When I saw that a new messy seafood place (think Boiling Crab) opened on Convoy, the food blogger in me got excited. “Yes, I get to try a new place!” Once my mind is on a track, there’s only one way to go until an obstacle or something gets in its way. More on that later. They had their soft opening in December and opened its doors in January. It resides on Convoy, so you know that parking can be a little difficult at peak times. It’s in the same mall as China Max and Infinitea.
They had only been open for a few weeks and it wasn’t too busy when we arrived. We also expected them to be working out some kinks. Even though it wasn’t packed, the smell of cajun spices and seasonings permeated through the newly designed space. I don’t know what was in the space before but we were ready to get down and dirty.
We ordered a few things and that’s when it donned on me. Here comes that obstacle I mentioned earlier. “This has to be about the worst type of restaurant for a food blogger! How am I supposed to take pictures of my food when my hands are sopping wet with spicy sauce!” Facepalm. What can I say? I tried my best folks…
I love that they give you gloves, a bib, and a crab cracker. The gloves seemed to be of good quality and none of the juices leaked through. I know people have had issues with that at Crab Town (I’ve never been there so I can’t say from experience). They also gave us plenty of lime wedges and salt and pepper.
Their garlic noodles were not my favorite. The cheese on top wasn’t as satisfying as I had hoped and there just wasn’t much flavor there. It definitely could have used a little more seasoning. I almost wished I put them inside one of the seafood bags to soak up the sauce instead.
But we were here for the seafood, right? We ordered a few pounds of snow crab and shrimp. None of us are huge fans of crawfish so we steered away from it this time. They let you choose between three sauces, R&B special, garlic, and lemon pepper (although their online menu has different options now). I’m so used to the “Whole Sha-Bang” from Boiling Crab where they mix all of the sauces and I asked our waitress if we could that. She told me they don’t do that and wouldn’t recommend mixing the sauces anyways. I’m pretty sure they offer the same exact sauces as Boiling Crab so I didn’t quite understand why they wouldn’t work together. But no biggie, we went with her recommendation of the R&B special which I honestly don’t remember exactly what was in it from her explanation. I asked her if we could just try the other sauces by themselves to see what they tasted like separately, but she told me they would have to charge $2 for each one. Buzzkill!
Here’s my great shot of the shrimp bag. It sure does deserve an award.
One thing they do is give you a piece of corn, potato, and sausage in each bag of seafood. Midway through I realized something was missing. They forgot to add them to two of our other bags. After we pointed that out, they brought out the extras.
And here’s the aftermath once my hands were cleansed of all the glorious juices. If you’ve made it this far you might think I mentioned a lot of negatives but not so many positives. Well, I’m saving the best for last. As far as taste goes, I actually really enjoyed the flavor of the R&B special sauce. It wasn’t overly powerful, but enough to slap you in the face, albeit lightly. We got the crab medium and it had enough heat to warrant a medium rating. I probably could do extreme and get away with a functioning tongue and stomach, but flaming would be a no no. The garlic was noticeable along with the aromatic cajun spices. I don’t think it was as bold or strong as some of the other places, but that works here with their nicely cooked seafood. The seafood itself seemed of good quality and was cooked very well. At times I’ve gone to restaurants like these and the seafood is way overcooked. No matter how good the sauce is, you can still tell if the seafood isn’t prepared well. The prices also seem to be comparable to their competitors. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this probably was my favorite place for this type of seafood in San Diego. There were a few hiccups, but that is to be expected of a new place. It comes down to two things: sauce and seafood quality. They got me on both. I think I should try some of the other places to compare while it is fresh in my mind. What’s your favorite place to get crab in a bag in San Diego?
R&B Crawfish Lounge
4690 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111