y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: Sublime Noodles & Crab at Crustacean

Sublime Noodles & Crab at Crustacean

It's hard to believe that I recently discovered dishes at Crustacean, a Euro-Vietnamese very trendy restaurant going strong since 1997. But in its heydey of popularity, I was working in the arts/non-profit and could not dream of affording this Beverly Hills establishment.

Truth be told, it's not too affordable for me even now, and the description "pan-Asian" does not reassure me about any restaurant, but recently I met a couple of friends there and we shared this simple yet soul-satisfying meal of three exquisite courses.

Course 1 - Appetizer Sampler

Seared Tuna, Lobster Spring Rolls, Grilled Steak Cubes and Crispy Shrimp Mousse on sugarcane skewers served with duo of kiwi and strawberry sauce.

The next 2 courses came from the An family Secret Kitchen, within the main kitchen, which mother and Master Chef Helene An built in 1975 in San Francisco to protect the family's culinary legacy. No staff members except family and chefs with over 10 years of employment may enter. I am convinced this helps account for the restaurant's success.

Can you get delicious noodles and crab all over L.A.? Yes. Is it executed and does it taste this perfect? Probably not.

Course 2 - An's Famous Garlic Noodles

The first word that comes to mind upon remember this dish is magical. I can't articulately explain it's comforting appeal. I could have and would have happily eaten 2 more portions of this dish.

They are warm, Chinese style, garlicky, perfectly seasoned noodles that you will remember long after you've inhaled them (which you will).

If you do a web search of this dish you will find countless recipes trying to mimic it. If you found one that compares, please send me the recipe.

Course 3 - An's Famous Roasted Crab

This roasted dungeness crab comes three ways, with 3 price levels ($41-$50): whole, cracked, and completely de-shelled and cleaned. We chose the middle ground.

It's prepared with An's garlic sauce and secret spices and tastes of freshly cracked black pepper. Juicy, oceany and finger licking deliciousness.

From its secret kitchen to its opulent colonial decor including the famous winding 80 foot long "walk on water" sunken floor aquarium at the entrance to its impeccable service, and of course the food, one can see why Crustacean strongly withstands the test of time in this fickle city.

Crustacean on Urbanspoon

7 Responses to “Sublime Noodles & Crab at Crustacean”:

  1. Anonymous says:

    I thought your review on Chowhound was excellent and I thought that the criticisms of your review were way out of line. A times, the sheer arrogance and mean-spiritedness is ming boggling. I see that the moderators removed your critical remarks about some of the posters. Too bad. Your review makes me WANT to visit Crustacean.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sorry you were treated so rudely on Chowhound. I used to post a lot more, but there are a few people that "run" the board- Servorg, Ispedexit and rip apart anyone new.
    Some of them post SO much, I wonder when they actually have time to ever eat! And, they don't know all that much either. I live in Laguna and when they make recs for my area, I can tell sometimes they haven't been to a place in years. I've called them out on it, but usually my posts get deleted.

  3. Thank you both for your kind words and support. I was equally disenchanted by the tone and self disclosed intentions of "not playing nice" as well as the moderator interaction.

    There was no valid nor intelligent point made about the food, just personal attacks. I'd be surprised if any of the commenters actually ate there. Yes I love Newport Seafood and 101 Noodle Express, but those are different places and call for different reviews. Why compare apples and oranges?

    I am not looking for an elitist forum to debate and defend my opinions - just want to share thoughts on food I enjoyed so someone else can go and enjoy it.

    I've published each and every reader comment on this blog (outside of spam) and everyone left thoughtful and constructive feedback.

    I left Chowhound for good, to stop wasting more time and energy on nonsense. Let them battle it out as they evidently enjoy doing.

  4. Anonymous says:

    One more thing-this is the Laguna guy- I know I can drive 30 or 40 minutes to downtown Santa Ana or Little Saigon and get a cheaper meal (although I do sometimes question the quality of the ingredients), but part of the reason I live at the beach is to enjoy it here. Some people don't understand that.
    I love getting dressed up and going to nice places with beautiful ambiance. It's always a treat and I hope I never get so jaded that it isn't.

  5. Totally agree. I used to live in OC and still love Laguna Beach. I used to love dressing up and go to French 75, Javier's or Las Brisas (knowing it's not the most authentic Mexican food, but the setting makes up for it).

    Even now, I live in San Gabriel Valley with stellar, authentic Asian food, but will still drive out of area for the occasional Mr. Chow experience in Beverly Hills. It's two different things and either can be enjoyed equally.

    It's great that you can always appreciate a great meal and ambiance, wherever that may be.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The chowhound board has some very outspoken posters, good and bad. I'm not going to defend some of the more ungracious comments made towards you. But CH is structured as a conversation, not as a one off like Yelp. If you post an opinion, people will chime in. The board requires work to know what posters share the same tastes as you. But once you find those people, there's some amazing discoveries to be had. Some people like that format, others don't. Generally the people unwilling to put in the work to find out which posters they sync with are the ones that don't like the board.

    I've been on CH for years and there's some posters that drive me crazy with their attitude and there's some posters whose tastes are so far from my own, I'm highly suspicious of any recommendation they make. But in the end, I discover more good eats than not and the time spent is worth it.

    I think it rubbed some people wrong when it seemed like you blogged bombed the site looking like you were trolling for traffic. Yes, it didn't look like that was your intention but it came across that way. That probably made the initial responses sharper than they should have been. Again that's not to excuse the rudeness and ultimately the mods did get rid of those comments.

    I completely disagree that Servorg rips apart anyone new and runs them off. He's in fact one of the more welcoming ones constantly encouraging new posters and putting up info to help people. He's constantly battles for a tone to welcome posters on the site talk board.

    Ipsedixit can come across as prickly but he/she has contributed a ton of information and new eats. He/she is generally very helpful if a question is posed.

    Jase on CH

  7. tiffin unboxed says:

    Thanks for your input, Jase. I don't doubt the usefulness of the site. In my case I have some like-minded contacts who I discuss opinions and recs with, so I wasn't necessarily looking for it in CH.

    The posts followed the format to a T of a couple of other CH published comments, and had no way of knowing all the unspoken rules up front. The 'bomb' was only 7 posts, a fraction of what I've written, picked as 'neutral' (i.e. no personal relationships or agendas). My only intention was saving writing time.

    Those who harshly commented are not people whose advice I'd seek and they would serve the CH community much better by showing some respect and agreeing to disagree.

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