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Fatty Crab, Zak Pelaccio's Malaysian-Inspired Tavern - West Village (Upper West Side Branch has Closed)

West Village Malaysian Fatty Crew

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#1 goldenticket

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 04:04 PM

Our visit to the West Village Fatty Crab was probably the most fun dining experience of the weekend. We sort of stumbled upon the place; I knew it was in the general vicinity but wasn't expecting to see it when we did. We were gently encouraged to go on in by a guy we had passed on the sidewalk, notable for his baggy shorts and knee high socks Posted Image , who was on his way back in the front door. Base on a little research, I believe he was Zak Pelaccio, partner and chef (and resident "Dude"). Surprisingly enough for just before 7:00 on a Friday night, we were seated immediately. The place is tiny but has a bustling, cozy vibe with red walls and tables close very to each other.

I started with the StoneFashioned - an Old Fashioned made with stone fruit infused bourbon - very good, with lots of plum and peach coming through. I can't recall the name of the +1's drink, but it was a can of Tecate served with a shot of tequila and a shot of Sangrita.

We ordered a few things to share:
Green Mango Dips - a stack of green mango 'sticks' served with a dish of salt, sugar, and chili for dipping. Simple and refreshing.
Jalan Alor Chicken Wings (roasted, kecap manis, chili, cumin, fennel) - Sticky, sweet, and spicy. I love wings and these were a different take.
Watermelon Pickle and Crispy Pork - one of their signature dishes, for good reason. The pork was great, the mild sweetness and crunch from the pickle went well with it - not a lot to say. Simple ingredients, well executed.

Our brief chat with the guy on the sidewalk resulted in a totally unexpected (and very generous) amuse being sent over before our dishes came out. We were each brought a generous splash of prosecco and a lovely bite of uni. I didn't see this going to any other tables, not sure why we were singled out, but it was certainly a nice surprise! He also stopped by our table to see how we were doing. Overall, the service was great. I have great respect for service staff who keep a good attitude while negotiating tight, noisy spaces. Our waiter was helpful and food came out as it was ready, as we had been told it would.

The couple at the table next to us had the chili crab, which I am definitely going to try next time - because I know I want to go back!

Jackie B.

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#2 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 12:21 AM

The NYE crab tasting menu looks awesome. Too bad we're sticking around here because my wife's too prego.

#3 pesenti

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 07:54 AM

I went to the Fatty Crab in St Johns, had an incredible time. The GM told me they were looking at the DC market as a possible location.

#4 goldenticket

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:10 PM

The NYE crab tasting menu looks awesome. Too bad we're sticking around here because my wife's too prego.


I thought the same thing! And Congratulations :)

I went to the Fatty Crab in St Johns, had an incredible time. The GM told me they were looking at the DC market as a possible location.


That is very interesting/exciting news - I hope it becomes a reality.

Jackie B.

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Wonka/Dahl/O'Shaughnessy


#5 thistle

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 05:18 PM

Your meal sounds amazing, Fatty Crab has always been on my list of places to eat (if I was ever up in NYC). Sounds like something we could really enjoy, here in the DMV-I have a cookbook, Shiok, & the idea of chili crab is making me hungry....

#6 DonRocks

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 11:19 PM

Gotta say though, I don't like the corporate website vibe here ... at ... all.

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#7 pesenti

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 07:30 PM

Just because it's a polished well laid out website doesn't scream corporate. The pictures they post are definitely not corporate like.
Try the food, meet the people, then decide if you like it or not.

#8 DonRocks

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 08:46 PM

Just because it's a polished well laid out website doesn't scream corporate. The pictures they post are definitely not corporate like.
Try the food, meet the people, then decide if you like it or not.


I was in the process of methodically dismissing your comment by merely linking to the menu page of Fatty 'Cue, but once I went there and actually looked (as opposed to "reacted") - impossibly bad name and ubercue-polished framing aside - I'm very intrigued with what I see, and you're right. (I would only add that donrockwell.com is a corporation, so I don't hate "them" as much as you think. :))

Note to self: Don't be so quick to dismiss New York restaurants.

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#9 DonRocks

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 02:20 PM

Our visit to the West Village Fatty Crab was probably the most fun dining experience of the weekend. We sort of stumbled upon the place; I knew it was in the general vicinity but wasn't expecting to see it when we did. We were gently encouraged to go on in by a guy we had passed on the sidewalk, notable for his baggy shorts and knee high socks Posted Image , who was on his way back in the front door. Base on a little research, I believe he was Zak Pelaccio, partner and chef (and resident "Dude"). Surprisingly enough for just before 7:00 on a Friday night, we were seated immediately. The place is tiny but has a bustling, cozy vibe with red walls and tables close very to each other.

