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Chef Alex McCoy has carved out a niche for himself in D.C. specializing in three things: stacked burgers at Lucky Bun’s, fiery Thai food at Som Tam, and steamed Maryland crabs at various pop-ups around town. McCoy is bringing all-you-can-eat crabs back to the outdoor area of Union Market starting on June 18 with a pop-up he’s calling Lucky’s Crab House.
There’s something about an all-you-can-eat feast that hits differently this year. It feels extra indulgent knowing that restaurants couldn’t afford to be overly generous over the past year. Come hungry because, for $50 a person, Lucky’s will feed you local crabs, chicken, corn, slaw, potato salad, and some surprises until you tap out.
In a move many Marylanders might find controversial, McCoy is passing on Old Bay and steaming the crabs on site using J.O. Spice Company’s crab spice as the base. He doctors it a bit and doesn’t hold back on black pepper. It’s inspired by the spice blend the chef became accustomed to working with at Price’s Seafood in Havre De Grace, Maryland, in college. The restaurant has since closed.
McCoy mentions that his general manager running the pop-up, Gus Montes de Oca, comes from a long line of “local crab talent.” His grandfather used to own The Dancing Crab in Tenleytown.
In previous years, McCoy has fried the chicken. This year he’s slow-cooking it on a charcoal barbecue using a South African braai spice rub. “My mother went to school in South Africa and lived in Johannesburg for a time,” McCoy says. He’s currently in Africa working on a project and returns to D.C. on June 6 to gear up for Lucky’s Crab House.
Drinks are not included in the $50 price tag, but you’ll be able to order crushes, Dark ‘N’ Stormy cocktails, and local beers for an additional cost.
Seating will be available in two-hour slots on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays starting June 18. Reservations can be made via Lucky Bun’s listing on RESY. McCoy says Lucky’s Crab House will run until the fall. Find it at 1309 5th St. NE.