The name of Johnny Nguyen’s new spot, The Dive Oyster Bar, only tells half the story. Yes, he serves fresh oysters – a half-dozen varieties daily. But it’s his steam-kettle cooking technique that evokes the Creole and Cajun flavors of New Orleans’ French Quarter. The new Spectrum Center restaurant marks the third for Nguyen and co-founder Jay Tran, with a fourth opening soon. We recently asked Nguyen about his unique twist on traditional Southern comfort food.

What is the secret to your success?

We offer a unique coastal dining experience featuring the finest oysters and vibrant Cajun and Creole flavors. Our signature steam-kettle cooking technique ensures that every dish is prepared to perfection.

Johnny Nguyen, co-founder of The Dive Oyster Bar, draws inspiration from his parents and New Orleans.

Who inspired you?

Both my parents. They were entrepreneurs. They came to this country on a boat during the Vietnam War. They didn’t speak English, but both had successful businesses. I wanted to follow in their footsteps.

Any other tie-ins with your family history?

Yes. Vietnam and New Orleans are both surrounded by water, and both are huge seafood scenes. When my parents’ generation came here as refugees, Los Angeles and New Orleans were among the places they were resettled.

Your favorite dish on the menu?

It used to be the cioppino – our fisherman’s stew with crab legs, shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari and whitefish. But now it’s the lobster roll. We make our garlic butter from scratch. We use a special house blend of Southern spices. Because of the different ingredients that go into it, it’s unlike any lobster roll you’ve ever had.

The pan roast features blue crab, clams, mussels, andouille and shrimp in a tomato cream sauce.