Despite what year-round "spider" crab sushi rolls might tell you, soft shell crabs are a highly seasonal item, available in very limited quantity, especially on the West Coast. Supplies of these freshly molted crabs, a product of Chesapeake Bay shellfish, are usually exhausted by July, so order them up anywhere you see them. We recommend you take this list of Bay Area restaurants serving soft shells, and squeeze in as many dishes as humanely possible in the next few weeks.
SoMa's RN74 (301 Mission St.) has a crispy soft shell with ginger-celery leaf remoulade on its lunch and dinner menus, and at the bar there's a soft shell crab sandwich with oven-roasted tomatoes, caper aioli and Old Bay fries.
At Fifth Floor (12 Fourth St.) David Bazirgan has a soft shell crab po' boy served with yuzu aioli and housemade kimchi on a Firebrand bun. Get it with a pint of Scrimshaw Pilsner and a shot of Jameson 12-year for $25 at the bar.
In the Mission at Range (842 Valencia St.), there is a soft-shell crab with roasted apriums, basil and hazelnuts available for dinner.
Chef Mitch Rosenthal is cooking a cornmeal-fried soft shell crab with pork belly, paprika and corn chowder at Town Hall (342 Howard St.).
Both Woodhouse Fish Company (1914 Fillmore St.) menus are currently enjoying the CBLT: a fresh Maryland soft-shell crab BLT made with Dailies applewood smoked bacon, lemon aioli and micro arugula.
At Bardessono in Yountville, restaurant Lucy (6526 Yount St.) offers a soft shell crab sandwich on a housemade sesame seed bun. The meat is wrapped in a vibrant aioli, turbo-charged with wasabi and fava beans grown in the on-site garden.
Prospect (300 Spear St.) is serving a cormeal-crusted soft shell with yellow doll watermelon, serrano chili vinaigrette, and charred scallion aioli.
Did you eat something with soft shell crabs elsewhere? Add it to the list by letting us know in the comments.