There are a few places in Bellevue where folks can splurge for a night out. But there are very few in the entire state where one can pay for top-notch Japanese food in the style of a northern crab house.
Crab King opened in late 2016 in the Crossroads area, and the proprietors hope to give you that same experience they fell in love with on a snowy night in Hokkaido.
Peipei Liu, owner and general manager, said her restaurant is based around the quality of the ingredients.
“It’s real Japanese food and very authentic,” she said. “The ingredients are very important. Our dishes aren’t saucy, we don’t add a lot of flavor additives to the food. It stands on its own.”
For $198, diners can have the king crab tasting menu.
The dinner begins with king crab sunomono — a chilled salad with spinach in rice vinegar — before an appetizer of king crab and vegetable tempura, including prawn, pumpkin, asparagus and shitake mushrooms.
The entree is what Peipei and husband Xiaomeng opened the restaurant around. Diners are treated to a roiling king crab hot pot complete with napa cabbage, enoki mushroom, seaweed, konjac plant and tofu “boiled in our secret broth.”
Following that is a selection of king crab sushi and finished with a coconut mousse with jam.
If $198 for the full tasting menu is a little rich for your blood, there is a similar tasting menu for $98 which includes yellowtail with ponzu vinegar, broiled black cod, steamed king crab legs, sushi and green tea ice cream and mochi for dessert.
“I lived in Japan for many years and I love the food,” Liu said. “I’m excited to bring it to Bellevue.”
Each dining table has an embedded induction grill so some dishes can be prepared tableside, and a teppanyaki table will open later this year.
Obviously king crab is the house specialty, but with a la carte items such as the ones in the tasting menu above, along with items like whole salt and pepper Dungeness crab ($58), teriyaki king salmon ($38) and shabu shabu king crab, beef and yellowtail ($36), the menu is a high-end Japanese food fanatic’s dream.
The crab is “fresh frozen,” preserving the flavor for transport. Seating includes booths as well as comfortable zaisu chairs, a traditional Japanese-style chair with no legs.
Liu based Crab King around a Sapporro crab house called Kani Sho-gun, and brought over all three chefs from Hokkaido (the northern-most major Japanese home island famed for its seafood, beer and skiing) bringing more than 40 years of experience to Crossroads.
Liu’s husband ran a restaurant group in China and has moved shop to Washington. His company, Fortune Overseas Investments, Inc.’s portfolio includes Seattle restaurant Flying Fish.