Rockin’ Crab Cafe took over the old B&T Oyster Bar at 3113 SE Division St. on October 18, and owner David Chuang tells Eater he wants to offer quality food and a family-friendly atmosphere for a good price. Rockin’ Crab Cafe is one part bar, one part restaurant, with a fun vibe, thanks to lots of crabby decorations, and a bit of a sports bent, with 12 televisions, a full bar, and microbrews on tap. And it is definitely well-priced: Its happy hour runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
Chuang hails from Hong Kong and has 25 years of restaurant experience in Las Vegas. He moved to Portland three years ago to open his original Rockin’ Crab Crab, located next door to SE 82nd’s massive Asian supermarket, Fubonn, and the SE Division restaurant is his second spot. Five staff from Las Vegas made the move with him, including chef Vincent Phillip, who heads the Rockin’ Crab SE Division kitchen.
Rockin’ Crab’s menu centers on an Asian-inspired Louisiana-style seafood boil and from-scratch hot pots. The boil is a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-dive-in dish — bibs provided — with numerous seafood and shellfish options to choose from, from Dungeness crab to clams. Chuang says he uses Louisiana crawfish when in-season, and otherwise, it’s Oregon crawfish.
One bite of the thick red sauce that permeates the boil — which comes in all spice levels — shows a depth of flavor. “The only thing I can reveal is there were more than 20 kinds of natural herbs and spices, both ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western,’” says Chuang. For those who do not want to get messy, Rockin’ Crab offers pre-peeled shrimp — not to mention a sink for rinsing your hands in the dining room.
Along with many of the components of its dishes, like kimchi, the restaurant makes the broth for its hot pots from scratch. “It’s all natural, with no MSG,” Chuang says. Rounding out the menu are a selection of fried seafood baskets, a take on deep-fried fish sauce wings, and a handful of Chinese appetizers, like potstickers.
Rockin’ Crab Cafe on SE Division is now open Tuesday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Happy hour runs daily until 6 p.m. Trent Pierce’s iconic Roe still operates in the hidden backroom inside.
- Rockin’ Crab & Hot Pot [Official]