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Eats: Restaurant Reviews and News | In the Mood

October 08, 1998

For those willing to crack, peel, pick and in general work hard for their dinner, here are a few destinations for crab in the shell:

* Washington Street Bar and Grill: Gerri Gilliland grills 1 1/2 pounds of crab legs over red oak coals on a Santa Maria-style barbecue, then serves it with drawn butter and a choice of vegetable and potato or rice. Or you can have three-quarters of a pound of crab legs with a five-ounce filet, also grilled. (Alaskan king crab legs, $30; with filet, $33.) Washington Street Bar and Grill, 3016 Washington St., Marina del Rey, (310) 823-9898.

* Empress Pavilion: This impressive Hong Kong style restaurant serves steamed live Dungeness crab in a number of ways: garlic, ginger and green onions, black bean sauce, peanut sauce with green bell pepper. (Live Dungeness crab, $9 a pound.) Empress Pavilion, Bamboo Plaza, 988 N. Hill St., Los Angeles, (213) 617-9898.

* Crustacean: This high-end newfangled Vietnamese restaurant not only has a dress code and a meandering koi stream you can walk on (!) but whole Dungeness crabs served in a very buttery garlic sauce with the chef's "secret spices." (Dungeness crab, $32.95.) Crustacean, 9646 Little Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 205-8990.

* Royal Star: After you order your live crab dinner, the waiter brings over the crab itself, which is waving feebly from the bottom of a white plastic bucket. The next time you see it, the crab will be cooked one of four enticing ways--black bean and chile sauce, ginger and green onion, ginger and vinegar or stir-fried with a spicy sauce. (Live crab, $11.) Royal Star Seafood, 3001 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 828-8812.

* Clancy's Crab Boiler: Order a live Dungeness crab and roll up your sleeves. One of these steamed crabs, served with sourdough bread, drawn butter and cole slaw, will take a good 30 to 45 minutes to polish off. There's also an Alaskan king crab dinner, more than a pound of cracked king crab along with drawn butter and a choice of two side dishes: French fries, garlic mashed potatoes, red potatoes, sliced tomatoes, rice pilaf, vegetables, cottage cheese, pasta or, after 5 p.m., baked potatoes. (Dungeness crab, $11.95 per pound; king crab dinner, $26.) Clancy's Crab Boiler, 219 N. Central Ave., Glendale, (818) 242-2722.

* NYC Seafood: One of a number of great seafood houses (including Harbor Village and Ocean Star) located within blocks of one another, this Cantonese restaurant cooks live-from-the-tank crab in a garlic and ginger sauce. (Live Dungeness crab, $16 each.) NYC Seafood, 715 W. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park, (626) 289-9898.

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