Around this time last year, I made it my mission to find the best fish sandwich in Kansas City.
I cast my nets far and wide, from fast food chains (McDonald’s, Arby’s, Runza) to out-of-the-way fish markets in Kansas City, Kan., and a bakery in Westport that serves a mean salmon BLT. Ten sandwiches and countless tartar sauce packets later, I had a few new favorites: the Po’Jack Catfillet at Mad Jack’s Fish Market in Kansas City, Kan., the Northwoods Walleye sandwich at Culver’s, and the catfish sandwich at Kitty’s Cafe.
But there was one sandwich that eluded me: the soft-shell crab po’ boy at Joe’s Kansas City. On Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent, the local barbecue chain sells a soft-shell crab po’ boy as an option for customers who are abstaining from meat. I didn’t include it in my fish sandwich roundup last year because, well, crabs aren’t fish — they’re crustaceans. And I had to stop somewhere.
On Wednesday, I finally got a taste of the one that got away. The deep-fried soft-shell crab was wedged between two halves of a golden hoagie bun with shredded cabbage, BBQ remoulade (a mayo-based condiment that reminded me of Thousand Island dressing) and homemade tomato jam.
If you’ve never had soft-shell crab, it’s essentially a crab that can be eaten whole because it has molted its exoskeleton. It might sound and look a little scary — the soft-shell crab po’boy I ate Wednesday had pincers poking out of the hoagie — but it’s delicious, especially with that lightly sweet tomato jam and creamy remoulade. Drizzle on some barbecue sauce and you might not miss the brisket.
Joe’s Kansas City’s soft-shell crab po’ boy costs $9.99 and comes with a side. Abstaining from meat during Lent? Skip the beans and order the potato salad.
Know of another great fish (or crab, or lobster) sandwich in Kansas City? Comment here, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet @sarah_gish.