It has been a while since I visited Captain’s Boil, the seafood restaurant, set to a nautical theme, heavily decorated with knotted rope. They specialize in seafood boils where you pick, pull, and crack shellfish with your hands for a more primal dining experience.
Given the laxing of restrictions, many restaurants have been reintroducing themselves, and I was invited to revisit Captain’s Boil, deciding that their Robson location was most convenient. We were invited to try their new promotional Captain’s Platter for $99.99, but it was actually out of the budget, therefore we decide to pick and choose a little from each menu category to get reacquainted. Although in hindsight this probably would have been the best deal. A pound each of headless shrimp, mussels, clams, snow crab legs, two pieces of corn, and a potato.
Whereas majority of your seafood options are market price, that do get updated daily. Therefore be expected to spend if you want the full experience and go a la carte. The most coveted seafood being lobster, snow crab legs, king crab legs, Dungeness crab, crawfish, shrimp, mussels, and clams. They even have chicken slices for those who are not fans of shellfish.
Intentionally trying to keep our costs down, yet leave full, we decided to invest in a couple of the boil options, given that is their staple; and supplement it with a couple of sides, including carbs.
We started with the Mix and and match combo and choose calm and mussel over shrimp (we would get shrimp as a side instead) and the chicken slices (which seems out of place in a seafood boil). Each order comes with corn, potato, and steamed rice (only realizing now that we never got the steamed rice). The vegetables above will be added in with the seafood, all coated in a sauce/seasoning of your choice. For this we went with their name sake Captain’s Boil flavour, a combination of all the 3 other flavours mixed together, for the most flavour. A little bit of lemon garlic, regular garlic, and Cajun. And then finally you pick the heat level: non spicy, mild, medium, or fire. We went mild for both to be able to taste the sauce and self regulate the heat.
Just realizing now as I am writing my review that not only did we not get the side of rice, we also missed out on the potatoes, it was just a sea of shells and two pieces of corn chopped from one cob.
The mussel and clams were delicious, there were plenty of each for two grown women. The shells did well to help gather and keep all the flavour. And I did enjoy using my hands to primordially pick meat from mollusk.
As for the corn, it was the worst boiled corn I have ever had, and because of it, we really missed the potatoes that we didn’t get in this. The corn was old, the kernels weren’t juicy, just gritty. But to not waste food I begrudgingly ate it all anyways.
Luckily we upgraded to premium sides for our second seafood boil item below and fully enjoyed the other two upgraded sides we got.
For our second seafood boil item we decided on the crawfish, after realizing the lobster or any of the various variety of crab legs would be $40-60 an order (market price value on the day we visited). Crawfish are were like baby lobsters, you get the sensation of breaking into its claws and tail, but with way less meat when you eventually do.
For this order we went with the lemon pepper flavour which was lemon zest mixed with black pepper. It did well to highlight the crawfish, which we surprisingly got quite a bit of meat out of. After you snap the body in two, you slurp out the guts from the top half and peel back the shell to review the tail, which is the most substantial piece you will get from this.
But the premium sides were definitely the highlight. You basically pay $3.99 to be able to choose broccoli, sausage, okra, or lotus root instead of the potato and corn. Otherwise each individual premium add on is $7.99. I wanted more vegetables so went with the okra and my guest wanted the lotus root. Both of which offered more substantial bites and a different texture to gnaw on.
We poured both orders out over the parchment paper, pre-laid across the table. Then dawning the plastic gloves provided, went to town with hand feeding mouth.
As for separate side, we went with the Shrimp basket with Cajun fries, feeling that this would be a safe bet. Breaded shrimp served atop of lightly seasoned fries. Both of which were pretty standard and needed a dunk in the tartar sauce and ketchup respectively for taste.
The captain’s seafood fried rice was extremely disappointing. It was dry and bland. I was expecting something saucier and closer to a paella considering the colours and all the other Cajun notes they been hitting thus far. As it was, it didn’t even serve well as a base to the boil. Instead, it only deterred from the quality of ingredients above.
In summary: I like the concept, I love the nautical decor, I just wish the food was as consistent, and the pricing more in line within a regular day to day visit. Not to mention they no longer give out their captain and first mate styled bibs to guests.
The Captain’s Boil
1487 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6G 1C1