A Hanukkah miracle has occurred. I walked by Swan Oyster Depot when I was going out for lunch AND THERE WAS NO LINE. That just doesn’t happen. I walked right up and grabbed a seat at the bar.

Now, it’s not often I write a post about just a single dish, and it’s even less often I write about a place twice, but everything is so freaking incredible at Swan Oyster Depot that I just had to. This time, there was just one dish on my mind – not something listed on the giant menu overhead – something I saw Anthony Bourdain eating on the San Francisco episode of The Layover – a dish simply called Crab Fat.

As I walked into the restaurant and glanced at the fresh seafood on display in the front window, I saw them there – just begging to be ordered. What I saw was a massive pile of whole Dungeness Crab heads flipped upside-down and haphazardly stacked high on ice. And inside of each crab head bowl was a pale yellow custardy looking substance filling each one right up to the brim. That, my friends, was the crab fat.

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The Window

With the simple addition of melted butter, my whole crab head was presented to me cold with a quarter loaf of fresh sourdough bread and a spoon. I immediately ripped a hunk off the sourdough and swiped it right through the thick, rich, and creamy, but light, briny, and fresh tasting mystery substance.

It was ridiculous – each bite was more decadent than the next. It was totally bizarre and I’m sure it was completely terrible for me, but it was also undeniably incredible. And you know what this Dungeness masterpiece cost me? A mere $8.25. Totally worth it!

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Crab Fat

Really, the only thing that’s even come close to the unusual flavor and texture that I experienced eating this dish was also from Swan Oyster Depot – that ridiculously fresh and very custardy Live Uni from last time. I highly recommend getting both – and a chowder – and a Sicilian Sashimi. Get it all. Go big because Swan Oyster Depot will never disappoint. I honestly don’t know how I ever lived without the seafoody decadence that is Swan Oyster Depot before moving to San Francisco.

Where else in San Francisco should I go for crazy crab creations? Let me know in the comments below.

Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk St. San Francisco, CA 94109

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