First, I’d like to start of by saying that I do LOVE Los Angeles. As some of you might know, Los Angeles and I have had a love-hate relationship for a while. There is love because of the great weather and the seemingly endless variety of people, food, drink, shopping, arts, and entertainment. There is also hate because of the high cost of living, shitty traffic, and of course, that gorgeous haze of downtown smog. Overall, though, I’d have to say I love this place far more than the trivial annoyances make me want to hate it. Of course, it also helps that I’m deeply in love with someone who enjoys experiencing Los Angeles with me, whether to fly a kite, sun bathe at the beach, or share some bourbon on the rocks at a bar while munching on appetizers.
And the creme de la creme of Los Angeles is, predictably, located in Beverly Hills (although some of you might argue for Santa Monica, Brentwood, South Pasadena or Malibu – your mileage might vary).
Located at 9646 South Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, I present to you, Crustacean.
As you enter the front doors after leaving your car with valet, you see an approximately 10 to 11 foot high aquarium with a waterfall running down the glass surface. Then, you walk through this:
If you look closely at the floor, there is indeed an aquarium embedded between the tiles.As you “walk on water” you can watch koi swim beneath you. Here is a closer look:
After going through the bar, your host or hostess will lead you through the main dining area. There you may have to cross an Asian wooden bridge to make it to the staircase leading to the second floor. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any good pictures of the main dining area online.
The whole area feels very much like being on the set of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. There are all sorts of Asian motifs, including a giant drum and bamboo fans mounted against the walls. These fans, in addition, are connected to a gear system that moves the fans backward and foward, increasing the luxurious feel of the restaurant.
Crustacean’s signature dish, one guaranteed to ALWAYS be fantastic, is their Roasted Garlic Crab. Not their Drunken Crab, not their Cracked Roasted Garlic Crab, their ROASTED GARLIC CRAB. Order anything else, and the experience just isn’t the same. You want the crab whole (not cracked) to preserve the juices inside the shell before eating. As for Drunken Crab, unless you like the taste of sake on your seafood, I would advise against it.
Granted, there are people out there who don’t like having their food stare at them. I have to say this:
Respect the crab. Look at him in the eye and thank him for giving up his life for your joy. I’m serious. Don’t be a pussy. Man up, and eat that motherfucking ecstacy on a plate. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
On the side, you also must order their specialty Garlic Noodles. A colleague of mine described the noodles as essentially perfect garlic bread in noodle form. They are highly addictive, and I am not exaggerating when I say that I can easilly eat the garlic noodles alone for dinner.
I know. It’s deceptively simple looking. You won’t believe how much flavor they pack into these seemingly innocent noodles.
The service at this restaurant is nothing short of exquisite. The waiters pull your chairs and “prepare” your crab. By “prepare,” I mean that they turn over the crab shell and place a little bit of the garlic noodles inside (like a bowl). The juices from the crab then soak into the noodles, adding to the rich flavor.
Next, if you’re wearing something nice, the waiters will politely offer a bib which they will tie around your neck for you. They come to your table frequently, to remove empty crab shells, refill your drinks, and so forth. The waiters are positively lovely. Very professional, kind, and polite.
Now here’s the doozy: the price. One person can easily spend over $80.00 at this restaurant, and that would include the crab, the garlic noodles, an alcoholic drink, and dessert. This is a pricey restaurant, not bad relative to other Beverly Hills venues, but still expensive. Nevertheless, I can say without hestitation that dining here is worth every penny.
In short, if you like seafood, this place is sure to induce foodgasm. It might take you a couple of hours to recover. It certainly took me a while to stop smiling like a crazy person and professing the urgent need to cry. Yes, it’s nirvana. There’s nothing else that can succinctly describe it.
Scale: OMG I CAN DIE NOW -> Pretty Awesome -> Good -> Okay -> Yikes! -> RUNAWAY!
FOOD: OMG I CAN DIE NOW
SERVICE: OMG I CAN DIE NOW
AMBIANCE: OMG I CAN DIE NOW
WAIT TIME: Pretty Awesome
Disclaimer: None of the pictures above are mine. As usual, I took them from Google images. Yeah, I know. I really should start bringing my digital camera wherever I go.