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Jul 31, 2008 08:58 PM

Crab Pit on La Brea

Since moving, we've been on a quest to try all of the neighborhood places:

Tonight, we tried the Crab Pit. Never again.

We arrived about ten minutes before 8. We ordered at the register: Shrimp in garlic/herb dinner, shrimp & crab combo, kid's plate with a turkey taco, fries, and a "surprise" (which turned out to be...nothing). The two grown up dinners came with garlic bread, corn, and rice.

When we ordered, I asked, "What happens when the food is ready? Do you bring it to the table or call us up?" The cashier informed me that we would be called to pick up the food. OK, easy enough. So ten minutes later, at about 8:05, they call our name. At the register, our food is waiting in bags.

"Why is the food bagged up?"

"Because we're about to close."

It's almost a full hour before closing time, which I politely point out. "Well, we have to start cleaning the place up now."

Um, no. Ridiculous. And the offer to get some paper plates and eat in? Not very appealing. Especially because the cashier kept arguing that they were going to clean while we ate. It was clearly just the cashier and a cook, so I ask for the number of the owner or manager. After a minute of being argumentative with me, the cashier writes a name and number down on the back of a receipt and hands it to me. We leave.

It wasn't until I walked out to the car that I realize she left me a 6-digit number. Classy. I walk back in and point it out, she recites a number, so I fill in the missing number. I call on our way home and speak with the owner who was polite and apologetic. Apparently the last dine-in order can be taken until 8:30, so the cashier was clearly in the wrong. And the crap about cleaning up? I don't know, and neither did the owner. Obviously an excuse.

So we get home, and I'm hopeful the food will at least taste good and it'll make up for the hassle.

No such luck. Food was horrendous. The shrimp was floating in a bland, gelatinous goop. I am someone who appreciates seafood which is cooked just right, i.e. not overcooked, but this was not cooked enough. It was still too translucent. It needed at least another minute. The garlic toast was old, stale, and underseasoned. The corn was so overcooked it was beige, and tasted like mush. The rice, on the other hand, was UNDERCOOKED and oily. The kernels weren't merely firm or al dente; some were downright crunchy. The flavor of the crab was terrible. The fries with my son's food had been sitting out for too long, and cooked in what tasted like stale oil. His turkey taco was decent, but considering the number of excellent taco joints we have within five minutes, it wasn't enough to make this place a destination.

On one hand, I was tempted to call back the owner and report what had happened. But it dawned on me that it wouldn't be worth it; the issues are insurmountable. This isn't merely a matter of one or two things, it was everything.

I love the "dive joint" idea, and when well executed it can be a very satisfying experience. So I had high hopes that this place would be good. But $40 and a bad meal later, this was no "gem dive joint". It was just bad.

Crab Pit
1220 N La Brea Ave, Inglewood, CA 90302

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  1. Go up the street to Bayou Grill, it is a few blocks north, maybe several, on the north east corner. There is also a Creole place on Slauson & Overhill, La Louisianne.

    Bayou Grill
    1400 N La Brea Ave, Inglewood, CA 90302

    2 Replies
    1. re: Burger Boy

      Thanks for those reminders - I've been meaning to try both places.

      1. re: Faulkner99

        They are close by. You also have Phillipe's BBQ on Centinella and right next to it is the Cheesecake Lady, never been but I hear she makes good ones. Chow Down Baby!

    2. sorry for such a horrible experience. thanks for reporting it, you saved some hounders from similar future experiences and, hopefully, from leaving more money in their registers. places like that shouldn't last or be around. more like crap bit than crab pit.

      1. Yikes! You are a nominee for worst Chowhound dining experience of the year. Thanks for the warning. I've driven past the place before and was intrigued by their "famous refrigerator lemon pie" they have listed outside. As for seafood in the area....I've been to the Gumbo Shack (on Market just south of Florence) and it was fine by me (but I don't eat in the more expensive/classier places as a rule. Someone who lives in Inglewood told me Bourbon Street (near the Forum) is better. Just hearsay though and they told me Porky's wasn't that good too (so there credibility is somewhat in doubt).

        1 Reply
        1. re: Feed_me

          We enjoyed Porky's. Bourbon Street is on our list to try, as is Gumbo Shack.

        2. For great seafood go to the Redondo Beach pier and get some fresh cooked goodies at Quality Seafood. Be prepared fore crowds on the weekends. Bring your own mallet to crack open some crabs.

          Quality Seafood
          130 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA

          1 Reply
          1. re: JEN10

            We like Quality Seafood and hit them up once every couple of months. No need to bring your own mallet - they loan them out there.

            The reason we went to Crab Pit was because it's close.

          2. Thanks for the report Faulkner99. I pass by this place everyday on my way home from work. I have always wondered about it. I wasn't sure if it was open or not, I never see anyone outside of the joint eating.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Amy Amy

              We drive past often, and I always wondered about the lack of people too. Know we know. I can't understand how they manage to stay open though.