Restaurant: The Boiling Crab
Location: 3377 Wilshire Blvd. Ste 115, Los Angeles, CA 90010
Date: November 15, 2012
Cuisine: Cajun Seafood
Rating: Negative frills, but really tasty
Good food doesn’t always have to be fancy. My most recent Hedonist adventure was to The Boiling Crab, the Korea-Town outpost of a cajun seafood joint.
The place is located in a built up K-Town food oriented minimall.
And, boy, is it popular. This was a random Thursday and the wait was over an hour. I’ve heard that on weekends it can be 2-4!
Hedonists events require that everyone bring a bottle of wine. I brought three! Just in case. On this particular night, we had eleven people, but only a few wine drinkers. Boiling Crab doesn’t even serve wine, so I’ve learned to bring my own glasses (Riedel restaurant grade) in my rolling wine carrier. The wines are shoved in the back along with some icepacks (whites) and a bunch of cork screws and the like.
Le menu. Simple, and pretty much all market price. The market price was damn reasonable too, for example, just $17/lb for main lobster and $8/lb for blue crab!
And this is because TBC does not spend any money on extras. There are no plates. No glasses. No utensils. Food is served in plastic bags. Yes, that’s right, plastic bags. I’ve never even seen this before!
Given that this place serves seafood covered in spice, butter, and garlic, two of us brought good German Rieslings.
Parker 93, “The complex 2003 Riesling Auslese Erdener Treppchen boasts a nose of honeysuckle blossoms. Medium-bodied, supple, and silky-textured, it exhibits an expressive flavor profile composed of red fruits, pears, and spices. In addition, this luscious, pure wine possesses a long, fruit-filled finish.”
This one had a little age and a hint of classic Riesling petrol.
TBC is bib worthy. In fact, it’s the messiest restaurant I can remember eating at.
This is Dungeness Crab with Sha-Bang sauce (cajun, lemon pepper, and garlic butter). It comes just like that, crab in a bag with sauce. No utensils, you just reach in and crab the hot crab.
Then you pull it apart with your hands. They throw a couple lousy nut crackers on the table. Again, no forks. No plates! But it was delicious!
We also had a bag of king crab legs. Here’s one that escaped.
From my cellar: Parker 96, “After a performance like this for a Spatlese, the warning was hardly necessary! Donnhoff’s 2009 Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Spatlese offers a riot of herbal aromas reminiscent of but far more intense and diverse than that of the corresponding Grosses Gewachs, and here, too, accompanied by grapefruit and passion fruit in a manner that calls to mind Sauvignon. Horehound, licorice, sage, mint, black tea, nut oils, candied grapefruit rind, and crushed stone inform a silken-textured palate. As with the corresponding Brucke, there is a remarkable interactivity on display, and a depth of mineral and animal savor that goes beyond crustacean shell reduction or veal demi-glace, leaving me salivating helplessly.”
This was my Riesling, and it was considerably sweeter than the first one. In my opinion, both paired fantastically with the spicy garlic seafood.
Some really yummy cajun sausage. It didn’t even come by itself but was “in the bag” (literally) with the shrimp.
Here are the shrimp (and some refuse). Again, bag of shrimp. You have to reach in and grab them. By the time you do, your entire hand is coated to the wrist with spicy garlic butter!
Parker 93, “David Powell consistently excels with The Steading, an 8,000 case blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Shiraz. Aged 22 months in 300 liter hogsheads (foudres), it represents Australia’s version of Chateauneuf du Pape. The 2002 The Steading’s big, spicy, earthy nose reveals notions of cherry liqueur, licorice, pepper, dried Provencal herbs, raspberries, and leather. Ripe, medium to full-bodied, chewy, and heady, it is best drunk during its first 7-8 years of life, although it will last a lot longer.”
This was a nice wine, but I thought it clashed pretty badly with the food. Really any red would.
Cajun fried catfish over cajun fries. Pretty delectable, hot as Bejesus, and had a nice earthy catfish taste. Eaten with your hands, of course.
Some of the shrimp on the table. The cost savings here is passed onto the consumer: you have to de-head and de-leg and de-vein your own shrimp. They were, however, awesome, and probably even better than the crab. The sauce was literally finger licking good.
And we also had a bag of corn. It was a little mushy, but very sweet and I loved it with the salty garlic sauce.
Sweet potato fries.
Parker 94, “The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape is dominated by Grenache with major amounts of Mourvedre, Syrah and other authorized varietals. Its dense ruby/plum color is followed by aromas of smoked meats, roasted Provencal herbs, a gamy character and lots of kirsch, black currant and blue fruits. Rich and full-bodied, it is softer than most young vintages of Vieux Donjon tend to be.”
Very nice, smooth wine, but too strong for the food.
We ordered up a lobster. $42 for a 2.5 pounder!
Quite the fellow, and delicious.
Here is his tail, sitting in a bloody pool of cajun juice.
And a bit of repulsive leftovers. We had to periodically venture forth, grab some plastic bags from the counter, and then return and sweet this crap away. It’s very self serve.
But I doubt they’ve ever had a party that brings 4-5 of their own wine glasses each!
Despite the mess, this place was pretty fantastic. And what a deal, $39 all in for each person (including tax and tip). The above was food for five too! You’re paying entirely for the seafood, and nothing extra. I don’t mind the atmosphere or mess (it is what it is), but I wish there wasn’t such a long line :-). I guess nothing is too good to be true.
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At The Boiling Crab, even girls get their hands dirty (this is some random adjacent table).sharethis_button(); ?>