Victor Nguyen, Eric Nguyen, and Henry Pham, proprietors of The Blu Crab Seafood House & Bar, picked an interesting nest for their fledgling restaurant. The new joint occupies the space on Camp Bowie Boulevard where Café Aspen thrived for years and, more recently, the Ridglea Jazz Café tried and failed. The new owners have updated the look of the place and hope that, in the process, they’ve removed whatever bad juju might have been hanging around. The building still features a bar/lounge out back, which isn’t open quite yet. Up front, there’s another (fully functional) bar completely occupying a side wall, and the color scheme has been altered to soothing blues and chocolate brown. The small front sidewalk area has been redesigned to hold a dozen or so tables. The best feature is a little single-table nook off the front entrance, where my two super-foodie companions and I dined recently. Snag the table in the nook. You’ll have more privacy than on the patio but will still be able to people-watch.
For starters, the meal-in-a-bowl seafood gumbo was absolutely fantastic. The soup had just the right amount of Cajun spice; heavy on the fish, shrimp, and sausage, with a little rice to round it out. In comparison, the crab and asparagus soup was much simpler –– just white lump crab and sliced asparagus in a simple chicken broth. The asparagus stalks, sliced into rings, were a little crunchy. If you’re choosing between the two, go for the gumbo.
But be sure to add the crab cake appetizer. The crab-to-breading ratio tilted heavily toward crab, with a little chopped green pepper for color and flavor. As a result, it was falling apart, not all stuck together with panko bread crumbs. It’s always better to have a crab cake that’s more crab than filling, and the swirl of delicate white-wine cream sauce was the perfect accent.
The Blu Crab serves a variety of fish for every price point and appetite, from common catfish to a Chilean sea bass fillet. All of them can be served blackened, grilled, or seared. Add your choice of garlic butter, beurre blanc, or roasted pepper puree sauces at no extra charge, or splurge on the Blu Crab Sauce: jumbo lump crab meat spiced with garlic and tarragon in a creamy base. The sauce made the already sweet and tender grilled mahi mahi outrageously delicious.
The mixed seafood grill is also worth ordering. Oversized shrimp, giant bay scallops, and white fish were skewered, grilled, and presented along with seasonal veggies. Both the shrimp and the scallops were succulent and tender –– no small feat, given the range of grilling times for all of the different fish and thick chunks of zucchini.
The grilled items and entrées are served with a choice of two sides, ranging from the sublime cheesy grits to the skip-them onion rings, which were just not crisp enough. The side of five huge stalks of grilled asparagus could have been cooked just a little longer.
In addition to the fairly complex menu of grilled fish, fried fish, beef, chicken, bacon-wrapped goodies, and even lamb, there are daily specials, including seasonal blue crab and crawfish. The night we had dinner, the special was grilled halibut served atop au gratin potatoes. The halibut was cooked in a mild broth, and it tasted fantastic. The cube of potatoes wasn’t cooked long enough.
But not eating the extra starch meant we saved room for house-made dessert. The crème brûlée listed on the menu was sold out the day we visited, but we got over the disappointment quickly. The key lime pie was sublime –– the perfect blend of sweet and tart, made with a lot of real lime juice. I loved the rich chocolate marquis cake and its three layers of mousse, moist cake, and dark ganache. The pecan pie was also tasty, but the crust was thick and too shortbread-y. If calories are a consideration, pick the chocolate cake and the key lime pie and go lighter on the dinner. I could have had the gumbo, a salad, and dessert and been completely happy.
The Blu Crab does both lunch and dinner; lunch menu prices average about $11. If that seems a little spendy, consider that you get what you pay for. The portions were generous, and the quality of the fish was exceptional.
The Blu Crab Seafood House & Bar
6115 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW 817-763-8585. 11am-9pm Sun, 11am-10pm Mon-Sat.
All major credit cards accepted.
Seafood gumbo ………………….. $6/cup
Crab and asparagus soup …… $9/bowl
Blu crab cakes …………………… $12
Mixed seafood grill ……………… $24
Mahi mahi w/Blu Crab Sauce .. $25
Chocolate marquis cake ………. $7
Pecan or key lime pie …………… $6 each