Each week we venture to a new restaurant to check out what the spot has to offer during our favorite time of day — happy hour. Whether it's affordable appetizers, delicious drinks, jaw-dropping deals, or none of the above, we'll check out the situation and report back.
The Spot: Angry Crab & BBQ
2808 East Indian School Road
The Hours: Happy hour is 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at the bar and hightops only
Perfect for: An affordable surf 'n' turf meal
Inside: Angry Crab & BBQ in Phoenix is the second restaurant (of several more to come) from the folks behind Angry Crab Shack in Mesa, a popular East Valley spot that's known for its Southern-style seafood boils. When you think "seafood boil," you probably picture plastic bibs, metal buckets, and generally messy eating — and that's exactly what you get at both the original and the second locations. It's not the classiest place you could belly up to the bar for happy hour. But you didn't come here for class. You came here for discounted seafood and beer.
The Food: During happy hour, Angry Crab & BBQ offers five food options for $6 each: BBQ Pork Sliders, a Clam-mari Basket, ACQ Kettle Chips, Angry Wangs, and Shrimp Cocktail. As tempting as the ACQ Kettle Chips (chips covered in BBQ meat and coleslaw) sounded, we went for the Clam-mari Basket, a mix of clams and calamari, and the sliders.
Both arrived quickly and hot. Like, really hot. We waited impatiently until the deep-fried strips of clam and calamari cooled to a semi-reasonable temperature and then dug in. The basket included plenty of seafood to share between two diners, and though the calamari was fried a little darker than we would have liked, we enjoyed dipping every last piece into the nose-clearingly spicy cocktail sauce. Made with a healthy dose of horseradish, Angry Crab's cocktail sauce "hurt so good," as Mr. John Cougar Mellencamp might say.
The BBQ Pork Sliders were also satisfying, if messy. Two little buns came loaded with sauce-soaked BBQ pork, coleslaw, and an onion ring. The moist meat played nicely with the crunchy slaw and fried onion, but we could hardly pick it up and take a bite without having everything spill out of the bun. Perhaps those plastic bibs shouldn't just be reserved for seafood diners.
On the upside, the pair of sliders came with a heaping pile of Cajun fries. Crisp on the outside and soft inside, these deep-fried potatoes couldn't be resisted.
The Drinks: Happy hour drink deals at Angry Crab include: $2 Bud Light and Coors Light drafts; $4 craft drafts; $3 bottles, cans, house wines, and well drinks; $5 premium wines, $6 American Harvest Mules, $4 Deep Eddy cocktails, and $20 bottles of wine. In short, there's really something for everyone.
We went with a cold Stella Artois and a Gator Bite, which featured Deep Eddy Lemon, Crystal Hot sauce, and a "Kajun rim." Unfortunately, though we liked the cocktail, we were informed when we received the bill that "Deep Eddy cocktails" doesn't include cocktails on the restaurant's list of specialty drinks that are made with Deep Eddy. Our drink was therefore full price, or $8, during happy hour, but a Deep Eddy Lemon with soda would have been $4.
Conclusion: We found the whole Deep Eddy snafu a little confusing, but overall the value at Angry Crab's happy hour is definitely there. One of the food options makes a moderately sized meal for a single diner (though not a particularly healthy one) and the deals on beer and wine can't be beat.
Don't Miss: The Clam-mari Basket
Skip This: Any of the restaurant's specialty cocktails