New to town, this restaurant has a lot of cool vibe surrounding it. I’d never been to a ‘seafood boil’ before, but I guess this is a pretty traditional way of eating a whole lot of seafood.
The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, and it’s a fairly small space, so be prepared to wait. We were told our wait would be up to 40 minutes but we were seated within 20. Don’t wear long sleeves… Don’t wear white clothes. In short – be prepared to get messy! You’re seated at a table covered with brown paper. There’s a plastic bib and plastic gloves at each seat (yes, you’ll want to wear the bib). The plastic gloves sometimes got in the way of things so one of my friends eventually took them off. My gloves got holes poked in them so the inside was almost as gross as the outside, but I still left them on.
Between the three of us, we ordered water, pop, and beer to drink. It all came in disposable cups… sigh… so much waste! If you order rice, they bring you out paper bowls and wooden spoons to eat it with, but otherwise you’re eating with your hands.
The menu was pretty simple to understand – pick your seafood, pick your sauce, and pick your level of spice.
We can really pack away the food so we ordered:
Crawfish, 1 lb ($26) – Captain’s Boil seasoning, medium heat
Shrimp, 1 lb ($18) – Lemon Pepper seasoning, medium heat
Shrimp, 1 lb ($18) – Captain’s Boil seasoning, medium heat
Clams, 1 lb ($20) – Cajun seasoning, mild heat
Mussels, 1 lb ($16) – Garlic seasoning, medium heat
Steamed Rice ($2)
Cajun Seafood Fried Rice ($14)
2 corn & 1 potato ($2 each)
Yes, it seems like a lot of food, but remember the shells weigh a lot.
Here’s my synopsis:
All the seafood is boiled – it’s plain. It’s the sauce in the plastic bag that adds all the flavour. Take the shell off the seafood then dip the seafood back into the bag to get some of the sauce or else it will taste bo-ring! The potato – pick your favourite sauce and dip it in it (so good!). The mussels come with just one shell (nice) and the clams had all fallen out of their shell (ok, at least it was easy to pull all the shells out of the bag and know just how much clam meat you have available to share). I actually found all the seafood to be tough – everything was overcooked. People have shared on social media that this is the best seafood place in Calgary! Meh… it’s good, but it’s really more of an experience than anything… it’s certainly not the best seafood I’ve ever had.
Crawfish – It was my first time eating these little buggers and I can’t say I’ll ever need to do it again. It’s way too much work to get that tiny little bit of meat out of that nasty shell. I’d rather pay someone else to take the meat out of the shell, or better yet, just give me a lobster tail. I had two of these and let my friends eat all the rest.
Lemon Pepper seasoning – Meh. I wasn’t a fan.
Cajun seasoning – Delish! I wish I could purchase this sauce and take it home (we asked and nope, it’s in the franchise agreement that they can’t sell it). The server warned us to get the cajun sauce ‘mild’ rather than ‘medium’ because it’s already spicy… and she was right. Even though my friends love spice, the mild version still had some kick to it.
Captain’s Boil seasoning – This is a combination of all the flavours together. It was pretty good. I would get it again.
Garlic seasoning – This was definitely garlicky! They use a garlic paste to make the sauce – if you worry about garlic breath then don’t get this one. It was really good with the mussels and would be good with any of the seafood options.
The Cajun Seafood Fried Rice was really good. I added even more kick to it by spooning over some of the cajun sauce; it made my nose run and the back of my throat tingle (but in a good way). I took home just a little bit of leftover rice and it was good warmed up the next day.
I think The Captain’s Boil is a great experience to share with friends or family and for the days when you feel like getting down and dirty. Would I say it’s a great seafood restaurant? No, but I would definitely go back again.
My biggest gripe: So. Much. Waste. Paper table wrap, plastic bibs, plastic gloves, plastic bags (biodegradable), paper bowls, wooden spoons, plastic and styrofoam cups…. IF they could separate the food waste for city compost collection nd use compostable dishes I’d be happier… but this is a very plastic driven, environmentally unfriendly approach to feeding people. Biodegradable plastic doesn’t mean much in the scheme of things… If they could move towards glass (washable) cups/mugs and porcelain bowls for the rice, I’d be much more supportive of the concept.