Claws is an upbeat, noisy restaurant. Of course, it is a beachy crab house with a busy bar and people hammering on innocent crustaceans, drinking beer and having fun. In a previous incarnation of this review, I complained about some terrible service we received on two occasions. But that was a while ago and is hopefully ancient history at Claws. If our most recent experiences are to be believed, that is no longer an issue. Post your own experiences below.
This season we started with the Claws Crab Dip (though we do miss the Crabby Abby Crab Pretzel!). It was creamy and hot and served with crispy bagel chips. Another tasty appetizer was the Oysters Asiago. They came to the table hot with a spinach topping. The oysters were rather small on our platter, but we suspect that's not the SOP there at Claws, as others we observed were more regulation-size.
Of course you can never go wrong with a Cobb Salad, and Claws' is quite good — and very generous — with avocado, bacon and all the standard stuff. Soups tend to rotate there, but if they have the Maryland Crab Soup, get it. The old preparation was different and was similar to a covered in cheese like French Onion broth, but this version is a lot more traditional and nicely aromatic of Old Bay.
On a couple of our earlier visits, the fried oysters were hot, crunchy and crispy (like they always are at Fins), except on one recent visit they arrived soggy and mushy and room temperature. This happened a couple of years ago, and we were sad to see it again. We have chosen to chalk that up to an aberration too. The person who ordered them as a main course was thoroughly disappointed.
On the other hand, I can't say enough good things about the Lobster Roll (lobster chunks in a light dressing with tiny bits of celery–worth every penny). The newer version seems to be made in a more basic way and is delicious with just celery and spices. We also loved the Fried Flounder Sandwich. It was crispy and worked well on the fresh roll.
Though not the best in town, Claws' Crab Cakes are definitely among the best. I love them fried, as the crust makes for a nice mouth feel. The Lobster & Crab Specials have become a tradition at Claws, and all the feedback we get is positive. The Lobster Bake (priced at market) includes a 1.25 lb marine arachnid, a half dozen clams, shrimp, corn on the cob and potatoes to keep the happy creature company. You can add a side to that as well. Not that you're going to run out of food….
I will say that Claws' hushpuppies continue to trail behind two other restaurants in town that serve excellent hushpuppies. Claws' are just too sweet, and not … “corny” (for lack of a better word) enough. I love corn fritters, which are supposed to be sweet. But I suggest going for another side if you're looking for a more traditional hushpuppy.
Claws is in downtown Rehoboth Beach at 167 Rehoboth Avenue, on the north side just east of the Post Office. They have limited hours in the off-season, so be sure to call 302-227-2529. Click here for the seafood menu at Claws. (L. (in season), D., Bar) Price range: Moderate +.