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Crabulous -- that new Cajun Asian seafood place in SGV

I'm a huge fan of the crabs and crawfish at the Boiling Crab in Garden Grove, when they're in season and not teeny tiny, but the drive from Silver Lake is at least 45 minutes and I'm a demon on the road.

Now we have another choice for spicy Cajun seafood. I went to Crabulous for the first time the other night, pretty damn good, and only 15 minutes from Silver Lake.

The menu at Crabulous is much like the Boiling Crab but the seasoning is not as spicy so order a level above what you would at BC. Crabulous also serves more stuff then BC, onion rings, fries, mussels, clams. But they're still waiting for the liquor license and it is NOT byob.

The decor isn't as fun as BC, and it's smaller, but the cheesy music is the same and so are the pretty girls.

http://www.crabulousrestaurant.com/

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  1. The no liquor license is a deal breaker, sounds yummy though.

    1. Sounds very intriguing, I could probably make it through a meal without beer. And the name is borderline disgusting!
      I'm up for it. Too bad the website is kinda funky, no menu.
      So did you get crab, or crawfish, or both?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chowpatty

        I asked the very young host if we could bring beer and he said NO.

        Blue crabs aren't in season yet I guess and those are the only crabs I eat. So we had crawfish --tiny for probably another month. Shrimp with the head -- very good. Clams -- seemed fresh but since Cjauns don't eat clams the seasoning was a bad match.

        The sausage was awesome so was the gumbo. You are supposed to get free corn but our's never showed up. Just like the Boiling Crab this place is run but teenagers who try their best to be polite but are still teenagers.

      2. hershey is the crawfish boil already arrive with sausage in there or what?

        1. Want to go today for lunch...can I smuggle in a twelve pack of red hook ale?

          1. I was there last night with two friends. They had run out several menu items, and the service was quite slow (but friendly). Nonetheless, we really enjoyed it. Ordered shrimp, clams, calamari and fried catfish, all good. We ordered the hottest 'suicide' spiciness level, which was too hot for one of us. Looking forward to going back and actually getting some crab.

            By the way, can anyone give me a thumbnail explanation about how this kind of place has become a hot hangout for Asian-American teens? the place was packed with them. I find it impossible to imagine Anglo kids going out in groups for this kind of messy, intense food on a Saturday night. Is it just an SoCal thing or what?

            12 Replies
            1. re: mcsmcs

              Cute Asian girls dressed all in white eating midbugs with their hands -- crazy!

              1. re: mcsmcs

                this is very much a socal thing that originated in westminster/little saigon with some vietnamese american young'ins who went back home to louisiana and had a brainstorm a couple of years back. it caught on like a santa ana brushfire in the tejon pass among college-age asian americans (probably because of the community, demographic, and age of the original proprietors) from UCI, Cal State Long Beach, etc. and there you have it.

                1. re: rameniac

                  I am doubtful that this phenomenon originated in little Saigon or SoCal in general. I'm Vietnamese-American and grew up in Houston, where the Cajun culinary influence is strong with Louisiana just across the border and the Vietnamese population is even stronger. Over 15 years ago, most of our crawfish joints were already populated predominantly by Asian teens, myself included. That being said, I'll have to visit Crabulous and see if I can't relive some of my youth. I hope it will be as yummy as I remember. So far, none of the crawfish in SoCal can compare to that I've had in Texas or Louisiana.

                  1. re: hch_nguyen

                    i'll take your word for it, as i'm definitely not surprised if places like this already exist in houston or louisiana. my friend from new orleans says that crawfish boils are traditionally home cooking, so you don't find many restaurants that typically do it. but if the asian american communities out there have adopted it, then that's awesome. it's pretty new to L.A. that's for sure, and i think outside of the gulf coast you'd have a hard time finding anything similar!

                    1. re: rameniac

                      The truth is I think cajun/creole cuisine in general finds its roots as "home cooking" (crawfish are called mudbugs after all), but I've never had any problem finding any rendition of it in restaurants in New Orleans, including piping hot freshly boiled crawfish. We live in a world of commercialization and New Orleans is no stranger to it, i.e. jazz, Mardi Gras. In fact, many foods originate as home cooking not just cajun, but you would be hard-pressed not to find them being pandered in some restaurant somewhere. As soon as I cross the border into Louisiana on the 10, I start seeing those billboards coaxing me to stop on in for some original Louisiana "homestyle" cookin' and my mouth starts to water .

