A Sandwich a Day: Crispy Soft Shell Crab at Japonais

A Sandwich a Day

Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.


The first thing you'll notice about this sandwich is that it has legs. This isn't a bunch of crab mashed into a nice patty for your sandwich pleasure. It's an entire soft shell crab, and it's a gem on Japonais's sushi-heavy menu.

The crispy soft shell crab sandwich ($14) tastes just how an entire living creature should: fresh. Take away the wow factor, and the truth is only about 50 percent of your bites have crab in them. But the crab you do get is worth it. It's soft on the inside with a thin but crispy shell, which breaks off easily. While presented nicely balanced on the bun, you'll end up having to use your knife and fork by the end (which in my opinion adds to the raw nature of tearing apart a whole animal at lunch).

The wasabi mayo and pickled veggies in the shallot escabeche give a great combination of spicy and vinegar flavor. The avocado and mayo together make it super creamy, almost excessively so, but the crab is good enough for me not to care too much.


600 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago IL 60610 (map)