Jimmy T’s Holy Crab brings more raw bar to the desert. Chandler’s latest sports bar and casual eatery offers a new place to catch the game, enjoy a drink, and feast on an array of cooked and raw shellfish.
At Jimmy T's, live oysters are shucked to order. They are cut from their shells atop a stainless-steel counter covered in ice. Precooked shrimp, live clams, and live mussels are displayed near the oysters.
The selection of seafood at Jimmy T’s is also fresh, despite the distance to the nearest ocean. Owner Jimmy Tran receives deliveries of shrimp, oysters, and crabs from California and Washington State multiple times a week.
Blue Point oysters, which come from the East Coast, are sizeable. They have a briny and sweet flavor profile, a firm texture and freshness. A house-made vinegar-based hot sauce complements them well.
The rest of the menu is similar to what you would find at The Angry Crab or Joe’s Crab Shack. Jimmy T’s currently has a limited “launch menu” of shrimp, Cajun crawfish, snow crab legs, clams, and mussels. In the next couple of weeks, the restaurant will be expanding its menu, adding lobster, Dungeness crab, and King crab. Much of the simple seafood gets tossed in “Jimmy T’s Butter n’ Garlic Blend” and comes with a dipping sauce that ranges in heat from mild to "yikes."
Tran has been cooking since the age of 12. “I came here [to Arizona] at a young age from Vietnam,” Tran says. “I have no formal culinary training, I learned everything from just watching … and YouTube.”
He approaches customers at tables regularly. When he does, he often sports an ear-to-ear smile, eager to ensure guests’ dining experiences have been positive.
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An ocean-blue floor and the glow of the neon blue lights give the large dining area a modern look, and serve to drive home the nautical theme. Customers are seated at tables draped in white butcher paper. The indoor dining area seats about 200 patrons, and the patio seats another 100.
Seafood prices vary based on market price per pound. Yes, this can be frustrating.
A full bar offers local craft beers and domestic choices. Jimmy T’s also mixes up several specialty dessert cocktails. Jimmy T’s Holy Crab warrants a visit from landlocked eaters in the East Valley area, especially as temperatures rise and you need to find your beach.
Jimmy T's Holy Crab. 1050 West Ray Road, Chandler; 480-935-0991.
Monday to Thursday 4 to 9 p.m.; Friday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.