NO, NO, NO. Never have any two words in the dictionary become a source of annoyance, repugnance, and loathing more than the word NO. This is true for any very hungry, willing, and able paying customer. Well, maybe these words are a little strong, but you be the judge and let this writer know after you read the last sentence. Let me just deviate from my usual reviews and get down to something I think is a NO-NO in the restaurant business.
When given the opportunity to beat the line at The Boiling Crab for dinner after work, then with much gusto, go for it. After all, anything that comes close or beats the flavor plus being able to lick your fingers and drink your brew is a plus for any Cajun spice fanatic. This is comfort food indeed, just imagine yourself with your bag full of delicious spicy seafood, ready for peeling and biting. So if asked once to try a shorter wait at a newer location called Captain Crab, then Captain Crab it is.
The inside looks like you never left loyalty for Boiling Crab. And so the premise of an alternate or better place is somewhat converted to a promise. Parking is as tight and limited, and seats are almost the same quantity. There is no waiting area, if you come during a busier time then leave the 4in heels at home and wear your flats. Even less than an hour wait does take a toll when waiting standing up.
We found out that every last Wednesday of the month, crabs are 50% off. Bonus! The drinks came and the ordering began. Minimum order of two pounds for any item-not a problem. For seven hungry people, two pounds barely skim the surface so to speak. Four pounds of Captain's Choice shrimp, four pounds of crawfish, and seven pieces of crab.
Here comes trouble. NO. There is a three-piece limit on crabs. What do you mean three? For seven people? Does it even make sense? Well, maybe we can change it to at least five pieces for seven people, some were willing to share. NO. The limit is three only. It sounded so absurd to the table that voices were raised and rang one on top of the other. The manager stopped by to better assist our hungry bunch.
NO. This time the limit went down to two per table. Now, that sounded more preposterous. Two measly pieces; no matter how heavy these crabs are, these will not satisfy seven hungry people. And so half of us offered to move to another table so we can get at least two each. NO. Apparently "I already know that you're all together so you can't. We won't give you another table". But to feed two pieces for seven? Well "we only have 50pieces of crab so we have to limit your order so we can serve the next customers?" But having such bad service, what gives you the assurance that you will have next customers? Besides, we are also paying and already sitting customers, and we were here first. What if the next onslaught of people do not order 50 crabs? Then where will the rest of the unsold crustaceans go but stay in the bucket untouched. There is no disclaimer written anywhere to say that there is a limit of two crabs, even on their 50% off Wednesdays piece of paper. Nor did they put a "while supplies last" note to remind us that they may be running out. We would understand if they just said we ran out of crabs. We would graciously accept the consequences of our cravings and move on to the next target. Frustration was apparent but we were already hours and hype invested in this endeavor. And so let us move on.
In all fairness they gave us three, and we halved them to feed 6, one agreed to sacrifice and concentrated on the crawfish. Seeing as the crabs were not enough, I dared order one more pound of shrimp. NO. there is a two pound limit on every order. Looking around, no one wanted to share another pound with me and so that too was disappointing. Yes, the two pound limit was on the menu but after all that selfish teasing, the least they could've done was give me my one little pound so I can bring my raised eyebrows down.
The food was remarkably mediocre. Not as spicy with only a slight hint of garlic. The shrimp was cooked well, a little over-cooked but not to the point that it's inedible. The half of the crab was left barely touched. It was the bane of our dinner, it carried such a powerful stigma that first taste became my last. The crawfish were a little undercooked. Some were a little sashimi on some parts while some were perfectly cooked. Although sucking the head was a plus to most, that too became such a tedious task to the group. May be because we started this dinner with such negativity that we were eating "just because" and not out of wanting with passion. There was not much to say about the food, all eagerness left the door as soon as we heard the word NO.
NO. When restaurants from the top tier to the bottom are fighting for the best customer service to gain and retain a following, some just do not believe in it. Because when they understandably value their future customers, they have overlooked those that have been standing and waiting for almost an hour, or those that are already seated on their tables craving for more than their food, but also for some good old customer service. Sadly, the wait for Cajun spiced shrimp and crab shall begin again. We were not able to find a better replacement for our staple Boiling Crab, instead we found a place never to be seen again. So to you Captain Crab, we also say NO.
The Captain Crab is at 250 W Valley Blvd #J, San Gabriel CA 91776. T: (626)293-8338. They accept major credit cards.