                      Now if I could only find a place in SoCal that does decent beignets.....Want to see more young Asians congregating???? Stop in any beignet shop in Houston.....That trend has not made it here yet. The beignets I ordered in a bakery in Little Saigon last year were an abomination. Also, the famed Cafe du Monde market square in New Orleans is teeming with Vietnamese also, workers as well as patrons. To accompany our beignets, we love coffee (cafe sua da) by way of the French during colonization, so you see the indirect connection there between cajun and Vietnamese.

                      1. re: hch_nguyen

                        i've been to cafe du mond a long time ago... not a huge fan of sweets so i can't say or recall how they compare, but the beignets at the gumbo pot (in the farmer's market at the grove) do fine for me. whenever tourists are in town i usually take them there and we all wind up with facefuls of white powdery stuff like rockstars in a limousine.

                        1. re: rameniac

                          I also enjoyed the beignets at cafe du monde, even though it was way over-powdered, for me. the chicory coffee was good too. I also really like the beignets at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney. No congregation of any sort of asian teens yet. But we shall see, I guess.

                          1. re: slacker

                            Where is this Jazz Kitchen? Is it at the Disney Concert Hall (the Frank Gehry thing on Spring and Hope)?

                            If it's true, one of the great missing pieces of my LA food puzzle has been found and I am surely in your debt!

                            1. re: ttriche

                              Downtown Disney is the shopping area adjacent to Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure.

                              Never tried the beignets at Brennan's though - had their sandwiches, which are so-so.

                              I'm happy with the versions at the Gumbo Pot and Commander's Palace at Vegas.

                        2. re: hch_nguyen

                          I haven't had a decent beignet out here, at all, anywhere. Have you?

                          The closest place I can think of is Bardia's in Adams Morgan (Washington, DC), and the last time I checked, New Orleans (and Cafe du Monde) was on the way there ;-)

                          Sometimes I actually miss DC.

                          1. re: ttriche

                            Sorry I can't say as I have :( Beignets are definitely one area where my hometown has L.A. trumped. I think I have an idea for an excellent SoCal business venture and where to promote it :)

                          2. re: hch_nguyen

                            Ca phe sua nong with a fresh beignet sounds like my idea of the coffee shop in heaven.

                  2. just a tip! you might want to call crabulous ahead to make sure they're open before you go. we stopped by at 1 pm saturday and sadly, sadly found the restaurant dark. luckily, while we were hanging around contemplating where to go next, the crabulous staff pulled up in their cars.

                    apparently, the seafood shipment came in late that day, so they had to open later. they apologized and told us to come back in a half hour. we did...and loved the crawfish, shrimp, clams and fried seafood platter that we tried. my favorite actually was the corn on the cob boiled along with the seafood in their spicy, garlicky sauce.

                    re: the asian american teens + crabulous phenom -- i don't think it's a socal thing. not presuming to speak for all asian americans. but for me, food was such a huge part of the culture i grew up in. everything seemed to be centered around it! family get togethers, hanging out with friends etc. so i'm not so surprised that asian american teens would be into it!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: lnbish

                      ahh we must of sat next to each other we got there 1:30ish and they just opened the door. We had calamari which was very tender and good and two pounds of crawfish suicide hot and was good and spicy. We will be back for more....

                      1. re: monkey

                        funny! we were the table of three. yeah, we'll be back too to try the crab and oysters (which were still on their way in shipping wise when they opened).

                    2. we are the family of three with the flirty one year old....

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: monkey

                        haha. your one year old was so cute!

                      2. We knew you were chowhounders since you took pictures and ordered so much food!!!!

                        1. I don't understand why people are posting that blue crabs are out of season. They're easily available at the asian markets.

                          1. monkey: ha. dead giveaways!! we always embarrass ourselves by our gluttony.

                            markethej: hmm...i'm not sure when crab season is. the crabulous folks told us there was a storm on the east coast, which was why their blue crabs didn't come in.

                            1. Haven't been to Boiling Crab. Can you please describe the crab preparation/sauce? Is it like Old Bay Seasoning?

                              The website doesn't have a menu (that I can see). What are the prices like?

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: notmartha

                                $6.99/lb for blue crab, $7.99/lb for crawfish, $8.99/lb for Dungeness, the night we went

                                It's not dirt cheap but it is good. I ordered my stuff "suicide" spicy and my wife got the regular spicy. We felt that the "suicide" level was actually zesty while the regular spicy was boring.

                                The mudbugs were great, especially with the sausage and corn thrown into the bag. The blue crab was not good on the night we went, I would not order that again. The fish fry was quite tasty, and the gumbo was good as well (although hardly earth-shattering).

