JUST Beclaws Vietnamese Cajun Seafood in Downtown JC

Three Sibling Restaurateurs Focus on Quality & Freshness

By Sally Deering

Just BeClaws The best place in the northeast for seafood is New England, right? They even named a chowder in honor of its seafood niche.

But who needs New England when Hudson has its own bustling seafood restaurant on First Street in downtown Jersey City: JUST Beclaws, a 60-seat Vietnamese Cajun seafood eatery has been open a little more than a year and already it’s the go-to destination for foodies who like their shellfish fresh and cooked to perfection.

Family that owns Just Beclaws restaurant
Aivy, Francis and Nambinh Tran,
three siblings and owners of JUST Beclaws.

What also makes the restaurant special are its three owners, siblings, Francis Tran, 32, Nambinh Tran, 27, and Aivy Tran, 34. The three grew up in Jersey City learning the restaurant business from their parents who owned Miss Saigon, a Vietnamese restaurant right up the street on Newark Ave.

“We like seafood,” Francis says. “We like to catch it –although we don’t serve what we catch.”

Seafood – mainly Shellfish — is the star of the show at JUST Beclaws. One side of the menu is devoted to Appetizers, Sandwiches, Sides, and Dessert; the other side is a list of shellfish served by the pound, seasoned with a choice of seasonings and hot sauce if you like. The choices are Shrimp ($13), Clams ($13), and Mussels ($12); Crawfish, Lobster, Blue Crab, Snow Crab, King Crab, and Dungeness crab, which are priced at market rate. Choice of seasonings include Garlic Butter, O’bay, Cajun, Lemon Pepper and O’bay with Garlic Butter.

Appetizers include the Fried Shrimp Basket with French fries; Southern Fried Catfish Basket, Crab Cake, Fried Calamari, Fried Oysters, and Cajun, or Sweet Potato Fries. ($4-$12)

Sandwiches feature Po’Boys – a choice of Shrimp, Oyster, Catfish or Softshell – Lobster Roll and Crab Cake. ($11-$18)

For meat-lovers, Wings are served by the dozen or half dozen ($6-$12); and there’s a Chicken Tenders appetizer with fries. ($7)

On Yelp.com the reviews are fantastic, like this one from Aly L. of Jersey City:
“…I recently visited Maine (lobster land!) and I made it a point to have a lobster roll at every restaurant I went to. Still, the best lobster rolls I’ve had are from JUST BECLAWS! Their lobster rolls are cooked lightly in butter, which allows you to really savor and appreciate the lobster without the overwhelming taste of mayo… and they are not cheap with their lobster portions. Another favorite of mine: crab fries. Do yourself a favor and just order them when you get there. You can thank me later…”

The restaurant gets very busy especially on weekend nights, Francis says.

“We’ve had regulars since day one,” Nambinh adds. “We have people come from New York, Connecticut, Maryland. We have regulars who eat here three times a week, sometimes twice a day.”

How do three siblings run a restaurant? Francis describes himself as the maintenance man (he left a 9-year apprenticeship as an electrician to build and run the restaurant) Aivy manages business affairs and handles the bookkeeping; and Nambinh keeps his sights on what goes on in the kitchen. All three know how to cook the menu; and can jump in at a moment’s notice.

“We’re close,” Francis says. “For the most part, we get along.”

“I’m the oldest,” Aivy adds, with a smile.. “They have to listen to me.”

If you go
JUST Beclaws
280 First St, JC
(201) 459-9100
Open Tues-Sun.

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