Our first night in Cuenca was over four years ago. We had visited twice before moving, but I’m thinking now about the first night here after permanently moving from the U.S. Our apartment had a bed and a refrigerator and not much else, so going out to eat was an easy decision. The Red Crab (web site here) was only a few blocks from our apartment so we decided to go there.
Later, we walked home after enjoying a very good seafood dinner. It was about 7:00 or 8:00 in the evening and the weather was pleasantly warm with a slight breeze. As we walked along Luis Moreno Mora, a lovely tree lined street, I remember thinking that moving to Cuenca might just have been a good idea.
It’s hard to believe that it has been over four years since we arrived. I’m happy to say that moving here still seems to have been a good idea. And over that time we have returned to Red Crab periodically for celebrations or when we felt like treating ourselves.
Our most recent visit was several days ago. We had not been there for what seemed like some time and so decided to go on the spur of the moment. We arrived a little early for lunch by Ecuadoran standards (about 12:30) and so had our choice of seats.
Lunch started off with two glasses of white wine (sauvignon blanc, but I forget the vineyard) and appetizers. M. started with crab and onion crab soup. It is similar to French onion soup, but with less cheese and plenty of crab meat added. She said it was delicious.
My appetizer was tropical shrimp, which consisted of breaded shrimp topped with small pieces of fruit (strawberry and mango) and diced green peppers. These flavors went well together and I enjoyed it. The last time I had this dish, there was also a small bit of hot pepper in the breading. It was not really hot, but there was just enough pepper to give a little tang, which went very well with the sweetness of the fruit. There was no hot pepper this time and I missed the contrast between hot and sweet, but still enjoyed the dish.
We both selected gratin dishes for the main course. Mine was corvina covered with a mild white cheese. Between the fish and the cheese was a layer of creamy sauce rich in crab meat. The whole was served on a bed of mashed potatoes. The flavor was mild, but rich. M. chose the same thing, but with shrimp instead of corvina.
Dessert was tiramisu and sponge cake with a scoop of ice cream. Both desserts were quite good. I especially enjoyed the moistness of the sponge cake.
After dessert we arrived at the grand finale of the meal: Sambuca con moscas. “Con moscas” (it literally means “with flies”) humorously refers to the coffee beans in the drink. A Sambuca con moscas always has three coffee beans. They are supposed to represent health, wealth and happiness. I’ll drink to that.
As a final flourish, the waiter lit the small snifter of sambuca and swirled the flaming drink in his hand for a few moments before serving. The warm, sweet, anise-flavored drink brought the meal to a flamboyant and satisfying end.
A meal at Red Crab is not cheap. In fact, it is rather expensive by Ecuadoran standards, but if you love fresh seafood and have a special occasion to celebrate (or just plain feel like it), I recommend you consider Red Crab.
Red Crab has restaurants in Guayaquil and Samborondón as well as in Cuenca.
The crab image used in the first illustration was adapted from a picture in wikimedia commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Annales_des_sciences_naturelles_(1853)_(18204939745).jpg#file).