                                all in all it is a good option which I am very happy to have nearby (near Pasadena that is)

                                1. re: ttriche

                                  Thanks! When you say spicy is it just chili or is it Old Bay? I wanted to know because I can't stand old bay seasoning...

                                  1. re: notmartha

                                    I don't recall it having the cinnamon/allspice taste of Old Bay, which I find inoffensive but distinctive. I asked for 'suicide, madness' as the spicing combination, which I think ends up meaning 'throw a lot of everything in there and then add a pinch of cayenne'. The seasonings involved butter, cayenne pepper, and lemon, at least.

                                    It was most certainly not suicidal; I've made spicier omelettes. Then again, most of my friends and family regard my proclamations of anything being 'mild' with suspicion. I once ordered a papaya salad in in Vientiane, Laos, which the waiter himself (almost a gallon of Beer Lao later) confided that he would not have touched. If you are familiar with Isaan food, this should provide a reference point for what I will and will not eat. However, I prefer to be able to taste the food, while the spices provide the zest that makes a meal exciting.

                                    The spices at Crabulous are zesty and serve the purpose of Cajun spicing -- to highlight the flavors without overpowering the average palate. I don't think I would have enjoyed Old Bay on the mudbugs, but the butter + lemon + spices were good.

                              2. Did anyone notice if they have soft shelled crabs (my favorite) on the menu. It's not the season for them now (usually in the fall). So, they might not show up yet.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: LuigiOrtega

                                  Soft shelled crabs would be my clincher, especially if they have 'em grilled over an open flame. YUM.

                                  Isn't Old Bay more of an East Coast thing, not a Gulf Coast spice? I don't know, so I'm curious as well also to see if they use Old Bay.

                                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                                    I think OLD BAY SEASONING tastes strongly of celery seed/salt -- that's probably what you DON"T like about it. None of these above mentoined places serve a sauce that tastes like celery seed.

                                    1. re: Hershey Bomar

                                      Thanks ttriche & Hershey for your answers. Yes it's celery salt in Old Bay I object to - just want to double check. Fine with general cajun spices. Now I know it's safe to try. ;)

                                    2. re: SauceSupreme

                                      yea old bay is from chesapeake bay in maryland. these crawfish/crab places are a different genre... there are cajun spices (cayenne pepper, etc.) and garlic and butter up the wazoo, but nothing like what you'd find in maryland hardshells...

                                      1. re: rameniac

                                        Having spent my childhood in Maryland, I would like to point out that the blue crabs at Crabulous were nothing whatsoever like the ones I enjoyed back then.

                                        I'd strongly dis-recommend the blue crabs if they are consistently as sketchy as the ones we had, and instead suggest ordering numerous extra pounds of mudbugs (crawfish) with extra sausage and corn on the cob thrown into the bag. Those were great! And they did not suffer by comparison to Louisiana or Mississippi (where my family is originally from) except that they were smaller than the monsters in the Gulf.

                                        1. re: ttriche

                                          the few times i've been to crabulous so far, the blue crab has been unavailable. i asked if they were just sold out, but the waiter said that they weren't as good as they should be/in season or whatever, so i assume there's at least a modicum of quality control.

                                          i've had the blue crab at crawfish house (in westminster) once, and it was pretty good. like you said, nothing like the hardshells in DC, but it was good in its own right when mixed in with the big pile o' bugs.

                                          1. re: ttriche

                                            Crawfish are still coming into season. They should be getting bigger ones.

                                            As to blue crabs -- the Boiling Crab is the closest thing I've had to what I grew up eating every summer in DE. I would never complain. We are lucky they are as good as they are.

                                          2. re: rameniac

                                            Yes, in New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana folk mostly use Zatarain's seasoning.

                                      2. One other thing -- if you get a soft drink, dispose of it, and replace it with a more appropriate beverage (which would be beer), they won't throw you out or give you any shit. We verified this. Just don't ask them to participate in the chicanery while they are trying to get a liquor license.

                                        1. Went there this weekend and the food was good. I thought the prices were very reasonable considering it's fresh seafood.

                                          The only nit is the fried calarmari. Very chewy. Fries were good.

                                          Ordered crawfish with spicy everything, and clams with mild garlic butter. I really can't tell the difference in taste or level of spiciness between the two. Actually both tasted very garlicky and spicy to me. Good thing I like garlic!

                                          Never been to this kind of cajun seafood boil places, so I was kind of surprised when they served us the food in plastic bags, and didn't provide any plates. Of course I wasn't prepared for the messiness by wearing appropriate clothes. Next time I go I will wear something more disposable/washable.

