CHAYA Venice Gets Crabby

CHAYA Venice, a long-time favorite for its sushi and its French-Japanese fusion cuisine featuring fresh seafood, is going all out for its Dungeness Crab season. The upscale but comfortable Venice haunt is celebrating a 2-week Dungeness Crab Fest through Sunday, November 6.

Chef Shigefumi Tachibe has created a menu that celebrates this Washingtonian crustaceon with their trademark Euro-Asian flavors as well as some Latin flavors from closer to home. The chef is fond of intense flavors reduced to their essence, and not just a little bit of heat. Quite a few of the dishes have a definite kick.

Tuesday The LA Beat was invited to test out a few of the special dishes. The Crab Bisque “Hot Pot” is a dark, dense bisque heavy with the flavors of long-simmered shells and rich cream. The bisque contains a bonus of Shiitake mushrooms and is topped by a puff pastry “hat”, as my mom likes to call them. Another starter not to be missed is the Crab Asian Crepe with Thai Red Curry and Micro Cilantro. I had expected the hearty, eggy pancake that is usually served with toppings in this manner, but the crepe is light and crispy and addictive. It is topped by a generous helping of sweet crab and the gentle kick of curry.

The Crab and Asparagus Risotto with Pinot Noir Braised Short Rib is a simply stunning main dish. The sauce is complex and perfectly complements the tender, fatty meat. The risotto would be a fantastic dish on its own, with crab and asparagus — two of my very favorite ingredients, combined with Japanese rice and a variety of grains. Buffalo Ricotta Gnocchi with Crab Pumpkin, Coconut Milk, Lemon Grass and Sautéed Spinach had a rich sauce bursting with crab and with intensity of Thai flavors.

Crab Fest starters are reasonably priced around $10-$15 and the mains are around $23 and $28. The regular dinner menu will also be available along with the Dungeness Crab Fest special menu, as well as their 5pm-close happy Hour. The fest coincides with the offer of special Autumnal cocktails created by CHAYA Venice’ resident mixologist Ted Thompson.

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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