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Apr 2, 2001 11:59 PM

why is crustacean popular????

  • j

i've eaten at crustacean three times, all on someone (business) else's dollar, and have come away disappointed each time. while the ambiance is sort of nice (la restaurants don't seem to spend a lot of money on decor, or fantasy), the food was dismal...especially the "famous" garlic noodles with dungeness crab/prawns. each time i ordered them (all 3 times) the shellfish was overcooked and leathery, with a gross, oily coating. as for the noodles, yuck!!! i'll go to mandarin deli instead for 1/8 of the price.

the appetizers were ok, wine list nice but pricey.

can someone please explain why this restaurant is popular (in the same vein, cheesecake factory, crazy fish)



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  1. John, I could not agree more with your sentiment. I was brought there for dinner by a friend who swore this was the best food in LA. The garlic noodles were just as you described-a total mess of botched flavors and greasy textures. The lobster dish was so tough and overcooked it might as well have been lobster jerky. A couple other apps were mediocre at best, but a joke for nearly (or over) $20 a shot. My friend, a foodie-not a chowhound-was very embarrased as I could not hide my displeasure. Service? What service? I never saw the bill, but I'm quite sure it was very expensive.

    When I asked our waiter what the deal was he said that the chef had a group of "high end" customers in the house-hollywood celebs and film producers. This is supposed to be an excuse? The implication was that we were peasants and they could care less what we thought.
    I will not be going back. The next time my friend and I went out I suggested Matsuhisa for the Omakase. Now that was a dinner to rave about (and it quickly illustrated to my companion that crustacean was not even in the running for best anything).

    I think the problem here is 1)many people believe hype about restaurants and are unwilling to eat critically and 2)as with many other places in LA people go there to be seen rather than to have good food (a fact that allows many bad places to remain open when they should go down in flames). I don't know if you agree with this but thats my take on it.

    Thanks for your comments and confirmation of my impression of the food at Crud-station.

    peace and grub y'all

    3 Replies
    1. re: JustinRush

      I thoroughly agree about Crustacean. I had seen reviews indicating that the food was Vietnamese. That's a joke. But I think that is the problem with many of the so-called "fine" restaurants in L.A. Many of them cater to the "Hollywood crowd" who are more interested in being seen and seeing than they are in eating. Pity.

      1. re: Kit H.

        I just want to put in my vote of agreement to all the comments on Crustacean. I too tried the self-proclamed "Famous" Garlic Noodles, and which was a limp, greasy and tasteless dish. The house specialty crab dosen't hold a candle to a San Gabriel Valley treat which is half the cost. I'm not compelled to go back at all.

        I also think that Crustacean does cater to the jet setting "see and be seen" folks with more money than tastebuds (and probably brains). I say they can have it.

        There was a comment on an earlier thread on the restaurant, where the poster said that the name Crustacean must be Vietnamese for "red lobster".

        1. re: Kit H.

          I don't think it's the Hollywood scene that makes Crustacean so bad. I've eaten at the one in San Francisco, and it is just as tired and exhausted as the Beverly Hills location. Yet, people flock to it, too. I think it might be the "Stinking Rose" of Vietnamese restaurants. Also, that "secret kitchen" stuff is really hokey.

      2. I went to Crustacean a few months after it opened and was treated miserably. We had reservations, but the restaurant was quite crowded. They gave us what seemingly was a great table above the recessed pit of the rest of the restaurant overlooking everything. The only problem was the cd player was located in a niche directly in back of my friend's seat. Every 20 minutes, when the CD was over, someone made my friend
        push in her seat and opened up the little hatch to change the CD. The host actually cracked her in the back at one point, by accident. We complained and they wouldn't change our seating arrangement.

        Suffice it to say I've never been back, and I don't remember a thing that I ate there because we were disturbed so many times during the meal. I do remember thinking that the food was nothing special, at all.