                                          So what other things on the menu is worth ordering? The fried fish, rice, gumbo? Anyone tried the Dungeness crab there?

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: notmartha

                                            is the crawfish boiled witht the sausage or can you get it withouts?

                                            1. re: kevin

                                              You can get it without, although what's the point ;-)

                                              (In all seriousness, the corn-on-the-cob and sausage taste much better when thrown into the bag with the mudbugs, and the mudbugs are so flavorful that I didn't notice the difference with/without sausage. But, it's your call.)

                                              1. re: kevin

                                                The menu stated that if you get 2 lbs of crawfish you get 1 corn and 2 (little) pieces of sausages. I am sure you can always omit. They recommend 1.5 lbs per person.

                                              2. re: notmartha

                                                I loved the gumbo! Much better than the gumbo at Boiling Crab.

                                                1. re: Hershey Bomar

                                                  Thanks! They were out of gumbo but we'll definitely try next time.

                                                  1. re: notmartha

                                                    I'm going back tonight!

                                                    This time I'm gonna get everything really spicy -- it was a little to tame last time.

                                                    1. re: Hershey Bomar

                                                      Good for you! I'm heading back in 2 weeks - to take my seafood crazed parents to check it out.

                                                      The first few bites got me, but the funny thing is after that I didn't really notice the spiciness as much as the garlic. They really need the alcohol license.

                                              3. This is my second posting (if you count the other Crabulous thread on Chowhound), but since I had first heard of Crabulous on Chowhound, I felt I needed to post my experience there tonight. I got there with a friend around 7:30 P.M. tonight (Saturday), and there were 3 empty tables. The chalkboard also listed that they were out of dungeness crab, gumbo, and something else. That was a portent of things to come.

                                                After waiting about 45 minutes, we noticed that 2 tables which had arrived before us had not been served yet. Right at an hour, those tables started being served with their orders. The lone waitress then comes up to us and tells us that they lost our order, but she would put our order first if we were to re-order. I asked her if she remembered what we had ordered, and she said no, but they were out of crawfish. She then asked if we wanted to go to another restaurant.

                                                At that point, I stood up, and said we were leaving. I didn't see a point in talking to the manager, as I never want to patronize that place again. That was absolutely the worst service I have ever had.

                                                We packed up and drove to the Boiling Crab, which, unfortunately, had a 45 minute wait for a table (both the one on Euclid and the one on Brookhurst were packed). We were too hungry to wait any longer, so we grabbed dinner at a random Vietnamese restaurant on Brookhurst.

                                                Wow, absolutely HORRIBLE.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: YungDotCom

                                                  So sorry to hear...Next time, go to the Cajun Corner. I don't think it's as crowded because it's fairly new. It's at brookhurst & mcfadden. Some people say their crawfish isn't big but when I went, they were huge and tender. I just went last week and it was excellent!

                                                  1. re: ceejoi

                                                    I've been meaning to try out Boiling Crab but I can't bear the thought of waiting over an hour to eat. So we went over to Cajun Corner on Friday around 7pm. Absolutely no wait at all. The crawfish were pretty big and tasty. Oysters were good too.

                                                    1. re: MeowMixx

                                                      I usually on wait a few minutes at BC.

                                                  2. re: YungDotCom

                                                    i tried to go there last night but there was a sign on the door that said "sorry, we close at 5pm." i was like what the heck? could they be a little more specific at least? was it just for Easter? or do they mean daily? fairly unprofessional if you ask me.

                                                    at any rate, boiling crab is coming to alhambra!

                                                    1. re: rameniac

                                                      hey rameniac,

                                                      check out this post: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/389731

                                                      There will be a Boiling Crab opening soon in the SGV area....

                                                  3. I was driving down Valley Blvd in Alhambra and saw a place that was opening called "Boiling Crab". I don't know if this is a branch of the place that you go to in Garden Grove. I think the place I saw was on Valley between Garfield and Atlantic and would be closer for you.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: issey

                                                      Awesome news -- Boiling Crab seems to have management that can actually run a restaurant. I felt bad for the kids at Crabulous but it was kind of obvious that they were in for a struggle. (I wonder if they greased the right palms for their liquor license, for example ;-))

                                                      Plus the Boiling Crab location is closer to us as well. Thanks for the heads up!

                                                    2. The seasoning is good, but I've noticed that when I order 1 pound of Crawfish or Shrimp it looks smaller than Boiling Crab or Cajun Corner.

                                                      1. if crabulous gets their act together and stops running out of food or closing when they should be open, i might give them another chance.