If in the mood to have a fun night in town, you know that Claw BBQ is the right choice, when you see groups of high-spirited people spread throughout the restaurant. That too on a Monday night!
This throng might have something to do with the garrulous ambience of the diner, which exemplifies everything that an American sports bar stands for – from colourful paraphernalia in the form of starand-stripes flag to fairy lights and fishing nets enveloping the walls and ceiling. The interior was made livelier with quirky slogans and neon signs plastering the walls, an in-house Rodeo style mechanical bull and of course, the all-American jukebox in a corner.
This crab shack-meets-sports-bar-meets-bistro offers an attractive menu. Actually strike that; it has a vast menu of drinks that may lead you into a state of confusion on what to order. I ordered the Frozen Strawberry Margarita (AED 30), a tangy and sweet beverage that was predictably refreshing and welcome in Dubai’s muggy summer. My companion claimed that her alcoholic Peach Iced Tea (AED 30), was delicious albeit a bit on the stronger side.
TO HELL WITH WAIST WATCHING!
We commenced our meal with the Jalapeno Poppers (AED 45) that were served with a tangy and spicy ranchero sauce. We wished the menu came with a disclaimer that these bite sized snacks were irresistible as we could not stop biting into them, even though every bite into the crispy and thin golden crust with hot cheese oozing into our mouths, instantly took us on a calorie-laden guilt trip.
On our server’s suggestion, we decided to try what he said was the dish that had the whole of Dubai raving – the Buffalo Hot Wings (AED 65). Served alongside some celery and blue cheese dip, it didn’t seem particularly enticing, but we think the reason people dig these fried chicken wings is the succulence of the meat that is well complemented by the hot sauce it is tossed in.
Claw’s menu has the standard bar fare that you would find at most American beach fronts, comprising burgers, sandwiches, grills and of course, the seafood – lots and lots of seafood. As our eyes crossed the sea fare section, we decided to indulge in the signature Snow Crab Bucket (AED 240). Now eating this is like a feat – from the act of the waitresses tying plastic bibs on to us, to explaining the use of various metal tools, to trying to use these implements to break through the shells of the crustaceans and get to the meat – it is an adventure! And the result is fresh and flavorsome white meat that truly tastes of the ocean – something that can only be tasted and cannot be truly described however hard you try.
Buoyed by this culinary thrill, I decided to shift gears to Chilli Lime Chicken Sizzling Fajitas (AED 90), and wished I hadn’t. The flour tortillas were not warm, while the chicken had neither a hint of chilli nor lime on it and was flavorless. The Baja Fish Tacos (AED 70), one of Claw’s specialty, shone in comparison. The two batter fried fish fillets were crisp on the outside but retained the moistness of the meat within and the seasoning did nothing to obscure its mild flavour.
If you are a spud-lover, like me, then you should try the Loaded Baked Potato (AED 28). It will reach your table, piping hot, deliciously cheesy and with an overload of sour cream and bacon – sure, it is greasy, but that is what treadmills were invented for, after all!
For desserts (yes, we did manage to save some space for that too) we shared a Banana Burrito, where we struggled to cut through the tortilla, but thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate sauce combined with the fruity filling.
Service at Claw can be a little slow, but it does not get on your nerves, as long as the music from the jukebox suits your taste. You can also use the time to take in the views of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai fountains as well as the energetic vibe of the place. And if lacking the gumption to try the bucking mechanical bull there is a good chance you will get your bellyful of laughs from someone sporting enough to try to stay atop it!