The Asian Cajun, pimping crawfish and pho, opens on Alameda

asiancajun.jpg
Lori Midson
The name of the restaurant, deadpans John Phan, says it all. "We're an Asian and Cajun restaurant that features traditional Vietnamese food and Louisiana crawfish that's far superior to anywhere else in Denver," he says about the Asian Cajun, which opened this weekend at 2400 West Alameda Avenue, in a former taqueria.

Phan, a first-time restaurateur, says he's been to the other Cajun-Asian joints in the city -- Red Claw Seafood & Wings, the Yabby Hut and the Crawling Crab, which opened at the end of June on Federal Boulevard -- and he's issued a face-off: "I challenge people to go to the other places and then come here," he says.

If you take him up on his offer, he's got another mudbug challenge, too, namely the Blazin' Cajun, which requires participants to stuff three pounds of "the spiciest crawfish in town" down their gullets in less than twenty minutes. If you succeed, your mug shot graces the wall and you get a lousy T-shirt and 10 percent off your bill on future visits.

The evolution of Cajun-Asian crawfish started several years ago in Louisiana, when Vietnamese immigrants making a living in the crawfish industry became intrigued by the whole crawfish process. They watched, learned and listened, and when they figured out the ease of boiling the mudbugs, they added their own Vietnamese and French influences. And now, joints that encourage sucking (crawfish) heads are popping up all over the country.

"If you've ever lived in, or visited, some of the bigger cities, there are tons of places like ours, especially in Texas and Southern California. Denver is playing catch-up," explains Phan. "I don't know how many of these kinds of places Denver will support," he continues, "but our number-one item on the menu is crawfish, and I honestly think ours is better than anywhere else."

In addition to crawfish, oysters (both on the half shell and baked) and fried seafood baskets, including soft-shell crab, gumbo and Cajun chicken wings, Asian Cajun is also delving into traditional Vietnamese cuisine, including pho. "Pho is definitely one of our staples, and as we go forward, we'll continue to add more Vietnamese dishes," says Phan.

"We're different from our competition," he insists. "We offer a full bar, which is unusual for places like this; we have pho, which most Asian-Cajun restaurants don't do; and we want to be more than a restaurant. We want to be a really fun place for friends and family, and we have a great drinking menu, plus we're thinking, too, of adding karaoke on the weekends, along with bottle service."

This, says Phan, is his dream. "I'm passionate about this. I've wanted to do a restaurant for the past five years, and when opportunity knocked, we went for it," he says.

Asian Cajun is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday. For more info, dial 303-922-0699.

Location Info

The Asian Cajun

2400 W. Alameda Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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13 comments
Sammuel Theodore
Sammuel Theodore

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Are you kidding me, I love the crawfish here!  Spicy, flavorful food is my staple.  I thought it odd Jimmy (in the reviewabove) failed to mention anything about the food.  It just sounded like Jimmy has stock in this Houston LACrawfish restaurant and zealously claims Asian Cajun is a copycat.  C'mon, let us get over ourselves already. I don't know much about Cajun, butisn't Cajun a French influenced, Louisiana region thing - not Houston? I'm alongtime Denver guy and have known this area to be a local Mecca for ethnicfood.  I'm excited about any newrestaurant that adds economic value and more great food to this area of Denver.   If Asian Cajun resembles otherrestaurants in the States, I hope they take this concept and improve it exponentially.   Idefinitely recommend this place.

Neighbor
Neighbor

Stoped by today , live in the neighborhood and I commend anyone who is making my neigborhoon a better place and bringing what some may consider something new, and by the way, that grub was great, hope to frequent.

Nicknguyen90
Nicknguyen90

LA Crawfish houston, tx  the originators

Jimmy
Jimmy

And "The Crawling Crab"? Hahaha! I'm guessing thats a knock off of California's Boiling Crab franchise.

Jesus. I hope stealing ideas isn't what Denver, Colorado is all about.

Jimmy
Jimmy

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but when you copy someone down to the T and promote it as something original? That's embarassing and shameful.

1. The spicy crawfish competition, the rules and the rewards are the EXACT SAME.

2. On the menu, the items are listed in the EXACT SAME order.

Embarassing.

LA Crawfish's > *

Joe le
Joe le

I try it and I’m not very impressed!!! Their salt &pepper blue crabs taste so sweet.  Theyshould call it “sweet & pepper blue crabs”. Plus, who would eat Pho in a Cajun restaurant.  No wonder no Asian/Cajun restaurant have ever serve pho.  Well, good luck Asian Cajun. 

Jay
Jay

Sweet. Although the market may be getting saturated, I love the concept of gorging on copious amounts of fresh seafood. The Crawling Crab is awesome and my favorite new restaurant of the year and I look forward to trying this place.

Joe le
Joe le

Well guys, i'm from Denver too.  So don't bash Denver, CO as a whole. I think getting an ideas from other places is a good things.  I know LA Crawfish Houston getting the crawfish ideas from other cajun places as well, so LA Crawfish is not an original also.  Why all the suddenly everyone in Denver open up Cajun restaurant after the Red Claw open up a year ago.  You see what i mean? That's how Asian people are!!! If we see someone do it and succeeds, then we think we can do better.  I think Red Claw, Yubby Hut, Crawling Crab, and maybe more cajun restaurant out their that i don't know but as less they stick to what they set out to do and they do it.  While i think Asian Cajun bold and brag about themselves too much about their foods. But yet ALL of their items are already been serves around the US and even in Denver area. They should let the customers do the ratings and not them.

Joe le
Joe le

Minhthu830 3 days ago in reply to Joe le "Well Joe...u must not be well travelled. There are plenty of restaurants like that in Texas and California. Please don't bash what you don't know."Lolz, So, there are plenty of restaurants like this in Texas huh? Is LA Crawfish Houston Texas one of them? I guess so!!!!  Well, LA Crawfish Houston, ya should be proud that someone copy you.

Minhthu830
Minhthu830

Well Joe...u must not be well travelled. There are plenty of restaurants like that in Texas and California. Please don't bash what you don't know.

Jimmy
Jimmy

Common ideas are fine, but a picture of their menu is on a food review website and their item are listed in the SAME EXACT ORDER as La Crawfish. And as they noted, their competition has the EXACT SAME RULES AND REWARDS.

Pulled up Crawling Crabs menu online. Its 95% the same as Boiling Crabs menu!!! Seriously?! I mean its one thing to restructure and redevelop an idea and put it out as your own, but "slavishly" *chuckles* copying another restaurant is not cool

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