Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dining at Crustacean-Beverly Hills

If you live by the Bay Area or the Los Angeles Area, I am sure you have heard of--  and most likely dined in the famed Thanh Long Restaurant better known today as Crustacean. Their signature roasted cracked dungeness crab and garlic noodles won over foodies, food critics and aficionados like me. The original place was in San Francisco (on Judah Street ) and is owned by the An family who hails from Vietnam. The Crustacean attracts a diverse crowd ranging from the jet set to tourists and families.... and what do they all have in common???.... a soft spot for fabulous seafood. The legacy lies in the " secret kitchen " --- which is a completely enclosed kitchen within the main kitchen. The kitchen is off limits to all their employees. This is where the family prepares the legendary garlic noodles and roasted cracked crab using their secret recipes that was passed down for three generations.

The Crustacean Restaurant in Beverly Hills is one of the premiere seafood-serving hot spots in the city. It is also great for a romantic evening ( they have booths ) or group dining. Reservations at the Crustacean is a MUST.... and their service is very pleasant. The price is a little on the high side..... but the delicious meal is worth every penny....

This glamorous and trendy restaurant serves Asian-inspired seafood dishes. As you walk in the restaurant you will see half of the diners at the Crustacean cracking their way through a whole dungeness crab.

Entering through the cocktail lounge of the Vietnamese-inspired restaurant, the guests' first experience in the restaurant is to " to walk on water " as they follow a weaving path atop a floor-level aquarium to the main dining room. There is a veranda overlooking the dining room.

I had dined at Thanh Long in San Francisco many years ago and I always liked their roast dungeness crab and garlic noodles. Since then ---- I together with Lulu and Ernie would always make it a point to go and have that dish every time I visit the West Coast.

Today, Ernie, Lulu and I went to Crustacean at Beverly Hills. I would like to share with you what we had ... to make your mouth water....

We ordered 2 roasted cracked dungeness crabs and a platter of garlic noodles. I paired it off with a glass of Chardonnay. Let me tell you---- this roasted cracked crab is to die for !!!!

The giant crabs  was delivered to our table along with a plastic bib to protect our clothing. Even if it makes you look funny wearing the bib, you need it.. so set aside your sense of dignity and style aside. They also gave us a tiny crab fork and a nut cracker. There is something deeply satisfying about cracking through shells and getting your fingers slippery with butter and juices as you patiently work out a piece of tender and sweet crab meat.... VICTORY !! Do not worry about getting your fingers all messed up, the waiters will give you hot ( as in really hot !! ) cloth towels to wipe off the oil from your fingers. Yes... it's messy... but who cares!!

The taste of the garlic noodles was exactly how I remembered it long ago. It tasted so good!! These noodles have a butter taste and a perfect texture when you eat...... not chewy or  too soft.  This simple meatless side dish is a MUST ORDER. I have tried many times to cook noodles like this, but still can't beat the garlic noodles from here.

Although last year when we dined at the Crustacean.. we ordered another dish, Maine Lobster with garlic noodles, it didn't taste as how I would like it to be... The lobster was a little dry for my taste. I think they boiled the lobster then roasted it in the oven therefore it lost all its juiciness.

My next project is to figure out the secret recipes, using none other than my taste buds and keen eyes...

I examined the remains of the roasted crab dish ---- the cracked peppers-- check; coarsely chopped garlic-- check; butter -- check; exotic spices .... let me go and figure that one out .. Wait for my next blog... who knows I might have the perfect recipe for the garlic noodles and the roasted dungeness crab...

Looking for an ideal place for fine dining in Los Angeles??? Go to CRUSTACEAN in BEVERLY HILLS !!! YOU will not be disappointed  This restaurant serves exquisite Vietnamese cuisine!

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