The Heart of the Vegan Menu at Crustacean Beverly Hills
If you’ve already discovered all the best seafood restaurants in Beverly Hills you’ve definitely eaten at Crustacean. It is the cornerstone of Asian fusion at the intersection of North Bedford Drive and Little Santa Monica Blvd. Today, The An Dynasty has reinvented the future of Asian cuisine, again.
The reopening after Crustacean’s months-long renovation features the addition of their highly anticipated vegan dishes.
The menu you love is still intact. The one with their famous signature garlic noodles that helped position their flagship restaurant to its current status. Also intact is the interior water feature submerged under glass beneath the floor, as well as the grace with which they provide service.
The interior redesign overseen by owner and CEO Elizabeth An is a modern Asian marvel designed to transport you to Vietnam in the future and back to Beverly Hills. To understand the magic on the plate, we visit the past.
The 50-year history of the House of An and the family who developed Asian fusion cuisine as we know it is best understood as lineage cuisine with a karmic arc is so steep you’ll need hold onto your vegan “crab” cakes.
Their story involves more than one flight from Saigon. Elizabeth shares the story of how matriarch Chef Helen An, as a child, took refuge in a Buddhist monastery, where the vegan monks worked their magic, fashioning sacred dishes with vegetables and with love.
Then in 1975, the family fled Saigon, landing in San Francisco where necessity led to the creation of dishes created to appeal to diners who were unfamiliar with and even suspicious of traditional Vietnamese food. The arc is an expansive, creatively expressed culinary journey from that monastery to Beverly Hills. And now, they’ve achieved the best of what veganism and Beverly Hills have to offer.
America is county of migrants, many noteworthy contributions come from refugees like Chef Helen An. Then add Executive Chef Tony Nguyen to the kitchen, for a selection of inspired vegan dishes, with sacred soulful origins. In keeping with this family tradition of refined service, Chef Tony dropped a love bomb in the Crustacean kitchen, and it is evident on every plate.
Chef Tony’s future-forward philosophy of inclusion is on his social media and in his heart, where we begin to understand the source of his culinary gifts. “Great Food sees no color,” Chef Tony posts. “One of the best things about being a chef is working with so many different people of race, sexual orientation, and religious views. We all have one thing in common; we gotta eat,” he hashtags #PEACE #Unity.
Let’s talk about the food. First, everything is a work of art. Plated with care and featuring flavor combinations that inspire.
My favorite vegan dish is the Hearts of Palm “Crab Cake”, which uses finely diced hearts of palm and spicy aioli to achieve a replication so real it could crawl off the plate. Browned to a perfect crisp, the texture emulates the little shredded bits of “white” meat in the original crab cakes. These vegan crabs could fool the most discerning palate.
My other favorite is the Karate Salad: kohlrabi, black truffle, crispy Kennebec potato, and garlic blossom. Crunchy, flavorful, rich but not overwhelming. This is salad that comes to mind an Asian coleslaw. You won’t have to be reminded to order this every time you come back, and you will.
The Wild Mushroom Wontons, with ginger and lemongrass coulis, are why Crustacean Beverly Hills has maintained its place as cornerstone of Asian fusion cuisine. There are no words to describe it. Make a reservation to see for yourself.
Peruse the rest of the menu. Many vegan options are highlighted, such as the melt-in-your mouth Kung Pao Eggplant, perfectly spiced turmeric-infused Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts, and more. Gluten-free items are available. Order a variety of selections for your table to share.
Learn more about Crustacean at: crustaceanbh.com
Award-winning journalist, documentary director and long-term LA Yoga contributor Sam Slovick is the director, writer and producer of the Radicalized documentary, currently working on the Kirtan Road Dogs documentary.