Red Lobster Unveils New Crabfest Items And We've Tried Them All

Red Lobster's New Crabfest Items
Red Lobster's New Crabfest Items - Michael Palan / Daily Meal

In life, there are no givens. Although it seems like Crabfest is an annual event at Red Lobster, it actually took a four-year break before returning in 2023. Crabby Cheese Fries was the singular new addition to the Fest that year, and in 2024, Red Lobster is going claw-in with even more offerings. This year's Crabfest lineup features novel additions like Crab-Stuffed Maine Lobster, Crab-Topped Steak, Creamy Crab Carbonara Pasta, Crab Mac & Cheese, and a Cajun butter sauce for dipping the crab legs or anything else your seafood-loving heart desires.

With Red Lobster recently filing for bankruptcy, this year's Crabfest has taken on a greater sense of urgency, and perhaps even need. Flavor Flav even recently stopped by his local Red Lobster to "help" out by ordering the entire menu. With so many claw-inspiring new options to choose from, I dashed off to my nearest Red Lobster to help out as well, in almost an act of civic duty. So, were these new fest-ive creations totally claw-some, or did they leave me feeling rather crabby? The crab puns end here, but this is where the chew and review of them begins. This review is based on taste, value, crabbiness, and overall lovability.

Some recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional materials and products provided by the manufacturer.

Read more: 12 Underrated Types Of Fish You Should Try At Least Once

What Does Red Lobster's Crab Mac & Cheese Taste Like?

Red Lobster's Crab Mac & Cheese
Red Lobster's Crab Mac & Cheese - Michael Palan / Daily Meal

In what appears to be a tiny bowl nestled on a tiny tea saucer lies the new Crab Mac & Cheese side offering. Its top is a visual delight, where crispy onion bits mesh with pure white chunks of crab meat, and the green herbs add a pop of color.

Don't be fooled by this dish's appearance in size or categorization of being just a side item. In its compact frame, the Crab Mac & Cheese packs a mighty amount of deliciousness. While the crab does not have much of a seasoned taste to it, the pieces are both succulent and thankfully, plentiful. The crispy onions add a nice saltiness and crunchy texture to balance out the soft crab pieces and macaroni. The macaroni shells are outfitted with the appropriate amount of savory cheese, which is the true glue that ties the dish all together.

The crab pieces may get a little lost in a forkful that includes all three main ingredients, but it didn't dampen my enjoyment of Crabfest. This is a must order!

What Does Red Lobster's Crab & Lobster Duo Taste Like?

Red Lobster's Crab & Lobster Duo
Red Lobster's Crab & Lobster Duo - Michael Palan / Daily Meal

The Crab & Lobster Duo has a simple name that doesn't really highlight this dish's true selling point. The lobster tail here is stuffed with crab and bacon bits, and then browned-up for a crispy top. This crunchy breadcrumb-like topping alone is worth the hefty price tag of admission. It's so toothsomely good, I wish a bowl of just the topping was available for solo ordering. Nonetheless, the thick lobster meat underneath holds its own, making its duo partner crab legs almost feel like an afterthought.

This order included the standard snow crab legs. While tools are provided to break them open, they can also be pulled apart by hand. It requires a little effort that ends up with not much to show for it. Once you get to the meat inside the legs, it kind of seems a little disappointing. The pieces are a little too wet, and not that thick or bountiful. Such is the life of crab legs wherever you buy them from, and that's why I personally prefer and stick to the meat found in a crab's main body. Still, dip whatever pieces you get in the provided standard drawn butter, or in the really solid new Cajun Butter, and all is well.

What Does Red Lobster's Creamy Crab Carbonara Taste Like?

Red Lobster's Creamy Crab Carbonara
Red Lobster's Creamy Crab Carbonara - Michael Palan / Daily Meal

While the Crab Mac & Cheese has the looks of being minuscule, the Creamy Crab Carbonara intimidatingly looks almost too massive to the eye. The photo I took and you see above doesn't even remotely capture its girth. The dish is huge and could probably feed two to three people, which instantly makes it a great value in the Crabfest. But is it any good?

