Much more than just a noodle house at Crustacean Beverly Hills
December 1, 2012
BEVERLY HILLS, USA – I have two words for you: garlic noodles. It’s impossible to talk about Crustacean, Beverly Hills’s Vietnamese hotspot, without starting right there. The An family, which owns the restaurant, closely guards their top-secret recipe for this addictive, buttery-garlicky noodle dish, and with good reason. Once you’re hooked, you won’t be able to get them anywhere else.
It’s funny in a way that a dish so rustic and simple could be the pièce de résistance for such a posh eatery. The impressive décor begins with the glass-covered stream of koi that snakes through the bar, while the two-tier dining room is a faithful reconstruction of a grand French colonial-style Hanoi mansion. This “House of An” is really a family affair, with chef Helene An responsible for creating the menu and interior design courtesy of daughter Elizabeth An.
The Euro-Vietnamese flair extends to the menu, where those garlic noodles are an excellent accompaniment to the “Drunken Crab”–a whole Dungeness crab simmered in sake. As you might expect, crustaceans are a strong suit here, and there’s a whole Maine lobster and colossal tiger prawns on offer as well. The rest of the menu breaks down into small plates like the crispy rice paper rolls filled with chicken and black mushrooms, and larger plates like the filet mignon with ponzu glaze. Vegetarians will thrill to a whole section dedicated to light veggie dishes. Desserts like the mille feuille (chocolate puff pastry layered with chocolate cream) tend toward the French side of the fusion equation, but the noodles, not the sweets, are what prove most habit forming–they can be ordered on the side with any meal.
If you can tear yourself away from your noodle bowl long enough to take a look around, there are some mighty fine views. Skip the outdoor terrace for the atmospheric balcony or koi-side bar (which serves great martinis), where the see-and-be-seen types congregate. There’s always a smattering of celebs within the well-heeled Beverly Hills crowd, and tables tend to be super cramped (more room, please!). So be prepared for your too-close-for-comfort neighbors to be craning their necks to see who’s behind you.
While evenings are the most sizzling, this is also a fun lunch spot if you’re hitting the shops on Rodeo. A relaxed designer look (hip label jeans, sleek top) will do you fine during the day, but dress to impress with a swingy little number and heels at dinner. To avoid staining your finery with garlicky goodness, just remember not to slurp your noodles, please.
Read more about Crustacean in our Los Angeles Guide.
Rachel Levin contributed to this post.