Selling Like Hot (Crab) Cakes - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Selling Like Hot (Crab) Cakes

Larissa Kyzer
Words by
Main photo by
Matthew Eisman

Published September 8, 2014

Walk the Plank

The harbour at Ægisgarður
Varies by day
What we think
A welcome edition to the local seafood and food truck scenes.
Flavour
Crispy, crabby patties.
Ambiance
Outdoorsy.
Service
Quick and tasty.
Price for 2 (no drinks)
3,000 – 3,800 ISK

Located further afield than most of Reykjavík’s new brigade of food trucks, Walk the Plank—specializing in crab cake sliders from locally caught Atlantic rock crab—seems right at home in its harbourside location, tucked comfortably between working trawlers and whale-watching boats. Started in June, Walk the Plank is the product of a (rather spontaneous) collaboration between entrepreneurs Daði Janusson and Davíð Freyr Jónsson, the latter of whom is also a professional fisherman. In true Icelandic fashion, Daði says the pair got together “at 11 o’clock one morning, wrote a business plan, and bought the cart before the day was over.” And just a month and a half later, they were selling their first crab cake sliders.

Rock crab is not native to Iceland, but its local population has been growing for about ten years. Davíð—who does all of the truck’s fishing himself and sources all of its crabs from Reykjavík’s Faxaflói bay and the nearby Hvalfjörður fjord—says that rock crabs were likely brought to Iceland from Canada, dredged up with seawater used for ballast in large cargo ships and then released into the waters here when the ships’ ballast has been drained. The idea with Walk the Plank was to focus on what Davíð referred t    o as “exotic Icelandic seafood,” noting that “most Icelanders know nothing about crab.” The experience is then two-fold: visitors gain a “quick taste of Iceland” while at the same time, a local market focused on “underutilized species” (such as mackerel and mussels, as well as rock crab) will also, hopefully, grow.

Walk the Plank’s menu is simple, offering two varieties of crab cake sliders, the Arctic Slider and the spicy New Orleans-style Slider (both 1,500 ISK), with an optional side of fried potato wedges served with aioli (400 ISK). (Order both a slider and a side of potatoes and they’ll throw in a soda for free.) I tried the standard Arctic offering and, of course, the thick wedge-cut fries, which—oily and lemony and spicy—were so good that they practically distracted from the main course. These are almost worth a visit on their own.

The Arctic slider was made while I waited. The crab cake is fried to a nice crispy texture on the outside, served on a brown roll with aioli and garnished with a fresh carrot, cabbage, cucumber, and a skyr/mayo coleslaw. It’s a substantial serving: each slider is comprised of about four crabs’ worth of meat (mostly from the upper leg, I’m told).

The meat of a rock crab is rather sweet and pretty subtle—one that could easily be overwhelmed by too much sauce or added flavours. Walk the Plank’s slider is nicely balanced, with the crabmeat as much in the foreground as the garnish. Also, since it’s served to you straight off the griddle, there’s no time for the whole slider to get soggy—the coleslaw is crisp, the bun warm and soft, and all the textures play off of each other nicely. Being a fan of spicy food, I’d be inclined to try the New Orleans version next time.

The fishing season for rock crab is mainly late summer and early fall, so as of this writing, Davíð will be likely heading back out to bring in the coming season’s catch. And I for one am grateful that Walk the Plank is adding some variety to both the local seafood and food truck scenes.

 

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