Art's Crab Shak

4031 Broadway (at 40th Street), Oakland
Phone: 510.654.2864.
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30am-11pm, Fri 11:30am-midnight,
Sat noon-midnight, Sun 1pm-11pm

This is just about my favorite restaurant in the Bay Area. No joke. I was introduced to it by friends two years ago, and since then, every other month or two I make a date to hit the Shak. And I'm never disappointed.

A Steakhouse until '92, Art's was then purchased. "Crab Shak" was added to the sign, but the mood of the was joint retained.

The Ambience:
Behind the windowless brick facade and the classic neon sign, Art's is one-third bar, one-third booth seating for the "crab feed," and one-third back room with fireplace, pool tables and darts. The bar has a huge kick ass fish tank, Raiders paraphranelia dating back to who-knows-when, TV's quietly playing the sports game of the moment, and all the locals. The folks at the bar are generally saucy and friendly, teasing each other and having a good laugh.

The restaurant side recently redid the vinyl booths. The walls are covered with Christmas cards sent to Art's over the years. Regardless of the season.

The Menu:
Crab in various size "buckets." Coleslaw, collared greens, garlic bread, fries...I think they have other thinks like catfish and fried cod and fried oysters...and stuff. I don't know. I can't see past the crab. The food isn't entirely cheap. The crab runs about $26-$60.

The Food:
The crab legs are served in a sauteed mushroom, garlic and lemon butter, so you better put your bib on. Any side order I've tried is perfecto, and it's safe to assume you can't go wrong with whatever you order.

The Service:
Usually on the ball, with occasional exceptions. One word of warning: cash only, and you settle the bill after you order, before you're served.

Reservations: No, and usually not a problem except on early Sunday evenings when the Church crowd fills the Shak to the brim.

Overall: A

Real. Awesome. Really awesome.

Reviewed : June 2007



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