Day of the Week: Saturday, 1/10
Total Bill: $215 (estimate, before tip)
Breakdown: 2 crab samplers, 2 desserts, 2 soft drinks
Pros: Fresh seafood, old-Florida feel.
Verdict: A Ft. Lauderdale institution.
After a long day of beer-drinking at Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Day, Hubby said, “I could really go for some fresh seafood. Like crab legs or something.” Boy did I know just the place. I used to live in south Florida and had been to the Rustic Inn twice before and it really stood out in my mind as an authentic old-Florida place. The Rustic Inn opened back in the ‘50s and used to be a lot smaller but over the years they’ve added on…and on…and on. Nothing about it is fancy: gravel and dirt parking lot, stainless steel sinks for washing up after your crab feast, newspaper on the tables. And sometimes that’s just what you need. People love to have birthdays here, which you notice because just about every five minutes a voice comes over the loudspeaker asking you to wish so-and-so a happy birthday and “bang your mallets on the table.”
We got there about 9 PM and were seated right away. Our server (Jose?) was really nice and took good care of us. I was kind of drunk, so reading the menu was tough. Hubby ordered something and I was like, yeah I’ll have that, too. I had no idea how much he’d ordered!
We each had the Crab Lover’s Delight: “Our World Famous Garlic Crab Clusters, World Famous Golden Crab Clusters, Alaskan Queen Crab Legs and Dungeness Crab Cluster Served with parsley buttered potatoes.” Hubby also added on a pound of stone crab claws (yes, each).
Huge platters of crab arrived and we got to work with our mallets. Hubby had to walk me through the different varieties but it was a lot of fun. The crab was cooked perfectly. The stone crab claws were the biggest either of us had ever seen. Hubby told me it was the closest thing to a Maryland crab experience he’d had since he moved after high school and it was exactly what he wanted. Despite the fact that we had about 10 pounds of crab total, we ate all of it. Hubby was impressed that I managed to eat about 75% of mine.
We also got dessert, which wasn’t amazing, but it was good (I had peanut butter pie) and wrapped up the meal nicely.
Bottom line, if you’re in Ft. Lauderdale and want to get away from the tourist traps and go somewhere the locals go, head to the Rustic Inn. It hasn’t been there for 60+ years for no reason.