Try magic from the sea on a bun at this Atlanta restaurant

Light tempura batter allows the delicate meat to shine in the tempura soft-shell crab sandwich at Staplehouse. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Light tempura batter allows the delicate meat to shine in the tempura soft-shell crab sandwich at Staplehouse. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dish of the Week: Tempura soft-shell crab sandwich at Staplehouse

Eating soft-shell crab is like devouring a magic trick from the sea. Blue crabs are harvested at their transitional stage, when the skin is paper soft. As a result, there is no labor involved, no cracking or picking through shell to get at the sweet meat. During the season, which typically lasts from May through September, you can eat the whole crab in one piece.

There is no better way to do this than in a sandwich. At Staplehouse, the softie is the rightful star. Coating the crab in a simple, light tempura batter allows the delicate meat to shine, with just enough crispness. It’s dressed between two soft, dense potato buns, bibb lettuce and a slather of chervil gribiche. The savory, herbal, emulsified sauce adds an extra dimension, and some springtime brightness, to the dish, without competing with the crab.

One bite produces a burst of hot, juicy, tender meat. There is a hint of salt water in the light, deep-fried coating. Eat it in the sun, on the patio, for maximum effect.

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