Here we were on our first major venture since the new virus from Wuhan changed outings. I guess that even the cars in the caravan were practicing social distancing, as we didn’t see the other cars as we drove the ten miles or so from the dock of the Huron Lady II in Port Huron to the River Crab in Saint Clair, Michigan. We were going to try to have dinner in Port Huron like we did the last time, we were there for the boat excursion, but since economic downturn from the mandated lockdown, even though they have been partially relaxed, it reminded me of the old Blue Laws where everything was shut down. We tried several locations, including one place that took over from another place and they even kept the old place’s phone number. The only place I could think of, was an old stately Inn that was taken over and modernized and it had lost its charm and just became another place to go to. One of the others in the group, then mentioned the River Crab.
The River Crab, back in the old days was a Chuck Muer restaurant. In Detroit there was Joe Muer and then there was all the Chuck Muer locations and some are still in existence and some have been taken over, but most of them still have the quirky charm that set them apart from day one. You see, none of the restaurants were cookie cutter clones, as some used the charm of an older building and some were brand new structures, and even the menus were all different. The River Crab was taken over, but they kept the name and they were still the restaurant attached to the Blue Water Inn, that claims that every room has a view of the water and all the boating activity, as well as their own small marina and wharf. We had to wear a mask to enter the restaurant and each time, if we had to use the facilities, but they accommodated our group with three tables rather adjacent to each other and it worked very well. I took the seat with my back to the waterfront and let everyone else have the good views. We arrived a little after three and they had a “Lunch Box” special for those that wanted to take advantage of it on the menu, and my Bride almost had our waitress do a blood oath to guarantee that the tables could take advantage of the specials. We started off sharing with some of the others an order of Maryland Style Crab Cakes, corn sauté and Mustard Sauce and it was probably the same recipe from day one. My Bride had the Lunch Ocean Cobb, which was a salad of chilled Lobster, shrimp and Crab “Louie,” bacon, egg, avocado, blue cheese, red onion and a White Balsamic dressing. I went with one of the “Catches” of the day, and had Sea Scallops with potatoes and asparagus.
I was trying to get something wet for the table that could conceivably work with whatever would be ordered, as the thirst needed to be taken care of before the hunger. At first, my Bride was against my selection, because the waitress mentioned that it had nice acidity and a soft strawberry nose and finish. I think that my Bride was having flashbacks to the artificial wines of the late Sixties like “Strawberry Hill,” and I allayed her fears that strawberry was good for this wine. I had selected a bottle of Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rosé NV. Outside of Champagne, Cremant d’Alsace is the second largest region for sparkling wine in France and the manufacturers must abide by the rules, just as in Champagne. The Alsace appellation law requires that only Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Auxerrois plus Chardonnay, which is not otherwise allowed in the region, but because of the acceptance and success in Champagne it is allowed in the Cremant, and by law the grape varietal must be indicated on the label. This particular bottle was made entirely from Pinot Noir. As with all Cremant appellations, the Methode Tradittionnelle is used to make the wines. The wines must spend a minimum of nine months on their lees, to aid in creating a certain accepted level of complexity. This allows the wine to impart some of the terroir and a better finish to the wine, and the traditional dosage concept is used, as this wine was a Brut, which had a small dosage to keep it dry. It was a very easy drinking wine and easily paired with our dishes, and the bubbles and the color made the table more festive and the strawberry notes were pure pleasure on that sunny afternoon as we watched the freighters go by.