Crab cakes are something straight out of Ruth Reichl’s autobiography Comfort Me with Apples. In chapter two (The Success Machine), she takes lump crabmeat, mixes it up with breadcrumbs and a host of other good things, forms the mixture into patties, and fries the lot up in a lot of butter. Reichl cooks these cakes in a fit of pique; worried sick that she doesn’t know what’s up with her then-husband (artist Douglas Hollis) who’s always away doing projects and who, alas, doesn’t seem to want to properly settle down and have children. It’s a situation that seriously warrants luxurious, decadent, fattening, but so-comforting dishes such as proper Baltimore-style crab cakes.
While my own emotional state isn’t at all that rosy at the moment, I have not been prompted into cooking crab cakes at home. Things aren’t that bad (well, not at the moment, knock on wood!), but a case of the blues calls for stodgy, tasty things. Probably not the healthiest course of action, of course, but a spot of deliciousness on the tastebuds helps to lift one’s mood.
This what I was hoping for when I decided to try some nosh over at Coco Hut.
Coco Hut is run by the same team behind popular burger and taco joint Army/Navy. But while A/N does Tex-Mex grub in the midst of faux military decor, Coco Hut served fried chicken and seafood with a more laid-back, island-hopper vibe.
For this particular lunch, I opted for the kani cakes and a plate of pancit palabok. Oh, and to wash things down: a large glass of teamarind. The teamarind is a tamarind-infused spin on iced sweet tea; this sweetly tart concoction is served ice-cold and goes down a treat on a hot summer afternoon.
The kani cakes were, alas, not quite crab cakes as these are made with surimi crabsticks, those faux crab-flavored fish cakes used for California maki. Nevertheless, these make a (just-acceptable-enough) substitute as they work well with the mozzarella cheese and jalapeno bits. The exterior of each “crab” cake is well-breaded with crispy panko and shatters when you sink your teeth into it; the crisp exterior gives way to the soft, gooey center. Dip these babies in sweet chili sauce and you are good to go.
I must confess, though, that I was a trifle disappointed with Coco Hut’s spin on pancit palabok. While I like this sort of noodle dish good and saucy, this was too saucy and the amount of noodles felt rather short. I think I would have been better off ordering the garlic chicken sotanghon I saw on the menu. But, nevertheless, it was a fairly good meal.
Coco Hut: 2nd Floor – Bonifacio Stopover, 2nd Avenue cor. 31st St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig