Crackin' Kitchen -- Pasadena
This West LA girl is about to utter the phrase “I want to fight traffic and go get dinner in Pasadena” pretty often now that Hawaii’s Crackin’ Kitchen is officially open, and serving up delicious Hawaiian-Cajun cuisine.
The ambiance is playful and casual, but don’t expect any average seafood here. I had the opportunity to taste a handful of dishes, and each was better than the last. If only my stomach was bigger, and I could have devoured even more…
Before digging into the food, you'll want to order a drink. I highly recommend the house made sodas, especially the passionfruit flavored one. It's sweet, but not overwhelmingly so, and very refreshing.
First dish up was Crackin Kitchen’s Chowder Fries — french fries and mashed potatoes drenched with a hearty chowder topped with bacon and cheddar. I could have eaten the entire bowl of these bad boys. I’d recommend eating them quickly though, before they become too soggy.
Another great appetizer? The Guava Soy Chicken Wings. They maintained a perfect blend of salty and sweet. And the chicken basically fell off the bone and into your mouth it was so moist.
Maybe you’re the kind of person who likes a little bite of everything.The Seafood Platter as a starter and the Signature Cajun Combo as a main are the orders for you. And be wary, you are going to want to share both of these dishes with lots of friends. Portions are huge.
The Seafood Platter comes with oysters, ahi poke (my personal favorite), shrimp cocktail, lomi lomi salmon, and snow crab. The seafood was all so fresh tasting. Each table comes equipped with claw crackers for the crab claws, as well as a bounty of paper towels for the mess you will inevitably make.
Speaking of making a mess, let me introduce you to the pride of Crackin’ Kitchen, the Signature Cajun Combo. This is where things get fun. There are a few combos to choose from – Shrimp, Lobster, and Dungeness– and each comes with an assortment of shrimp, clams, corn, potatoes, and sausage. You can order items a la cart, as well. Next you select your sauce and your spice level. My favorite sauce is the Red—Crackin’ Kitchen Cajun with Hawaiian chili. It is definitely spicy so consider yourself warned.
If this all isn’t making you drool, maybe you’ll want to try the Mussel Pots. There are over fifteen flavors to choose from, and if they are all as delicious as the Thai Pot and Portobello Pot, you really can’t go wrong. These are definitely the right item to order if you're on a date and scared of getting food all over yourself.
Now if you possibly saved any room in your stomach, you are definitely going to want to order the signature dessert, Sweet Art. Not only are the servers at Crackin’ Kitchen efficient and friendly, they are artists, too. They create this dish at your table using a variety of locally sourced fruits and Hawaiian Malasadas. These fruits are painted into a gorgeous scene of beauty paradise, and finished off with malasadas (basically donuts for those of you who aren't familiar) as coconuts under a palm tree. And the best part is, you can ask the staff to write anything you like over top. It can say aloha, happy birthday…it has even been used for a wedding proposal. How cute! The malasadas are so sweet and fluffy. It was a truly wonderful way to finish off the meal.
So whether you are looking for a place to dine for a fun night out with friends and a way to spice up date night or just a yummy place to take the family, Crackin’ Kitchen has you covered. I will absolutely be fighting traffic to dine here many more times.