A & A Crab House opened its doors to the community in 2016 on the north end of Deltona Plaza, where the West Volusia veterans clinic recently relocated to larger digs a few doors down.
A & A specializes in garlic and Maryland-style crabs, and the smell of Old Bay Seasoning was prevalent as our foodie group walked in the door.
Don’t go expecting fancy décor or presentation. Crab, fresh and well-prepared, is the focus. The serving dishes are disposable aluminum pans, and the restaurant is as stark as you would expect a shopping-center storefront to be.
A & A Crab House has 49 seats, with simple nautical and beach-themed decorations lining the ocean-blue walls: Oars, propellers, anchors and crab nets hang randomly throughout the place.
The tables are topped with brown paper, because eating crab legs can get messy!
“I was sitting in my garage drinking coffee one morning, and the idea struck me, why don’t I open up my own restaurant?” owner Hafeez Khan said.
Khan was born and raised in Trinidad and came to Florida 20 years ago. He has worked in seafood restaurants for most of his career. By 2016, he was tired of working for someone else.
“When I Googled seafood restaurants in the Deltona area, one of the first places that popped up was Popeyes, and I wanted to change that,” Hafeez said.
A & A opened on Nov. 10 that year.
Four types of crab are the main event, but A & A does offer other options. There are nine appetizers, including noteworthy empanadas with your choice of shrimp, crab, beef or chicken. Hafeez’s wife, Tiffany, is Spanish, and the empanadas are as authentic as they come.
There are also sandwiches and dinner baskets, including sausage, fish, shrimp and tacos, all served with the restaurant’s homemade dressing. A & A also has a pasta dish, chicken wings, and a kids’ menu titled “Tiny Mates.”
But the real deal at A & A Crab House is 20 different family seafood platters, which are family-style feasts for one to eight people, with prices ranging from $19 to $90.
These platters have combinations ranging from blue crabs and snow crabs to Dungeness crabs and king crabs, accompanied by shrimp, crawfish, potatoes and corn. A word of warning: This crab is fresh, and when it sells out, there’s no more. If you’re going for a particular kind of crab, call first and make sure it’s available.
The menu lists how many people each combo meal feeds, such as the Po’Jack Special with six blue crabs and six shrimp for one to two people.
I brought two hungry foodies with me for this adventure, and we chose the Shipwrecked Island and Sammy’s Special as our feasts.
The Shipwrecked Island is A & A’s delicacy crab platter loaded up with a pound of king crabs, a pound of snow crabs, and a pound of Dungeness crabs.
Sammy’s Special features a pound of crawfish, 12 shrimp, a pound of potatoes, and four ears of corn.
For each platter, you can choose garlic or Maryland-style. Garlic boil is known to be a classic recipe with white wine, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, while the Maryland-style boil is spicy and salty with Old Bay Seasoning.
All members of our foodie group were Old Bay Seasoning lovers, so we chose our boils Maryland-style.
The platters arrived piled high with crabs and fixins. The server set us up with side plates, tools for cracking the claws, and sides of melted butter.
Food euphoria is how I would describe our meal. All the crabs were cooked just right, so when we cracked a leg open, the full leg meat would slide right out and into the melted butter before disappearing into our mouths.
When we had finished, the server brought out a fancy bowl of warm water with lemons floating in it for us to wash our hands in, as the crabs and seasonings had coated every inch of them. Magically the scent of crab disappeared from our hands.
A & A Crab House is a family business and is named after Hafeez and Tiffany’s two children, Aaliyah and Andrew.
“We have all young people working for us, and we like helping the community by hiring teenagers and keeping them working and out of trouble,” Hafeez said.
His two kids are teenagers and work for the company as well.
A & A Crab House offers a fun family-style food experience where getting together and cracking some crab legs is what it’s all about.