Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Hot Mess

The Boiling Crab
The Boiling Crab feels like a guilty pleasure, not because it’s unhealthy, but because it’s insanely messy. Here’s how it works: You drive to Koreatown, Alhambra or Rowland Heights and wait for an hour or two because this is a popular restaurant chain that doesn’t take reservations. When you’re finally seated, you’re given a bib along with your menu.

Order a cold beer and a couple appetizers. The spicy gumbo and the fried oysters are a good call. But the main attraction here is the peel ’em and eat ’em shrimp, four different kinds of crab, crawfish and lobster, all of which are ordered by the pound and placed in clear plastic bags with your choice of seasoning (Rajun Cajun, Garlic Butter and my favorite — Lemon Pepper), and boiled to perfection along with corn on the cob and spicy sausage.

When the bags arrive at your table, the real fun begins. Hands get sullied, propriety is abandoned and chaos ensues in a whirlwind of twisting, cracking, digging and consuming. At the end you’re left with a glorious mess of discarded shells, dekerneled cobs and a mountain of crumpled, sauce-drenched napkins. Give everyone at your table a high five and never speak of this experience again, especially to uptight friends or significant others who frown upon such gluttonous depravity. What happens at The Boiling Crab should stay at The Boiling Crab.

The Boiling Crab is located at 742 W. Valley Blvd. and 33 W. Main Street in Alhambra, 18902 E. Gale Ave. in Rowland Heights and 3377 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles (in Koreatown). UPDATE: The Boiling Crab has expanded quite a bit. There are now additional locations in Westwood, Albhambra, Rosemead, Woodland Hills and Burbank for you to make a mess in. Plus there’s a “Boiling Crab To Go” wing at its Koreatown location so you can make a mess at home.

Fried Oysters

Fried Oysters


Gumbo

Gumbo


Cajun Fries

Cajun Fries


Shrimp with Rajun Cajun Seasoning

Shrimp with Rajun Cajun Seasoning


Snow Crab Leg with Lemon Pepper Seasoning, Corn and Sausage

Snow Crab Legs with Lemon Pepper Seasoning, Corn and Sausage


Worth the wait

Bibs are the new must-have fashion accessory.


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Filed under Alhambra, Burbank, Koreatown, Rosemead, Rowland Heights, Westwood, Woodland Hills

Welcome to the Club

Uni Bowl
Uni (aka Sea Urchin) is one of my favorite luxury ingredients, right up there with foie gras, truffles and lobster tail. So when I heard of Maruhide Uni Club, a new Japanese restaurant in Torrance where almost every dish is made with uni, it was hard to contain my enthusiasm. I was further excited by the fact that this restaurant calls itself a “club.” If Los Angeles had an uni fan club, I could envision myself running for president, or at least sergeant-at-arms. That’s how much I love uni. Naturally I made a beeline down to the South Bay to check it out.

Maruhide Uni Club is owned by a processing company and wholesaler of Santa Barbara uni. As a result, the uni at the restaurant is super fresh and the same quality you would get from a high end sushi restaurant. It’s creamy and tastes of the ocean (but not in a fishy way) with a slight sweetness and nuttiness. Dishes at Maruhide Uni Club include an Uni Rice Bowl, Uni Soup, Shrimp and Scallop Gratin with uni on top, Uni Croquettes, Tuna and Uni Carpaccio, Uni Omlette and a Marinated Uni and Squid Roll; basically everything except for Uni Ice Cream.

But while I love the concept of the restaurant and the food was surprisingly inexpensive for the generous amounts of uni in each dish, I didn’t love Maruhide Uni Club as much as I thought I would. Despite the use of one great ingredient, the dishes I had were, on the whole, disappointing. Also, the restaurant’s decor left a lot to be desired; it looks like it was decorated by Levitz and Lamps Plus. Service was not great either. Maybe I’ll bring these things up at the next club meeting…

Maruhide Uni Club is located at 2130 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Torrance.

Scallop and Uni Carpaccio

Scallop and Uni Carpaccio


Marinated Sea Urchin with Squid Roll

Marinated Sea Urchin with Squid Roll


Sea Urchin Cream Pasta

Sea Urchin Cream Pasta


Uni to go

Uni to go


Looks like it was decorated by Levitz and Lamps Plus

Looks like it was decorated by Levitz and Lamps Plus



Maruhide Uni Club on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Torrance

Don’t Wear Your Lederhosen

Original Vienna Schnitzel with Lemon, Lingonberries and Potato Salad

Original Vienna Schnitzel with Lemon, Lingonberries and Potato Salad

BierBeisl in Beverly Hills gets an “A” for authenticity. For a place that serves sausages and beer, it has a surprisingly formal and corporate vibe that initially turned me off. It’s more like the von Trapp household when the Baron made his children march in unison to his whistle commands, then the lovefest when Julie Andrews shows up, dresses everyone in curtains and gets them singing about small white Austrian flowers. But then I remembered that the upscale restaurants I’ve dined at in Austria exude the same sort of feeling.

The food at BierBiesl is wunderbar. The star offering is the schnitzel, the national dish of Austria. Just like the schnitzel you would find in Vienna, tender veal (or pork or turkey if you prefer) is pounded flat, breaded, fried to a golden crisp and served with a lemon, tart and sweet lingonberries and potato salad. It’s salty, crunchy and über-delicious. I also recommend the sausages, especially the Kasekrainer which has melted Swiss cheese oozing out of it and is served with spicy tarragon mustard and freshly grated horseradish.

For dessert, the delicately layered Apple Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream is a must have. To drink, I recommend starting with a Stiegl Radler, which is half beer and half grapefruit soda, before moving on to one of BierBeisl’s many Austrian beers or wines. After a few drinks, you may feel the urge to start singing about small white Austrian flowers too.

BierBeisl is located at 9669 Little Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills.

Bread with Potato Spread

Bread with Potato Spread


Kasekrainer infused with Swiss Cheese and served with Tarragon Mustard and Fresh Horseradish

Kasekrainer infused with Swiss Cheese and served with Tarragon Mustard and Fresh Horseradish


Sauteed Veal Sweetbreads with Salsify, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Quail Egg, Melted Leeks and Black Truffle Oil

Sauteed Veal Sweetbreads with Salsify, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Quail Egg, Melted Leeks and Black Truffle Oil

Apple Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream

Apple Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream


Prost!

Prost!



BierBeisl Authentic Austrian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Beverly Hills