Nettie's Crab Shack, San Francisco
Mmm...this place was great (2032 Union Street, 415-409-0300). When I heard that an East Coast-inspired crab house had opened in San Francisco (but of course featuring local dungeness crab instead), I had to come down. We came at lunch time, so we were too early for the Sunday night crab feed, but they did have this grilled half crab available, and it was delicious.
Unlike the yaki kani at Kani Doraku in Osaka, the grilling process here contributed a mildly smoky aroma to the flesh, which I was just delighted with. The meat still stayed moist despite half of the body being exposed, and a light seasoning helped to accentuate it further. I didn't even need to touch the butter on the side.
Now, I certainly still like crab that has been steamed or boiled, and the Swan Oyster Depot is still one of my all-time favorites. But I really enjoyed what Nettie's did with this, and I can't wait to come back on a Sunday evening to really get my hands dirty in that (steamed) crab feed.