Frankland’s, a contemporary seafood shack opens in Montecito

You may want to roll up your sleeves next time you’re on Coast Village Road.

The newly opened Frankland’s Crab & Co. at the Montecito Inn offers raw, steamed and fried seafood alongside chowder-smothered fries and corn on the cob with lobster butter in what chef Phillip Frankland Lee dubs a “modern American shell shack.”

“It’s East Coast inspired, but with a West Coast mentality,” he told KCRW while picking up half a dozen rock crab at the Santa Barbara Fisherman’s Market. “It really is a California seaside shack. The idea was to do a low-brow concept but with a high-brow approach.”

He says he gets as much local, fresh, live seafood as he can. If he cant source it locally, he’ll have his seafood flown in live from all over the world.

The restaurant was supposed to open in January, but this winter’s fire and mudslides slowed things down. Lee is planning to host a community fundraiser at Monarch, another restaurant he’s planning to open at the Montecito Inn, later this year.

“Right now, our focus is on trying to put in a great establishment so that the locals can have something to look forward to, try something new and get excited about,” he said.

Take a listen to the interview:

Frankland’s Crab and Co. Chef and Owner Phillip Frankland Lee picks up rock crab at the Santa Barbara Fisherman’s Market. (Kathryn Barnes/KCRW)

‘Frankland’s Style’ Steamed Crab

Courtesy of Phillip Frankland Lee, Chef/Owner, Frankland’s Crab & Co. at Montecito Inn

  • 1.5 lbs fresh rock crab
  • 4 T clarified butter
  • 1 t sea salt
  • ½ t Old Bay seasoning
  • ½ t Larry’s seasoned salt mix
  • ½ lemon
  • ¼ c chopped parsley

Bring water to boil in a steamer pot on high heat. Gently place rock crab in pot, cover with lid and steam for 11-13 minutes.

Remove the crab from pot, then crack the claws and head. Place in a large mixing bowl.

Toss cracked crab in high quality clarified butter (at Frankland’s Crab & Co., we use a homemade butter, steeped with lobster shells), then sprinkle with salt and spices (at the restaurant, we use Frankland’s Seasoned Salt, a special blend of about 30 different spices). Give it a good squeeze of lemon and fresh chopped parsley to taste.

Place onto a large plate and serve immediately. Dig in and get your hands dirty!

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