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TLO Restaurant Review: Dancing Crab Seafood Kitchen and Bar

Recently, I've been on a mission to check out the impressive hold that various restaurants have on Oklahoma City's landlocked seafood market.

From affordable $5.99 lunch buffets to traditional favorites to new critical darlings, the variety of delectable fish, shrimp, and crabs around town is enough to make any seafood lover's eyes water.

This reflection was sparked by Norman's new salt-water gem, the Dancing Crab, located at 149 12th Ave.

Originally occupying the long-forgotten grounds of a nameless Chinese restaurant, the lively Dancing Crab, with its spindly crustacean mascot, was recommended to me. It evoked fond memories of local seafood joints from the nineties, complete with crab bibs.

Despite the dining room being bustling with two large families cracking shells nearby, I had my bib tied and was ready to dive into these aquatic dishes. Taking my mother out for a fine seafood experience, we started with some appetizers, and after a few minutes, it was time to indulge.

While my mother had the standard Hush Puppies ($4.00), I had the explosive Popcorn Crawfish ($11.00).

The hush puppies were a filling appetizer that made do with their serene surroundings. While not the best, they also weren't the worse, but the popcorn crawfish were indubitably delightful, with the beady-eyed crawfish making a fine snack before dinner, and the spicy dipping sauce taking all the “zing” out of the room.

With the appetizers out of the way, my mother told me that my uncle once took a job as a part-time shrimper after leaving the Marines. This was an interesting thing to learn, but her admission that she personally hated all crustaceans with a passion, something I didn't know until now, was not. I guess that explains the lack of shrimp and crab boils I had as a kid.

Fortunately, the Dancing Crab's menu is diverse and, instead of going with oceanic bottom feeders, she ordered the Fried Tilapia Basket ($13.99) with Cajun fries.

Although shellless, it was still a winner, as a trio of the temperate fillets were fried and topped on a bed of Cajun-spiced French fries. With the spicy tartar sauce as a guide, the fish was very mild and extremely wild, with the somewhat spicy fries leading the way.

With her fish-phobia quelled, I was all about another form of aquatic life I had never had – Manila Clams ($13.99).

A Filipino delicacy, it's a full pound of the Manila Clams, all drowned in special blend of Cajun spice, lemon pepper spice, and garlic butter.

Steamed in a bag and tossed on my plate, the rust-colored dust coated the shells, the potatoes, the lemon, and, eventually, my own fingers and hands. The clams were open and ready, and the meat quickly slid out of the shell and onto my fork and into my mouth, with every single bite casting off an oral adventure. Like a biblical whale, I swallowed every bit of edible clammy refuge, burping along the way.

With no chum in these raging waters, the Dancing Crab is simply one of the best seafood restaurants in a clam’s age. Whether you're a die-hard seafood fan or a cautious fish-phobe like my mother, there's something here to tantalize every taste bud. Dive into the briny deep at Norman's new favorite seafood spot, and make a splash in your culinary routine.

Cómpralo ya!


Follow Louis Fowler on Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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