If your friends aren’t talking about the Boiling Crab, they probably will be soon. The Texas-based mini-chain, which has achieved cult status in Southern California, opened its newest location a few weeks ago on the outskirts of our very own Chinatown.
The restaurant is similar in concept to our homegrown Hot N Juicy Crawfish. Shellfish, ranging from blue crab to crawfish, is boiled in seasonings and served in a plastic bag. That’s pretty much it in a crab shell.
- The Boiling Crab
- 4025 S. Decatur Blvd., 386-0808
- Monday-Friday, 3-10 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, noon-10 p.m.
Shellfish-wise, I suggest foregoing blues—Crab Corner’s are better—for buttery king crab legs. They’re sublimely paired with the DIY lime/salt/pepper mixture, even if their semisoft shells are a bit tough to tear into. Even better are the shrimp, which seemingly sponge up sauce. It’s too early for crawfish; best to wait until early next year when the mudbugs will be appreciably bigger. The brief menu also has fried options, including a memorable farm-raised catfish, but keep in mind that the place isn’t called the Fried Catfish.
Seasoning choices include Rajun Cajun, lemon pepper and garlic butter. Don’t overthink it. Just go with the Whole Sha-Bang, an addictive combination of all the flavors in a swirling tempest of tangy, buttery goodness.
The only issue on my visit: heat. The restaurant offers four options—non-spicy, mild, medium and XXX—and though I remember being staggered by the medium at my Garden Grove indoctrination, I hardly broke a sweat with the same at ours. Sure, in theory, I could step up to the XXX, but I’m not willing to risk blowing out my taste buds to find out.
Regardless, you’ll want every last spoonful of the spiced slurry. Do yourself a favor and order a side of rice to pour it on. Hell, you might just want to order rice and sauce. You heard it here first!