Last week, I took a much-needed break from writing on Hal 2000, my mind-of-its-own computer, brewed a cup of Harrod’s afternoon tea and settled in to watch the erudite Anthony Bourdain travel up the Hudson River.
He met up with a group of fishermen who set crab traps in the Hudson River. Bourdain and his newfound buddies hoisted up the cages and discovered lunch was a few moments away.
I had no idea blue crabs live in the Hudson River. I thought they lived in the Chesapeake Bay. As I watched the men hack away, I told my sister “I have to have hard-shells and a glass of beer for dinner.”
Crabs, with or without spaghetti, are a South Philly summer staple. I wracked my brain and came up with an inspired choice. Bomb Bomb BBQ Grill and Italian Restaurant, famous for its ribs, was able to grant my wish.
Bomb Bomb was one of the first restaurants I reviewed when I joined the paper. The ribs were outrageously delicious. Edward and I sipped jumbo martinis ($10) and tried to decide what he would have for dinner. My mind was already made up.
We began dinner with a lovely stack of fresh mozzarella layered with slabs of juicy, filled with flavor, ripe Jersey tomatoes topped with snipped basil and bathed in olive oil and lemon juice ($8.95). This starter was summer on a plate.
A cool seafood salad ($13.95) consisted of calamari, small shrimp and scallops atop a bed of crisp greens with pitted black olives and Jersey tomato wedges. I thought the salad lacked seasoning, so a bit of salt and pepper pepped it up.
Our server, who was aided by a young, absolutely delightful recent Roman Catholic High graduate, gave me a light plastic bib, a pile of paper towels, a few extra napkins, a pair of lobster crackers and a plate for the shells that swiftly led me into battle.
Three jumbo hard-shells ($10) sat on an oval plate. Our busboy brought me a cocktail fork for easy claw and body digging. Oh, be still my heart. The crabs were simply steamed and not one iota overcooked. The meat was sweet and cool. I just squeezed on some lemon juice and was content for the rest of the night.
I do not mind getting dirty eating hard-shells. I do not mind that it takes an hour or so to pick and eat them. Edward is not nuts about this as I am. So he asked our server if the chef could make him a fried seafood combination platter ($17.95) with tartar sauce, French fries and coleslaw. The chef fried some shrimp and included a crab cake with a pile of fried calamari ($8) on the side. The squid was salty to our taste but Edward liked everything else on the plate. The tartar sauce could have been homemade and the French fries were golden and piping hot.
We shared a glass of Flying Fish Summer Ale on tap ($4) because hard-shells without beer is like — you fill in the blank.
Bomb Bomb was nearly filled to capacity during dinner. Two large platters of cioppino along with a plate of linguine with clams made me think we have to bring Sandy here. The aromas wafted right to our table.
And how about the restaurant’s famous ribs? We bought a rack to go ($22) for dinner the next night. Once home, I snuck a piece and was back in culinary heaven, just as I had experienced it when I devoured the hard-shell crabs.
Three tips of the toque to Bomb Bomb BBQ Grill and Italian Restaurant. SPR
1026 Wolf St.
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