A walk along the Malecón (boardwalk) in Progreso, be it early in the morning, during a day trip with friends, or when the sky is about to offer a spectacular sunset; any of these is the perfect prelude to enjoying the coastal menu at Crabster.
Six years after the opening of Crabster Progreso, the Malecón is inconceivable without them; without its details in bright pink and turquoise blue, its friendly waiters and, of course, its delicious combination of surf and turf with a “super charming” presentation. Funny, since the executive chef, Christian Bravo, says that “the first few days people passed by and thought we were insane.” You have to understand: the Malecón was entirely different back then. Crabster was a true innovator in the area: fresh, modern, without falling into excessive elegance. It totally stood out.
Their dishes’ plating reminded us of the styles of big cities, like Miami or New York. Crabster was the first place in Yucatán to serve tacos in a stainless-steel W and, in some cases, a wooden base in the shape of a fish or crab. Unheard of! “I’m sure we took the Malecón to a level that didn’t exist,” Jorge Villanueva, Marketing Manager for the restaurants, says with a smile.
Currently, Crabster has two restaurants. The aforementioned in Progreso and a sister location in Paseo 60, just around the corner from Paseo de Montejo; both are a perfect place to either start or finish an outing. Both have that unique flavor of fresh fish and shellfish, with a Yucatecan twist; Crabster Paseo 60 also offers an irresistible pizza menu at night. This location is perfect for anyone in Mérida who wants to feel at the beach without having to go all the way out there.
Crabster’s dishes, like no other
“Ceviches are easy to make, but we try to give them a personality, to set them up differently,” says chef Bravo. For him, it is a matter of dedicating a few more moments to the dish; giving them more love. Just as their ceviche is unique, the rest of its dishes – made with local products – will make you fall in love as soon as you set your eyes on them. I wouldn’t blame you if you think they’re too pretty to eat.
Their menu is very robust; if you’re like me, these chef recommendations will be a lifesaver. Let’s start with the Aguachile Maya, iconically black. Yes, you read right; this aguachile has black Recado (made with smoked chiles) and marinated shrimp and sea snail. Christian likes the Crabster Carpaccio; 50% tuna and 50% salmon, served with Ponzu habanero sauce. If you are a fan of traditional crab claws, Crabster offers them with a twist, as they’re served hot. Are you craving shrimp? Try their Crispy Crabster, served with a scrumptious blue cheese sauce. And for hamburger lovers, like me, the Craby Burger is an explosion of flavors that is also a staple of the restaurant because of its delicious minced shrimp, grilled crab meat, and fluffy freshly-made bread.
If you are not a fan of shellfish or fish, or have some type of allergy, try their pasta with truffle sauce, Parmesan, grilled chicken, and mushrooms. “That pasta is a journey,” says Jorge Villanueva.
Mixology and your dessert at the table
In addition to complementing the dishes, Crabster’s mixology is “a show at the table.” It is quite an experience, because they take the cart to the table and prepare the drink in front of you. For example, the carajillo – my favorite cocktail – is mixed in a shaker and served in a cute glass that has a marshmallow to accompany the drink.
Desserts are also served at your table; in this case, on a tray that might as well have a sign that says “eat me”. They are irresistible; your server will tell you what each of the desserts on the tray is, but by then you will already be more than in love with them, and will probably have made your mind up already. Be sure never to put off trying them! They renew them from time to time.
Meet the chef
Christian Bravo is 41 years old and has more than 20 years of experience cooking professionally. He has traveled to different cities and countries, including a season in Europe, where he had the opportunity to cook in restaurants with two and three Michelin stars. Representing Crabster, he has traveled to gastronomic festivals and industry events, such as Millesime (2019), the top gastronomy event in Mexico. In addition, Chef Bravo has served as a gastronomic ambassador in France, England, Bolivia, Argentina, and Belgium. Christian Bravo is currently executive chef at Crabster and its sister restaurants.
Editorial by Olivia Camarena Cervera
Yucatecan communicologist. Your favorite Assistant Editor. Writer, blogger, and bookstagrammer in her spare time. She also experiments with TikTok.
Photography by Crabster for use in Yucatán Today.
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