The newest Houston-area Crafty Crab franchise restaurant draws the senses immediately with bright lighting and piped-in music in its 7,000 space that presents some surprises.

A group of owners and investors including David and Teresa Kang opened the restaurant on Fondren Road in Brays Oaks in July 2022 as part of a Florida-based chain that lately has been expanding nationwide.

It is the Kang couple and their son William Kang who are the smiling, customer service-oriented faces of the restaurant, greeting patrons and offering warm hospitality and friendly service. David and Teresa serve as owner-operators and William is the floor manager.

An upscale bar area serves a wide variety of drinks with several big screen televisions for those “who prefer a more personal experience” by conversing with the bartender and other patrons or watching sports games.

The remainder of the restaurant can hold 300 patrons, including a rear area that’s perfect for events and parties. That part boasts a 200-inch television screen that they had to import and assemble.

“That large screen can be used for events such as baby or wedding showers, for big birthday parties, and we have quite a few events being booked here,” David explained.

The elegant lighting, décor, (with a seafood motif) and premium seafood bring a fine dining concept to the area. With a mind on cleanliness, every table is lined with custom paper that gets disposed of after every meal, along with plenty of wet wipes and a bucket for seafood waste.

A very charming touch is the robots that help the waitstaff serve the food.

“We saw the robots at the Olympics in China, and knew we wanted them for our restaurant,” David said. “The food order is programmed in and it ensures that the right order goes to the right table, hot and ready to eat.”

The Kang family owned and sold a previous restaurant business. As  immigrants, they say they are making all of their hard work pay off and all of their “American dreams come true” with the new restaurant.

“When I was a boy in Korea, I dreamed of coming to America and becoming a success,” David said. “I have been here for 28 years and own my home and cars with just a lot of hard work. This restaurant concept is what I always wanted to be part of, and now that dream has come true as well.”

The food sampled was served promptly, hot on delivery, perfectly spiced and cooked, and it tasted as good as it looked.

The first dish sampled, their fried catfish and shrimp basket, was lightly breaded and well-seasoned. It was crisp on the outside, but the inside was soft and very tasty for both types of fish. Served with tartar and cocktail sauces, it needed neither to enhance the flavor.

Next, the assorted mussels and clams dish was served in a steaming puff of plastic to keep the moisture in until served by the robots. Immersed in a generous garlic butter sauce, it was served with garlic bread. The seafood was fresh and tender and melted in the mouth.

The pricier items on the menu are crab and lobster “boils,”, served whole in the shell and offered with a variety of sauce flavors, including spicy Cajun, buttery garlic, lemon pepper and most special, a mixture of all. Once the seasoning is selected, patrons then select a “spice level” from mild to “fire.” Offerings include blue crab, king crab legs, snow crab legs, lobster tail, Dungeness crab, whole shrimp, or crawfish.

The blue crab served was large with plenty of tender meat inside. It is also served in a plastic bubble so it stays hot and tender.

A mixed variety seafood platter includes snow crab, whole shrimp, crawfish, mussels, clams, corn and potatoes.

Raw oysters and steamed oysters are available as well as steamed scallops. Other fried dishes include tilapia, chicken tenders, fried oysters, fried calamari, wings, and cheese sticks.

Side dishes include boiled potatoes, corn on the cob, hush puppies, coleslaw, steamed rice and gumbo. Salads are also available.

For dessert, cheesecake is their specialty — and the only item on the sweets menu.

From ambience and the quality and freshness of the food to the beautiful look, this is a must-visit restaurant in the neighborhood.

Crafty Crab
11105 Fondren Rd., Houston 77096
Open noon-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, noon-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays

— By Arlene Nisson Lassin