I've never been to the US, but our recent visit to Claw BBQ has somehow made me experience what's it like to be in their bars. Deviating from the upmarket hub of Souk Al Bahar, walking into Claw, complete with the overall southern shack vibe, made me feel like I wasn't in Dubai at all!
There is a juke box near the entrance, neon and vibrant lights plus other scattered paraphernalia, humorous novelty bar signs, and a bunch of US-related memorabilia hanging on the walls. Sports and fun activities are also offered for free; TVs showing sports matches surround the place, and at the far end of the restaurant, there are fun beer games like darts and beer pong, arcade games, and even a rodeo ride! Everything which denotes that we're about to have a fun night!
Mark and I were with our friends and we made them in charge of choosing our food that night. Claw's menu is extensive; featuring its crustacean namesake plus a bunch of other seafood dishes and American favorites.
We were a group of five, 3 of which are gym buffs, so I wasn't surprised when dishes and dishes started to come to our tables. We got prawns, chicken wings, and nachos for our starters. Perfect with some beer and margarita!
Nacho Libre - It came in a huge platter with a heaping serving tortilla chips topped with beef chili, cheese, jalapenos, tomatoes, olives, scallions, guacamole, and sour cream, plus some tomato salsa alongside. I've tasted far better nachos, but Claw's wasn't really that bad. More cheese would probably do the trick, well, at least for me. ;)
Buffalo Hot Wings - The usual fried chicken wings tossed in hot sauce, with celery and blue cheese dip. Was never really a fan of buffalo wings in general as I don't find the hot-spicy-sour taste combo appealing, and Claw's version wasn't an exemption.
The chicken maintained the crispy-skin-juicy-meat texture, though, so I can say that it's still all good. If there's one thing that I love about this dish, it would actually be the sides—celery dipped in blue cheese!
Buffalo Jumbo Shrimp - This is just like the Buffalo Hot Wings, except with battered fried shrimp this time. I love shrimps, but I just can't take the spiciness and sourness of the sauce. Celery and blue cheese still FTW! :p
Peel-N-Eat Shrimp - The moment these 1lb of shell-on shrimps were poured on to our table, it gave a whiff of the sea and deep south spices all in one. And boy, I knew I was sold!
The shrimps were steamed to perfection and seasoned just right; beaming with a combination of Claw's traditional cocktail sauce and drawn butter. A sprinkle of lemon gave it that perfect tang. I didn't mind getting down and dirty with its goodness, I ate it with my bare hands! Yum!
Each of us placed our favorites when it's time to order for mains. The boys had steaks and ribs, Kim went for the seafood bucket, while I opted for the classic hamburger.
Edmond and Billy both got steaks, served with mixed green salad, baked potato topped with butter and chives, along with sour cream on the side. I'm pretty sure the steaks were good as both boys seemed to be enjoying their every chew.
Smoked BBQ Ribs - Smoked pork ribs basted with Claw's very own sweet Kansas City style BBQ sauce, served up with a side of coleslaw and fries. I knew that Mark would get this when I saw it in the menu. He got the half rack but it was already big enough to be shared by two. Claw's menu says that the pork ribs were smoked for 8 hours, which explains its tender, fall of the bone goodness! If you're a fan of pork, this one shouldn't be missed!
Deluxe Seafood Steamer - this came in a bucket overflowing with king crab, snow crab, fresh mussels, fresh clams, and steamed shrimps, with corn on the cob. This one piles it high and gives you a taste of the best the sea has to offer. The ultimate seafood feast!
Mark and I haven't tried this one as much as we wanted as we let our guests enjoy its goodness. I got to try a bit of the king crab and it was so good! Might need to go back to Claw for this one!
Classic Hamburger - Fine grade beef cooked just the way you like it (had mine cooked well done), with lettuce, tomato, and onions, served on a toasted bun with a choice of french fries or sweet potato fries.
Apart from the engraved claw inscription on the potato bun, the burger was mediocre. Not the best burger that I've had, but still a decent one. The patty was juicy and I loved it's grilled flavor. Fresh veggies were also used which I can tell by their crunch. The spiced fries were okay too, but had I known that it can also come in sweet potato fries instead (I've known it just now when going over their menu), I would have went for the latter.
Smoked BBQ Chicken - Half chicken that's smoked and with the same BBQ flavors with the pork ribs, served with baked potato and baked beans. This came to our table by mistake, the server thought we ordered chicken instead of pork. We had it sent back to the kitchen but they were generous to have us try this one too. We already had so much, so we just decided to have it packed for take away.
We also had desserts for sharing. Mark chose brownie and cheesecake, and Kim suggested that we get the Sundae Overload. Among the desserts, the New York Cheesecake was Mark's top pick. One of the best cheesecakes that I've tried, if I may add. The slice was big enough for sharing too, so price seems reasonable.
The fudge brownie was also good but a tad too sweet for my liking, but I love how the vanilla ice cream kinda tamed the sweetness down.
The Sundae Overload wowed us all! It's nothing short of the usual banana split—with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice creams, plus bananas, strawberries, and fudge brownie chunks, topped with whipped cream, cherries, and chocolate syrup. What makes it stand out is its size. It came in a humongous martini glass! If I remember it right, it has 12 scoops of ice cream. The biggest sundae in the city, as what Claw claims.
What I also love about it is that it wasn't that sweet at all. Considering its size and just by the looks of it, one might think that it's overly sweet, but it's not really the case. Not sure if Claw makes their own ice cream, but I love how it's not too sweet.
Saying that we enjoyed the night would be an understatement. Apart from the food, though there's nothing really spectacular with some of the dishes, the service is also commendable. I love the energy radiating from our server, Sherminator. He's also well versed with the menu and was enthusiastic in giving recommendations too. The ambience also completes the overall lively vibe. There was a game that time and even though I'm not really familiar with it, it was hard not to get into the Superbowl Spirit as the crowd cheers for their teams.
Although prices may be a bit of a stretch especially with the taste of food not at par for some of the dishes, the staff's hospitality, the buzzing ambience, and the sense of fun of having to share a good time with friends over food and drinks are what I liked about this restaurant. Maybe if they tame down the prices a bit or maybe up their game and improve the taste of some of their dishes, Claw will definitely be a huge player in Dubai's nightlife scene.
CLAW BBQ CRABSHACK & GRILL
Level 3, Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 (0)4 432 2300
Love it? Pin it!
We were invited by Claw BBQ and our meal was complimentary, but as always, this post is sincerely written and all opinions are my own.