12093 Brookhurst St.
Garden Grove, CA 92840
Ever since I have heard about Cajun/Vietnamese/Southern fusion restaurants I have wanted to go. Which one to try though? We had actually went to one of these types of restaurants before, but the wait was over two hours, so we did not get to try it on that trip. Another time we had it all set to go, but Katie was suffering a migraine, so that was an aborted mission as well. This was our third attempt to come here, and like my Mom always says, "the third time is always the charm."
For this dining adventure we were with our Asian food expert, and fellow blogger, Kat from Kat's 9 Lives. She has been to all of these places before and really enjoys Claws the best. She very rarely steers us wrong when it comes to food, so we decided we would bite the bullet and listen to all of her boring stories, just to have a good meal. The price we pay as food bloggers is sometimes great!
For those of you that are not sure what kind of restaurant this is, I will try to explain it to you. It is a seafood restaurant, with a twist. They offer about seven types of seafood, depending on availability. All seafood is served by the pound, and you are asked what kind of seasoning you would like out of the three offered, or you can go all the way, and order a mixture of all three, which seems to be the most popular choice. Your last option is deciding what kind of heat level you want your seafood sauced in. They offer four heat levels here. You then have the option of adding extras to the baggies that the seafood is served in, but more on that later.
We arrived at Claws at a good time it seems. We only had to wait about five minutes. The restaurant is not very big. They probably have about twenty tables for now. By the start of next month, the waitress says they will be moving into their new location, which is in the same shopping center, but is triple the size. This will greatly reduce wait times here. Guess this means business is doing fine. The decor here is a little on the dorky side, but I like pirates and all of the fish netting all over the place. When you walk in they have all of their fish selections for the evening on a blackboard, with the prices. I like this. It leaves the guess work out of trying to guess how much the market price is for items. I never thought I would type these words, but lucky for us we had Kat with us, so we left the ordering to her expertise. This is what she selected for us.
Kat and I decided to split the 4 Pound Meal Deal ($51). This of course came with four pounds of seafood and the three appetizers above. My favorite of the three starters that we got was the Fried Calamari. This was heavily breaded, but I still could taste the squid on the inside. Not too rubbery, and I enjoyed the tarter sauce this came with. I ate my fair share of these. Our meal came with Cajun fries, but we upgraded to the Garlic Fries for an extra $2. This was a wise choice. These fries were fried very well, and the garlic flavor was very prevalent. The Butterfly Shrimp were okay, but were my least favorite out of the bunch. These really reminded me of the frozen ones my Mom used to fry up when we were kids. Not that theses were frozen, but the taste just reminded me of them. The breading was very dominate and the shrimp really took a back seat to it. The odd green sauce was also kind of bland. Cocktail sauce or ketchup would have been better.
Here are a few shots of how the seafood is presented at the table, and a look inside the bags that we got. We got two pounds of shrimp, a pound of crawfish, and a pound of clams. They offered four types of seasoning, Cajun, lemon pepper, garlic butter, or a mixture of all three, which they call Cannonball. This is the one that we got to go along with our medium sauce. I would have liked to have gotten a spicier sauce, but Kat did not want to go any hotter than medium. This was my first experience with crawfish. I was not too excited about it. These little lobster like animals are very tiny, a pain to crack open, and only yield a small amount of meat. I did not feel these were worth the trouble. Also, before you ask, yes I sucked the juice from the heads, but it really did nothing for me. I really liked the large shrimp that we got here. I should have gotten it peeled for an extra dollar a pound, but Kat feels it tastes better whole. The clams were pretty good because they were very easy to eat and they soaked up a lot of the seasonings and sauce. I mentioned earlier about adding extras to the bags of seafood, and we took advantage of this. For an extra 35 cents apiece we added potatoes and for a very reasonable 25 cents each, we added two dozen sausages. I really enjoyed the sausage. They went real well with the sauce, and like the clams, they were real easy to eat. The potatoes were very heavy, and did not soak up enough of the sauce.
This is the messy aftermath of our meal. My hands were caked with sauce, while Kat was really good about keeping her hands very clean. Not sure how she did, but I got down and dirty while eating at Claws.
If you are not into peeling seafood or getting your hands dirty, you can opt for a more traditional dinner. Katie selected this option by ordering the Garlic Seafood Pasta ($12.99). The pasta is sauteed in a garlic butter sauce, with scallops, shrimp and calamari. Katie asked for the calamari to be left out of this because she is not a fan of squid. She liked the seafood in this dish, and felt the plate had a very well balanced flavor. It had a little kick to it, without being too much. The garlic was also present, but not overpowering. This was served with fresh veggies, which were just okay, and a small side salad she called, "better than she thought it was going to be."
I really enjoyed Claws. I do realize that it is not for everyone though. A lot of people do not like to get messy when they eat, so this would not be the place for them. I thought all of the food was pretty fresh and flavored well. The prices were pretty good, even with the items we added to our bags of seafood. I felt full, but was not overly stuffed when we left Claws. The service was awesome on our visit. The wait staff was on top of refilling drinks, making sure everything was good, and asking us if we needed anything else. We will definitely use Claws as the benchmark for these types of restaurants. Can not wait to try others. Thanks for taking us here Kat!
Out of five stuffed animals, (because when I hear the word claw, it always makes me think of those horrible claw machine games, filled with stuffed animals and other junk that I have never won), five being best to zero being worst, Claws Restaurant gets 3 stuffed animals.
For more information about Claws Restaurant click here: http://www.clawsrestaurant.com/index.html