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.
9646 S Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Neighborhood: Beverly Hills
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