Life comes at you fast. One minute you’re watching people get Slimed on Nickelodeon and the next you’re trying to figure out how to contribute more than $0 to your 401K. So as we get older, it’s nice to hang onto a few things that manage to stay the same. Shaw’s Crab House is one of those places - a classic restaurant that continues to be the exact same great place in River North.
Shaw’s is basically the seafood version of a steakhouse. It has big red leather booths, white tablecloths, and a wait staff dressed in black pants, white dress shirts, and black vests. It’s expensive, but not stuffy. And while it’s nice, there are also often random tourists wandering in off the streets in their finest Hawaiian or I ❤️ Chicago shirts. Being locals, this means Shaw’s falls off our radar at times. All that said, it’s still really good.
We love Shaw’s for the right occasion, which can actually be any occasion as long as you’re willing to spend a bunch of money on seafood. But there aren’t many seafood places better than Shaw’s when you want to splurge on oysters, crab legs, and even sushi. It’s great for date night, dinner with family, or an all-out gathering of friends. Shaw’s isn’t innovative or exciting with a constantly changing menu, but it’s comforting. You know exactly what you’ll get, and when you’re here that’s exactly what you want.
If you want a more informal setting, the wildcard at Shaw’s is their oyster bar next to the main dining room. Instead of big leather booths, it’s a more casual space with a big oyster bar and high top tables. It’s great for drinks and keeping things more casual from an environmental standpoint, but you’ll still probably run up a good sized bill on oysters and seafood.
So the next time you need an oyster bar or a classic seafood meal when price doesn’t matter, don’t forget about Shaw’s. Hawaiian shirts optional.
Shaw’s has an excellent oyster selection. You 100% need them if you’re in the oyster bar, and you probably do in the dining room too.
What’s better than a couple oysters? A tower of seafood with oysters, shrimp, crab, and lobster. Normally we skip things like this at restaurants, but Shaw’s is the kind of place where you order the seafood tower.
There’s a limited amount of sushi here, but it’s always good. We’re into a little tuna, salmon, or hamachi to start things off.
Something a little different. Crispy wonton shells with lobster, avocado, and an Asian vegetable salad.
Keep it simple if you’d like. Whitefish is our go-to if you’re interested, but a basic piece of haddock, perch, or snapper always works. Light, healthy, and tastes great.
Live a little and splurge on the king crab. It’s the specialty here, and we usually have a plate of them on the table when going big in the dining room.
Think steakhouse sides: mashed potatoes, au gratin potatoes, hash browns with onion, creamed spinach, mac & cheese. All awesome, large, and meant for sharing. Go nuts.
All of the desserts here are large and in charge, but the raspberry pie is their special. Get it.
Looking to go all out on Sunday brunch? Shaw’s has an unbelievable buffet for around $59. There’s French toast, eggs benedict, Do-Rite donuts, oysters, sushi, crab claws, crab cakes, shrimp, and about 25 other things. And that doesn’t even take into account a sweets table that’s nothing short of ridiculous. Pricey, yes, but worth it every now and then or for a special occasion.