The top layer looks like quite the party and screams "fiesta" more than "fest." Small pieces of crabmeat are strewn about in a sea of diced tomatoes, bacon, and wide pieces of shaved Parmesan cheese. There was so much going on there that I was slightly afraid to dig in. When I finally did, it quickly became apparent that the cream sauce that surrounded the endless pile of linguini was the definitive taste of this dish. The toppings, including the crabmeat, kind of get lost in the shuffle when eating. While it's a grand and hearty dish that will fill one's belly, it would have been nice for the star of the show -- the crabmeat -- to stand out a little more.

What Does Red Lobster's Snow Crab & Crab-Topped Sirloin Taste Like?

Red Lobster's Crab-Topped Sirloin
Red Lobster's Crab-Topped Sirloin - Michael Palan / Daily Meal

Out of the four new offerings in this year's Crabfest, the Snow Crab & Crab-Topped Sirloin is the least crabby of the bunch. While the dish does include snow crab legs, they may not fully scratch that crab itch eaters may be looking for in their own Crabfest.

There are two cuts of steak available to order for this surf and turf combo. Since I was going to be eating too much food to begin with, I opted for the smaller sirloin over the filet. It too had a compactness to it that ultimately revealed itself to be a rather large portion. The steak was nice and tender, and easy to cut with a steak knife. It's topped with a nice, creamy layer of crabmeat and crispy Parmesan bits. When cutting the steak, one risks making a mess of that delicate crab layer, as it slightly dissolves in the process. I kind of wish the creamy crab layer was separated from the steak as a side dipping sauce to truly appreciate it.

Since I didn't need a second helping of broccoli, I upgraded my included side here to the crispy Brussels sprouts. Both soft and crunchy, they add a nice third dimension to this plate.

How To Buy Red Lobster's Crabfest Items

Red Lobster's Crabfest menu
Red Lobster's Crabfest menu - Michael Palan / Daily Meal

For a limited time only, the Crabfest menu is available to order for dine-in, pick-up, and rapid red curbside pick-up or delivery, where available. At the restaurant, the new items are listed on a special Crabfest menu card, which includes old favorites like Snow or Bairdi crab legs, Crab Queso, and Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms. When ordering in advance on Red Lobster's website, the new and old items can be found under the New Crabfest menu. The Crab Mac & Cheese can also be found under the Soups & Sides menu. The crab legs come with drawn butter, but other butter options include the new Cajun Butter, as well as Honey Sriracha and Roasted Garlic Butter.

These new entrees start at $20, although prices vary by location. At the Times Square location, the Crab & Lobster Duo runs $47.99, the Crab Mac & Cheese is $8.99 as an a la carte or can be a side upgrade for $6.49, Creamy Crab Carbonara is $26.99, and the Snow Crab & Crab-Topped Sirloin Steak is $42.99; you can upgrade to a filet for $7.99. The duo and surf and turf options all come with one side. The standard side is seasoned broccoli, but many other options are available, and some at an extra cost.

Our Final Thoughts On Red Lobster's New Crabfest Items

Red Lobster's new Crabfest items
Red Lobster's new Crabfest items - Michael Palan / Daily Meal

It's refreshing to see Red Lobster offer such a variety in this year's edition of Crabfest. The two items that partner with the snow crab legs are especially welcome newcomers. While the crab legs are the draw for each Fest, it's actually the crab-stuffed lobster tail and creamy crab-topped steak that steal the show on these duo plates by being far superior in taste, texture, and maintaining a warm temperature. Since the crab legs seemed so secondary to me, it would have been nice to see the lobster and steak as standalone options. As for the Creamy Crab Carbonara, the word "crab" is smothered between "creamy" and "carbonara" in its title and, as it turns out, in the dish itself. It's a nice giant dish of pasta, but sadly doesn't let the crab come up for any air.

It was impossible to finish all four dishes, even with the help of my Mrs., but I couldn't bear to see the Crab Mac & Cheese turn into leftovers. At such a low price point, it's hard to pass up, but do not underestimate the mightiness of this seemingly little side dish. There's no reason to get your hands all messy cracking legs here, as this Fest dish is a feast for both the eyes and the mouth. Here's hoping it's not the last we've seen of it, or of Crabfest, and of course Red Lobster. I'm ready for a crabby dessert option in 2025.

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