Cafe Reviews

Cafe Review: Angry Crab Shack in Mesa

Make no mistake about it: Angry Crab Shack is a blatant rip-off of Hot N Juicy Crawfish, a Cajun seafood concept founded in Las Vegas by a Vietnamese entrepreneur that has started its regional expansion and recently opened an outpost on Tempe's Mill Avenue.

Hot N Juicy gained national notoriety when Food Network buffoon Guy Fieri anointed it, although, by then, the idea had already caught on. I was excited when I heard that Hot N Juicy was coming to town; it was always one of my first stops in Las Vegas. But my experience in Tempe was missing a certain je ne sais quoi; it was good, but not as good as the original. It was too clinical compared to Las Vegas, lacking the edginess, grit, loud music and service staff consisting most of off-duty strippers biding their time before the night shift started.

So it's ironic to find that missing grit in Mesa, an otherwise safe-haven of conservative values under the tight grip of the Mormon establishment. But given the quantity of cold beer and Hurricane cocktails being served in plastic cups on a crowded Friday night, no one in those parts seems to care much about the church-imposed moral code. Angry Crab Shack serves up culinary hedonism in a hokey nautical-themed space where the walls are covered with faux fishing nets, schlocky nautical themes, and graffiti from the diners. It's loud, messy and decidedly unexpected. It's also fantastic, a better facsimile of the concept that it copied.

Click here to read the entire review.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Eric Schaefer