Oceanaire and The Grand Selfish Platter

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Forty-five dollars spent at the Oceanaire Seafood Room can buy you the “small” sized Grand Shellfish Platter, a soccer-ball sized mound of shaved ice studded with mussels, oysters, crab legs, big-ass shrimp and one half of a very unfortunate lobster, sliced lengthwise. If you’ve ever thought: “There is no amount of shellfish too large for me to handle,” you would be well advised to confront the Grand Shellfish Platter on your own, with no help, in order to learn something about yourself and the way the world actually works. Sixty percent of it is really what you ought to eat, 80 percent of it is what you want to eat, and 100 percent of it is what you’ll wind up eating, for fear of leaving any piece of shellfish behind and thereby disrespecting it.

Because of its high price and perishable nature, seafood is one of the few foods that you can still disrespect in an American restaurant. Didn’t finish your steak, your spaghetti carbonara, your broken rice platter, your chicken tikka masala? No problem. Bag it or box it. Boom. Didn’t finish your Grand Shellfish Platter? Your waiter will give you a certain knowing look, you will rightfully bow your head in shame, and you’ll cram one last crab knuckle down your gullet, shaking with silent sobs as you pack the meat down.

Sushi works in much the same way, but rarely are you confronted with eight and a half pounds of it at one time, leering at you from atop a giant, strategically imposing mound.

Most of life’s most valuable lessons are learned the hard way, and the Grand Shellfish Platter is no exception. Yes, seafood is delicious. Yes, it’s possible to surprise yourself with how much you can pack down, when push comes to shove. But no, too much isn’t actually “never enough,” it’s actually too much.

By two mussels, one big-ass shrimp, a lobster claw and a two-knuckle section of crab leg, to be absolutely precise.