Based on Mmm-yoso’s blog, I gathered up some coworkers and we ventured here for lunch.
I have to say, first off, that the shopping center Crab Hut is located in is one of the worst for parking. ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE PARKING. 1) Asian drivers (and yes, I can say this cuz I’m an Asian driver myself) 2) not enough spaces 3) ASIAN DRIVERS!!! Once in a blue moon, you might find a spot but most likely it’ll be small and hard to get in/out of. Save yourself the headache and just park on the street.
Crab Hut is a Vietnamese-owned place that serves up Cajun-style seafood boils. Yeah, weird. But that’s what it is. There’s a huge neon sign in the window boasting Lousiana crawfish. When we walked in, we were immediately greeted and seated. The restaurant was practically empty so this place isn’t a big hit for lunch. We found out why later on. The interior was very clean and decorated with a fishing village island-type motif. Anyways, the waiter took our drink orders and explained the menu and made suggestions since we were newbies. Really helpful and friendly.
The way Crab Hut operates is you order your seafood of choice by the pound with the exception of shrimp which you can order by the 1/2lb. They offer up shrimp, live and frozen crawfish, a shrimp and crawfish mix, whole Blue and Dungeness crab, Snow and King crab legs, clams and mussels. The crawfish comes with sausage and corn. Everything else is just the seafood. There’s a selection of sides that you can add on for extra including Cajun fries, sweet potato fries, garlic bread, corn and rice. After you select your seafood, you select a “flavor” – Cajun Sensation, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Butter, Full House, Old Bay and Plain (Boil Only). Then you select your degree of hotness – mild, 1/2 medium, medium, hot, K.O. If you want to start off with some appetizers, you can order some fresh oysters, fried catfish, shrimp cocktail, crabcakes, fried calamari and other things.
Our party of four all ordered the same thing – 1lb of the shrimp & crawfish mix with the “Full House” seasoning at varying degrees of hotness; I went with medium. We also got Cajun and sweet potato fries which arrived first. The sweet potato fries were good and a little overcooked to give it a little extra crunch which was nice, but without burning them. The Cajun fries were the frozen crinkle-cut kind that you got in the elemetary school cafeteria only sprinkled with cajun seasoning. I -LOVED- these. I dunno why but I just adore crinkle-cut fries. And waffle-cut as well. But there’s just something in me that regresses back into a little kid when I have crinkle-cut fries. The Cajun seasoning brought me back to adulthood, though. The fries were nicely cooked and not at all soggy like how they were in the cafeteria. Fabulous!
Our bags of bugs arrived and when I opened mine, I could smell the seasoning…and a little bit of spice. I started with the crawfish. I had never had these whole before and got a little weirded out. They looked a bit…creepy. But I got over it and quickly figured out a shelling technique. Rip off the heads, suck out the juices and then shell the tail and nyom nyom nyom. The only problems with that strategy were 1)the Medium Full House ended up having the sort of spicy kick that hits the back of your throat if you inhale too much. 2) The crawfish tails were tiny so technically, all you got was more like nyom. The crawfish was nice and juicy if small but the Full House was a very powerful seasoning so I didn’t really taste the crawfish at all. Overall, the amount of effort vs. the amout of meat made me decide I’ll stick to crawfish in other forms. The shrimp, however, was a bit of a different story. It had the same issue with the Full House flavoring overpowering it but the size of the shrimps were great and they weren’t as hard to shell. The medium spiciness builds so by the end of lunch, my lips were a little tingly. I don’t think I’d go any hotter than medium.
Now, I mentioned why this place wasn’t that crowded during lunch. I’m guessing it’s because eating here is MESSY. Crab Hut supplies everyone with giant plastic bibs and towelettes and there is a roll of paper towels on each table. This is not a place for dainty eaters. As you can see, we went thru quite a bit of paper towels…and crawfish n’ shrimp. 🙂 And we were trying to be neat!
As for cost, this place was not bad. The shrimp/crawfish mix goes for $8.99/lb. Given that this was all shrimp n’ crawfish, this was a deal! You could go to Red Lobster and end up spending $18 on a 2-skewer shrimp entrée or something like that.
I give Crab Hut 3 1/2 NOMs. Not the greatest seafood boil but a great value for what you get and pretty decent taste-wise. The parking situation gets a big fat hairball, though.
4646 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
Filed under: 3 NOMs, cajun/creole, restaurant review, San Diego, seafood | Tagged: 3 NOMs, appetizer, asian, Cajun, clams, Convoy Street, crab, crab legs, crawfish, dinner, food review, lunch, mussels, oysters, restaurant review, San Diego, seafood, seafood boil, shrimp |