I started with the StoneFashioned - an Old Fashioned made with stone fruit infused bourbon - very good, with lots of plum and peach coming through. I can't recall the name of the +1's drink, but it was a can of Tecate served with a shot of tequila and a shot of Sangrita.

We ordered a few things to share:
Green Mango Dips - a stack of green mango 'sticks' served with a dish of salt, sugar, and chili for dipping. Simple and refreshing.
Jalan Alor Chicken Wings (roasted, kecap manis, chili, cumin, fennel) - Sticky, sweet, and spicy. I love wings and these were a different take.
Watermelon Pickle and Crispy Pork - one of their signature dishes, for good reason. The pork was great, the mild sweetness and crunch from the pickle went well with it - not a lot to say. Simple ingredients, well executed.

Our brief chat with the guy on the sidewalk resulted in a totally unexpected (and very generous) amuse being sent over before our dishes came out. We were each brought a generous splash of prosecco and a lovely bite of uni. I didn't see this going to any other tables, not sure why we were singled out, but it was certainly a nice surprise! He also stopped by our table to see how we were doing. Overall, the service was great. I have great respect for service staff who keep a good attitude while negotiating tight, noisy spaces. Our waiter was helpful and food came out as it was ready, as we had been told it would.

The couple at the table next to us had the chili crab, which I am definitely going to try next time - because I know I want to go back!


Don't be so sure you'll be trying that chili crab next time - they were out of it when I went.

Even though I went to the Upper West Side location (pretty much right across Broadway from Fairway), it sounds like we were in the same restaurant. Despite the neon website, and the second location, Fatty Crab has no more of a "chain feel" than Cowboy Cafe.

I walked in for an extremely late lunch (3 PM or so), and asked my server which two things I should try if I were to get an appetizer and an entree. 'I don't mean to overload you on pork,' he said, 'but ....'

Nursing a Singha ($7), I followed his recommendations to the letter.

Off the "Snacks" section, Steamed Pork Buns ($14) were wonderful, about as good as steamed pork buns can be. Absolutely steamed to order in an empty dining room, I don't know how I could have enjoyed these any more than I did. If you're sitting on the fence about these, get them.

From the "Fatty Specialties" section, I got the same Watermelon Pickle and Crispy Pork ($17) that Jackie ordered, and I was every bit as impressed as I was by the steamed pork buns. She described it perfectly: "One of their signature dishes, for good reason. The pork was great, the mild sweetness and crunch from the pickle went well with it - not a lot to say. Simple ingredients, well executed." That sums it up.

A very charming semi-dive that reminds me of absolutely nowhere in Washington, DC. The service was friendly, the atmosphere was comforting, and the food - even though it was limited in scope - was really good.

Boy was I misled by the look of their website - I really enjoyed this place.

Cheers,
Rocks

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#10 Mark Dedrick

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 02:01 PM

I agree with Don pretty much 100% here, my wife and I were commenting as we were finishing up that we didn't think there was a place in DC quite like Fatty Crab (and not just because we were dining next to two bit players from 30 Rock). We went to the West Village location. Very hip vibe, kind of divey, no pretension at all. Tiny spot, but while it definitely felt happening while we were there it never felt overcrowded. The Soft Shell Crabs were delicious, as was the Watermelon Pickle and Crispy Pork mentioned by several folks above. The Trumpet Mushrooms were fantastic, possibly our favorite thing we had on the night. The only thing close to a disappointment for us were the Jalan Alor Chicken Wings. I think I would have liked a bit more spice on them, but that's quibbling. Definitely enjoyed our experience.

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#11 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:13 AM

Went to the Village location yesterday afternoon to get some chili crabs. They only have dungies and I didn't want to eat a 2 lb crab myself as a mid-afternoon snack. So I ordered two fried softshell crabs, served with hot sauce and fish sauce. Nothing special - other than the price was $32 (marked as market price on the menu)

#12 DonRocks

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 12:17 AM

Even though I went to the Upper West Side location (pretty much right across Broadway from Fairway), it sounds like we were in the same restaurant. Despite the neon website, and the second location, Fatty Crab has no more of a "chain feel" than Cowboy Cafe.
...
A very charming semi-dive that reminds me of absolutely nowhere in Washington, DC. The service was friendly, the atmosphere was comforting, and the food - even though it was limited in scope - was really good.


I was sad to read tonight that the Upper West Side location of Fatty Crab has closed. :(

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