By Andrea Adleman
Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011
Free from the confines of brick-and-mortar structure, local food trucks are known to take creative liberties with the queen's English. Summer upstart Feelin' Crabby has brought some new nouns to town as it summons crabivores to lunch on a crabwich.
The crab sandwich is the centerpiece of Feelin' Crabby's simple menu. Chef-owner Alex Tsamouras dresses the crab with lemon juice, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, Old Bay seasoning, diced red bell pepper and parsley.
A five-ounce portion of the balanced, refreshing blend is spooned onto a kaiser roll or mixed green salad ($11).
"I created the recipe to highlight the crab," said Tsamouras, 23. "There's no filler and no dominating flavor."
To control costs, Tsamouras uses a combination of premium Maryland jumbo lump and Indonesian blue crab, both sourced from ProFish.
Chips and drinks round out the menu. A bag of crab chips is the pure thematic choice, but other chip options are available ($1). Drinks include canned sodas ($1) and house-made Arnold Palmers, lemonade and iced tea ($2).
Emblazoned with a fiery palette of reds and oranges, the truck grabs attention with its bold design. Cartoonlike crabs with attitude assume varied personas, from an energetic chef to a flirty blonde to a tough-shelled action hero.
An aspiring restaurant owner, Tsamouras launched the truck in June after stints as a server and cook in area restaurants. He prepared salads at the Wine Market in Baltimore and worked the saute station at Cava Mezze on Capitol Hill. He spent six months at Lola, a Seattle restaurant by respected celebrity chef Tom Douglas, before returning to town to open Feelin' Crabby.
"Crab is one of those things that can be overpriced at restaurants, and maybe the quality isn't great," said Tsamouras, a College Park resident. "I'm bringing quality crab to D.C."
Customers are generally agreeing with Tsamouras. In what is billed as a testimonial video on the Feelin' Crabby Web site, the opening-day lunch crowd praises the crab sandwiches. The truck has drawn inevitable comparisons with lobster rolls from that other mobile seafood purveyor. While noting that the crab sandwiches and salads are less expensive than lobster rolls, a number of customers say the crab tastes better, too.
To inspire return visits, Feelin' Crabby has a frequent-buyer card worth free chips and drinks after five crabwich purchases.