Essays

Bob Chinn’s Crab House – by Mike Toe

Restaurant Criticism: Bob Chinn’s Crab House
I take both my food and my time extremely seriously, so it is always really a huge dilemma for me as to whether I should say “yes” to an invitation to Bob Chinn’s Crab House (393 S. Milwaukee Avenue, Wheeling, Illinois, 60090, (847) THE-CRAB, casual dining for lunch and dinner, usually very crowded, large seafood-centric menu with dinner specials from $14.95 to $30.95, efficient service)—for the consistently reliable busboy eye-candy (while so many other restaurants employ nothing but the most androgynous waify young hairless pouty-lipped sad-eyed Latino busboys, and while Chinn’s too has its share of those, nevertheless Chinn’s consistently employs at least several, if not more than several, mature, swarthy, beefy, hairy, thick, macho, adorably delicious daddy-types in this crucial position)—or to say “no” to such an invitation—because the food consistently blows (yes, even though it is the self-proclaimed “fourth top-grossing independent restaurant in the United States, with 21 million dollars in sales annually,” and even though this fact makes it famous enough that you have certainly heard of it, even if you haven’t already gone out of your way to specifically make a trek to grim (but beautiful, to my mind at least) Wheeling, Illinois, to see what all the buzz is about, yes, in spite of all of this, the food always, consistently, reliably, totally blows. Namely, everything—from the dinner rolls, to the salmon filets, to the Caesar salads, to the king crab legs, to the Filet Mignons—everything tastes like it was fried in cheap corn oil that had been infused long ago with the bitter astringency of burnt garlic cloves (burnt ’til they were blackened pellets), and that has since gone rancid).

Anyway, long story short, today the sexual appetite was stronger than the sustenance appetite and so I said “yes” to an invitation to lunch at Bob Chinn’s Crab House, said “yes” to such an invitation for the first time in at least a year, and, in spite of my horrible, abominable, meal—I ordered a plateful of raw bay scallops (called, somewhat ironically, to my mind at least, “scallop sashimi”), because the menu talked them up as being a rare and precious treat that will only be available for a limited time, and because I suspected that it would be nearly impossible for Bob Chinn’s to get the dirty rancid old cheap greasy astringent burnt oil flavor onto food that is not even cooked. As it would happen (and this didn’t at all surprise me, given that the food here always, consistently, reliably, totally blows) only one single tiny individual bay scallop (out of the dozens of them that I was served) actually tasted somewhat fresh and delicious, with some traces of that decadent warm buttery rich fleshy candy-like toasted-macadamia-nut beloved scallop flavor. Every single other piece (and there were dozens of them) was completely worthless, dead, mushy, flavorless, snot-like slime, which oozed a somewhat disturbingly opalescent fluid, and gave off a mild aftertaste of calcium caseinate. In spite of this horrible, abominable, meal, I was thrilled by and enamored of a new dress code that officially transforms Bob Chinn’s into “Hooters for Homos Who Have a Mexican Daddy Fixation.”

In addition to the tight cotton t-shirts that they have always worn (and which have always enveloped and highlighted the fat meaty nipples that jut from the broad, heavy, rounded pecs with such self-assurance, with the adorable little elliptical dimples in their firm but slightly prominent proudly-carried broad round bellies showing us explicitly where their belly buttons are located), the busboys now, on top of this, must squeeze their burly machismo into pairs of short, bright blue, nylon running shorts that are gaily covered with a day-glo print of abstracted fish (a garish, cheap, 1980s-style design that is also available for purchase by the public on various cheap novelties sold in the restaurant’s lobby). All of this beefy flesh! All of these thick, muscle-slabbed thighs and calves! Covered with a forest of long black curly hairs! All of it blatantly, totally, exposed for all of us to see! And in a food-service environment of all places! Where the danger of one of those millions of long curly black pube-like hairs flying up and entering our foodstuffs is extremely imminent!! It’s unbelievable, like a dream!!!

One man in particular attracted a great deal—in fact I should really say more or less all—of my attention in that he was about 230 pounds (at about five feet, eight inches tall) of rock solid, thick, beefy, black-hair-covered, swarthy, fully-mature, fully-bearded (which is even hotter than the much more typical (and typical less mature) mustache/goatee combo), extremely handsome Mexican Daddy-ness. He was, I found, utterly impossible to remove my eyes from, particularly now that I was being presented with the tantalizing paradox of all this über-machismo having been packed into these tiny, gay-assed, day-glo shorts. When he finally bent over at the waist to pick up a fallen napkin and the bright blue nylon draped tautly across those massive round globes, I nearly lost it. It soon became painfully obvious to everyone involved—to all of the surrounding tables (which were full of office workers with their obnoxiously hetero office-lunch bravado), to all of the waitstaff and to all of the other busboys, to my mortified parents (who were the ones who had invited me to this lunch—we were there in celebration of the successful removal of a large malignant cancerous tumor from the side of my father’s head), and, of course, to the busboy himself, who throughout it all grew perpetually more challenging and aggressive in his counter-staring. I completely humiliated my parents, left them absolutely at a loss, caused them to have to leave the restaurant in shame (not, of course, due to my homosexuality, but due to my astonishingly rude and relentless and insanely obsessive unabashed crude staring), made the busboy feel extremely uncomfortable (to such an extent, as I have said, that he eventually became somewhat threatening), and of course caused myself a great deal of personal embarrassment, as pretty much everyone within eyeshot of me in this bustling lunchtime crowd sooner or later became confronted by the evidence of my relentless lust, to which they responded with loud comments amongst themselves like, “what a fuckin’ fag, can you believe that fag?! what the fuck is that fag’s problem?!!” And yet I just could not stop from staring at this delicious, perfect, ideal, tight-t-shirt-and-short-blue-shorts-clad man!!! Bob Chinn’s rules!!!! Four out of four stars.

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