene, Captain Brian’s Seafood Market & Restaurant is serving stone crab claws throughout the season with the promise of new menu items on the horizon. “November is prime season for Cape Cod Swordfish. We will have it on the menu and for sale in the market. I’m most excited about Nantucket Bay Scallops that are only in season for a few months. We’re usually one of the only places in town to find them.” No stranger to Maine lobster and other delicacies like soft shell crab, the menu at Captain Brian’s is full of classic dishes and favorite bites like house made smoked fish dip,  planned and prepped by a local captain that takes seafood very seriously. 

Captain Brian’s Seafood Market & Restaurant is a member of Nosh, the SRQ Magazine content marketing program for local restaurants.

Captain Brian's Seafood Market & Restaurant | 8421 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243 | 941-351-4492 |

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