• Mike Sula
  • Sorrier crabs ye shall never see, Cy’s King Crab Oyster Bar & Grill.

For all the restaurants I went to this spring and summer, I somehow failed to eat any soft-shell crabs, a situation I was certain would lead to some sort of eldritch curse, like my skin sloughing off and revealing a hard, plated carapace. Soft, juicy molted crabs only skitter around without their exoskeletons from about April to September, so when Lincoln Park’s 33-year-old King Crab Tavern shed its own shell and moved to River West under the convoluted new name of Cy’s King Crab Oyster Bar & Grill, I took my chance before it was too late.

Cy’s, now in the old Red Canary space, brought over pretty much the same menu it had on Lincoln Avenue Halsted. It’s basically like an independent Red Lobster, with lots of low-grade seafood: crab, shrimp, scallops, lobster, prepared every way imaginable, plus pasta, steaks, and ribs. And herbed pita chips in lieu of cheddar biscuits.

The soft-shells, served fried, blackened, sauteed, or tempura battered, come four for $24.95, with a choice of baked potato, fries, rice, or garlic bread. I chose teriyaki vegetables, a bad bet since it seemed like they’d been hijacked from the walk-in freezer at an assisted living facility. The crabs were a sorry lot too, tiny, manky little things that couldn’t take on a shrimp in a pincer fight.

  • Mike Sula
  • Mixed shrimp, Cy’s King Crab Oyster Bar & Grill

Well, maybe they could outmuscle the shrimp on Cy’s $23.95 four-way shrimp platter, each of which had been butterflied and brutally murdered, whether it was on the grill, in the fryer, in the sautee pan, or by suffocation in the same vaguely crabby bread filler thrust into the $9.95 stuffed mushroom appetizer.

One nice thing about Cy’s is the lovely, verdant back patio, especially when a particular older staffer, clad in a dapper black pin-striped suit, floats around assisting female customers with troublesome crab claws.

Cy’s King Crab Oyster Bar & Grill, 695 N. Milwaukee, 312-280-8990

This post was amended to reflect that the restaurant’s original location was on Halsted, not Lincoln.