By Pamela Bieri
When the much-anticipated Crab Pot at Rancho Mirage opened three years ago, the whimsical seafood restaurant caught an immediate wave of popularity. The former Dominick’s Restaurant, a favorite haunt of Frank Sinatra, was completely transformed into a nautically themed Crab Pot, complete with life-size carved figures: Dean Martin at the bar, a bearded fisherman suspended from the ceiling in a wooden dinghy hauling up a crab trap, and a couple coyly seated at a table for two.
Wood paneled throughout the main dining room and semicircular bar, Crab Pot features signature red-checked tablecloths, paper-towel rolls, and wooden mallets for diners to partake the messy fun of cracking crab legs, shucking oysters, peeling shrimp, and crunching corn on the cob. Four seafood feasts to share — The Alaskan, The Cove, The Westport, and The Pacific Clambake — are poured in the middle of butcherpapered tables. In addition to seafood feasts are appetizers, salads, burgers, sandwiches, grilled or fried seafood and chips, ribs, chicken, pasta, and the signature New York Steak.
Seating extends to a large outdoor patio, heated overhead and by a cozy fireplace, and to a circular covered patio off the bar and lounge. Sip classic and signature cocktails, martinis, wines, and beer at a table or the bar. Choose appetizers from the bar menu while watching sports or entertainment on five plasma TVs in the lounge. A private banquet room is available for celebrations and meetings with custom menus.
The Crab Pot at Rancho Mirage joins the La Quinta Crab Pot in offering desert dwellers a taste of the sea and the popular Northwest custom where folks gather to enjoy freshly caught salmon, crab, and steamed shellfish. First launched on Seattle’s historic waterfront by owner Hal Griffith, Crab Pots are in Washington and Long Beach, Calif.
Rancho Mirage open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. La Quinta open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Crab Pot Restaurant and Bar
• 70030 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
• 78121 Avenida La Fonda, La Quinta, CA 92253
• Bucket of Steamers
• Oysters on the Half Shell
• Pacific Clambake — Steamed clams, oysters, Pacific mussels, dungeness crab, snow crab, shrimp in shell, halibut and salmon skewer, andouille sausage, corn on the cob
• Today’s Fresh Fish at Market Price — Salmon, halibut, swordfish, yellowtail, sea bass, ono, ahi
• New York Steak
• Strawberry Rhubarb Cake-in-a-Pan
• Mud Pie Mocha Ice Cream in chocolate crunch crust
• Far Niente, Napa, Chardonnay
• Caymus, Napa, Cabernet Sauvignon
• Luna Reserve, Howell Mountain, Napa, Merlot
• Seasonal Mojito — Light rum, house mojito mix, spearmint leaves, seasonal fruit with a splash of soda
• Summer Hummer — Malibu coconut rum, melon liqueur, crème de coconut mix, whipped cream topped with a cherry
• Sunset in the Desert — Light rum, piña colada mix, mango purée with a float of dark rum