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Sunday, August 19, 2012

CRAB CITY - HONOLULU, HAWAII

CRAB CITY
HONOLULU, HAWAII


CRAB CITY
441 WAIALAE AVENUE
HONOLULU, HAWAII 96816
808-780-3115
HOURS: Monday thru Sunday 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM
UPDATE 8/13 - THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED

Crab City on 9th Avenue and Waialae in Kaimuki is Chef J.J. Luangkhot's latest creation in the same location where the former La Cacao Bistro stood.  We are huge fans of Chef J.J. and his flagship restaurant JJ's Bistro.  JJ and his family are among the hardest working families in the restaurant business and seem to work 24/7/365.  I was happy to see Crab City open with a different concept than JJ's Bistro type eateries.  As long as the original JJ's Bistro stays open, I am very happy.  Now onto the new Crab City.  I am a huge fan of Hot and Juicy Crawfish in Las Vegas.  They set the bar for spicy seafood served in a steaming hot bag.  These type of restaurants seem to be popping up all over Honolulu lately with Crab City, The Raging Crab and Kickin Kajun leading the way.  We went by Crab City on a Saturday evening and there were dozens of people waiting outside.  Not wanting to wait we ventured back on Sunday and found the place to be about half full.  We were greeted enthusiastically by the young staff wearing shorts and polo shirts.  The restaurant is simply decorated with crab nets, a few surfboards and several television monitors that were playing WNBA Basketball, The Food Network, A Movie and a Dog Channel.  Now I love dogs, but usually you tune into Football or Golf on a Sunday.  I asked the waitress if we could watch the Golf Channel and they quickly turned off the movie and turned on the LPGA tournament with Hawaii's own Michele Wie dressed to kill and coming on strong. One thing I will say about Crab City is that the staff is excellent.  Always smiling, offering to refill drinks and making sure we are enjoying the meal.  We ordered the Crab City Combo #1 ($48).  The Combo includes lobster, shrimp, mussels, clams, crawfish, corn and sausage.  I cannot eat mussels but there are no substitutions allowed.  All of the combos include mussels.  You can order your seafood with Cajun Spices, Butter and Garlic or Lemon Garlic Butter.  There are three heat levels;  Mild - Medium and Volcanic.  We went with the Butter and Garlic plus Volcanic hoping for some heat.  Our bag arrived steaming hot with butter and garlic oozing everywhere.  Where is the Volcanic sauce we asked the waitress.  That is it she said.  They just add crushed red pepper to the bag for spice.  Wow...we were kind of shocked because we were expecting a flavorful hot sauce like what is served at Hot and Juicy Crawfish and The Raging Crab.  The waitress offered to bring more crushed red pepper to add to the bag.  We added the peppers but the heat level was still low.  The shellfish itself was good. The lobster was large in the shell but yielded very little meat.  You need to sop up the sauce onto the lobster to get the flavor.  There was a whole potato in the bag that was not cut.  With no utensils you have to break it up with your hands and sop up the sauce as it does not pass through the skin.  The shellfish is hot and very buttery.  Wear the gloves or your hands with stink for a week.  The bib should also be worn as the sauce can get all over the place.  This is a fun way to eat family style.  Everyone just picks there favorite piece out of the bag and removes the shell before devouring.  We ordered extra Corn (.75) per piece and some White Rice ($1.50) along with Salt and Pepper Calamari ($10.99).  The Calamari is served with French Fries.  I liked the Calamari breading but it really did not have much Salt and Pepper flavor.  Served with Ranch Dressing and Ketchup.  Cocktail Sauce would be better choice. I liked the service, atmosphere and food but it lacked the "spicy" sauce that we were yearning for.  I would recommend Crab City to any seafood lover who wants to have a fun meal.  You can bring your own beer and wine here.  Having a six pack of cold ones may have kicked it up a notch.  Hope this is a huge success for the Luankhot family.

CRAB CITY ON WAIALAE AVENUE IN KAIMUKI
SIMPLE ONE PAGE MAIN DISH MENU
SIDES AND DRINK MENU
INSIDE FEATURES CRAB NETS AND HANGING SURFBOARDS
WIDE SCREEN AND SMALL TV'S ON THE WALLS
BIBS AND GLOVES ARE A MUST
READY TO DO BATTLE


LIME WITH SALT AND PEPPER FOR DIPPING SAUCE.  DID NOT GET THIS ONE.
BAG OF SHELLFISH BROUGHT TO YOUR TABLE IN BUCKETS
EVERYTHING GOES IN THE BAG AND IS MIXED WITH SPICES AND SEASONING
OPEN THE BAG - CAREFUL, THE SEAFOOD IS HOT 
CRAWFISH LOADED WITH GARLIC
SALT AND PEPPER CALAMARI
SIDE ORDER OF CORN ON THE COBB 
CRAB CITY COMBO #1
LOBSTER, MUSSELS, SHRIMP, CLAMS, CRAWFISH, CORN AND SAUSAGE
THE LOBSTER IS READY
SMALL LOBSTER TAIL FROM LARGE LOBSTER
THE AFTERMATH


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