Beverly Hills: Beautiful Meal with Cocktails at Crustacean
The first time I heard about Crustacean I was 18. One of my college roommates went with her boyfriend for Valentine’s day. I forever associated it with special occasions from that point forward. I would occasionally see Crustacean at food festivals. Garlic noodles are a must!
Then Crustacean closed for a renovation that lasted months. It reopened earlier this year. I spoke with owner Helene An regarding the closure but all the hard work paid off. The dining room is beautiful. I love the soft pink and gray room. And now Chef Tony Nguyen runs the kitchen. The menu is a mixture of classic Crustacean dishes created by Helene and the House of An with some fresh soon-to-be-classics.
We started with a couple of cocktails. Both my friend and I wanted the Hightea Penicillin so one of us got the Artichoke Old Fashioned to share. The Hightea Penicillin has a wonderful presentation as it’s a smoked drink with a black tea and lavender cloud. Very aromatic.
Artichoke Old Fashioned – Woodford Reserve bourbon, Martell Blue Swift cognac, Cynar, 5 spice demarara, bitters
Hightea Penicillin – black tea-infused Chivas Regal 18 Scotch whisky, ginger syrup, honey syrup, lemon, black tea and lavender cloud
Next, more smoke! The tuna cigars are presented in a cigar box and have caviar studded tips. Really tasty and fun presentation!
I was looking forward to the artichoke yellowtail which turned out to be sashimi with crispy artichoke. The “soup” is poured tableside.
I really enjoy all the oohs and ahhs of such presentation. Between the cocktails and the first two dishes, you already have a dinner plus show!
Next we had a delicate hearts of palm salad. It looked like a heaping big mound but we polished our plates within minutes. The tasty salad disappeared quickly.
We could have gotten the pho broth dumplings but the signature is the braised lamb dumplings. Ohhhhh, the consomme for the dishes is so rich and velvety. And the dumplings had such wonderful braised and tender lamb.
Chef Tony sent out the “crab cake” which is vegan as it’s just made with hearts of palm. We really enjoyed this dish and my dining companion said it was his favorite thing he ate. The palm had a perfect texture.
My friend switched to wine while I had another cocktail. I wanted something light to go with the food. I chose the Turmeric Mule which was delicious. I already love Boodles gin and this felt Asian (and could go with Asian food) without seeming too cutesy.
Turmeric Mule – Boodles gin, turmeric syrup, ginger syrup, lemon, lime, saline, soda water
The ribeye was A5 Wagyu. Their beef has been certified and just melted instantly after a brief encounter with the Himalayan salt block.
With the steak, we had XO fried rice and Chinese long beans. We were getting quite full. The rice and beans are even better the next day! But you bet we ate all the delicious steak the night of.
We could have gotten the crab in shell which I think makes a fun presentation but it is a lot of work. And I was glad Crustacean offers the crab shelled for easy and delicious eating.
As mentioned, I’ve tasted the famous garlic noodles at various food festivals through the years. I was happy to finally try them at the restaurant. They are even better when you’re seated!
For a finale, we had the chocolate flourless cake with ice cream that was made tableside.
While very special, I can see myself returning to Crustacean frequently to try all the new dishes and also to grab a cocktail or two in the beautiful bar. Yes, it’s a special occasion place but any night could be a special occasion with the right friend enjoying the meal with you.
© 2018 The Minty