Have you been waiting for O.C. based, and now world-famous, Boiling Crab to open in Riverside, San Bernardino, or elsewhere in Inland Empire area? No need to wait- Boiling Crabs & Crawfish in Ontario (now known as The Bucket Crabs & Crawfish) has become one of the many Boiling Crab inspired restaurants that have sprouted up in Southern California, and it’s a lot closer then Westminster or Rowland Heights.
The Boiling Crab-style restaurants all feature one secret to success- boiled crab, lobster, shrimp, oysters, and crawfish with a special sauce that sticks to the seafood, adding a New Orleans inspired cajun flavor that is incredibly tasty and addictive. While the Boiling Crab traces its roots to the Louisiana bayou, the real success came when the creole inspired founder made his way into Orange County’s Little Saigon as the L.A. Times profile on founder Dada Ngo reveals. However, with success came imitators, and this Ontario restaurant is darn close to the original.
If you haven’t been to such a restaurant, be forewarned: this is not for the faint of heart. The crawfish, lobster and crab are alive when you order them and the heads of the shrimp, crawfish and lobster are on (though definitely dead) when they are served to your table in a clear plastic bag. The process of eating is both fun and time-consuming. Although the bibs they offer may seem a bit uncool, there’s nothing more uncool than the everlasting reminder left on your clothes from the red seasoning colored juice that spurts out when you peel the seafood open.
The seasoning is really what sets each Boiling Crab imitation apart, and this restaurant has nearly perfected their imitation of the real thing. One of the employees informed us that the founder trained in New Orleans for a month and has worked on perfecting the recipe since their Summer 2009 opening. The most important choice of seasoning is the desired level of spiciness. If you’re not sure how hot you can handle, choose mild, as anything else might be spicier than you would imagine. Be sure to order potatoes and corn for the real Louisiana experience. There’s also fried seafood on the menu, though this is not really what sets this style of cuisine apart.
The Boiling Crabs and Crawfish in Ontario menu and seasonal pricing compare almost identically to their competitors, with a pound of shrimp, crawfish or clams setting you back about $10, though lobster and the various types of crab will cost you more, just as you might expect at any restaurant.
The service is quite good, though additional attentiveness would be an added plus, especially when water is running low while spicy seafood is not. There is rarely a wait for lunch, with the restaurant often half full. Good luck getting a table without a wait at Boiling Crab, which has become synonymous with its hour, or even two hour, wait time for a table. Most importantly, they open at 11 a.m., an hour before Boiling Crab, which is great on days where a noon lunch just doesn’t make sense.
If you haven’t tried this cuisine, this is your one and only option in the Inland Empire. If you’ve tried the Boiling Crab in Los Angeles or Orange County but just don’t want to drive that far when your cravings kick in, this is a local hangout worth checking out!Boiling Crabs & Crawfish in Ontario (now known as The Bucket Crabs & Crawfish): 612 N Euclid Ave, Ontario, CA 91764. (909) 983-6688.