Hurricane Irma Inspires a New Dish at Key West’s The Stoned Crab Restaurant; Introducing “The Stoned Lobster™”

“The Stoned Lobster” creatively blends three of the Florida Keys’ most iconic seafood species – stone crab, spiny lobster, and Key West pink shrimp – into one mouthwatering, eye-catching dish just in time for the Holiday Season.

Key West prides itself on being an island of eternally-optimistic misfits and renegades always ready for a good time. When life hands the island lemons, they’re squeezed over fresh grouper or sweet Key West pink shrimp. However, it wasn’t lemons that Key West was handed this past September but rather Hurricane Irma – one of the worst storms ever recorded in the Atlantic. Yet, true to form, just two months after Irma, Key West or, in the case of The Stoned Crab, is already turning their ill-fortune into a stunning new Holiday offering, “The Stoned Lobster™”  – the first seafood dish ever created by a hurricane.

“In the days after the storm, the extent to which Irma would impact our commercial fishing economy was very much unknown; we heard stories of fishermen losing boats and traps, but we weren’t certain how these factors would impact their overall yields,” explained Paul Menta, the executive chef of The Stoned Crab who came up with the idea for The Stoned Lobster. “Fears were alleviated when, after his first day on the water since the storm, Captain Zane Osborn arrived at our dock with the news that not only did many of his lobster traps survive the storm but some were packed with lobster, stone crab, and Key West pink shrimp. While stone crab was not yet in season, the inspiration for our Holiday 2017 dish hit me immediately.”

The Stoned Lobster is a culinary creation incorporating all three species of fish found in the lobster traps that day. The unique dish features two massive stone crab claws placed at the front-end of a whole spiny lobster, finished off with a blend of shrimp stuffing and gravy packed into the lobster tail. In an effort to reuse materials from the storm, the dish is served on the wooden boards of lobster traps that were destroyed in the hurricane. All seafood used in The Stoned Lobster is sourced locally and caught and filleted by Three Hands Fish – a Florida Keys sustainable seafood initiative that directly connects commercial fishermen and their catch with community members and restaurant chefs.

“While The Stoned Lobster may be an eye-catching and visually-stunning dish, it’s real beauty lies in its ingredients – and we have our Three Hands Fish commercial fishermen, such as Captain Zane, to thank for that,” continued Menta. “All stone crab and spiny lobster used in this dish, and all dishes at The Stoned Crab, are caught and delivered daily to our dock by our commercial fishermen. We have fun with our food at The Stoned Crab, but we take how we source our ingredients – especially seafood – very seriously!”

The Hurricane Irma-inspired “The Stoned Lobster” will remain on The Stoned Crab menu throughout the upcoming holiday season. It will join the restaurant’s 2016 holiday classic and now menu mainstay “The Key West Turkey” – a same-day-caught whole fish, blackened, baked, broiled, or fried, that’s stuffed with stone crab meat stuffing, speared with Key West pink shrimp skewers, and finished with an orange and passion fruit sauce. For more information on The Stoned Crab, visit For hi-res photography of these dishes and more, click here.