Thursday, May 7, 2009
The Austin Crawfish Retrospective
It all started when I was a kid growing up in Michigan. My mother would buy frozen crawfish from the seafood counter every once in a while. When I moved down to Houston, a.k.a. the Dirty South, I learned so much more about crawfish (not "crayfish").
The crawfish boil is a big excuse to hang out outdoors, get messy, eat delicious seafood, and drink a lot of beer. Gotta love the 3rd coast. Crawfish in its real form is a hot, juicy, steamy fresh miniature lobster tail. In fact, the chinese word for lobster is actually "crawfish."
Although Austin is a mere 2.5 hours from Houston, the available of good quality crawfish is like night and day. So I set upon a mission for the best crawfish in town, and this is what I found.
Already famous for their, well, quality seafood, we were delighted to find the freshest and the cheapest crawfish in town. Service is fast, you can see them weighing out the crawfish behind the counter so you know you're getting your money's worth. Seasoning is spicy but not too salty. And at $5.99 per pound, it sure beats $6.99, the rest Austin has to offer.
5621 Airport Blvd
Crawfish Shack & Oyster Bar
One of my favorite things about crawfish is that they're high in protein and low in fat. The perfect weight-loss food. Although Crawfish Shack & Oyster Bar, some of this was lost in the greasy boil they used. Butter was unnecessary with their recipe. However, they also had BBQ blue crabs. As you from my "Mama Ren's Blue Crab" post, they are my favorite. Nowhere else have I found such a fare.
2013 Wells Branch Pkwy # 106
Fish City Grill
This is the only place in town found that serves crawfish every night of the week. Delicious and convenient, I just wish "spicer" didn't just mean "saltier." At $6.99 per pound you pay for the convenience.
4616 Triangle Ave # 200
4200 S Lamar Blvd
Good if you are south of the river, however they only offer on Tuesdays. The crawfish was delicious, although on the light side of weight. Not sure if we got all 3 lbs that we ordered. At $15.99 per 3 lbs., even with the thumb on the scale this was a great deal.
4404 W William Cannon Dr # L
Shoal Creek Saloon
It's claim to fame was its cajun food, but the quality of their crawfish says otherwise. Seasoning was on the light side but the biggest disappointment was how many dead crawfish there were in the mix. Approximately half were dead or had crushed head. Not so appetizing. Maybe it was a bad day, but at $6.99 per pound it's not worth it even if it wasn't.
909 N Lamar Blvd
HEB Seafood Counter
It's hard to heat this up to the proper temperature but in a nostalgic way, this reminds me of my mother's crawfish. For the price of $2.49 per pound, this is certainly a good choice when you crave crawfish right now. After freezing the "wang" (crawfish innards) the mustard in the head comes out easier, yet freezing does something to change the quality. Not a bad choice for the price in a pinch.
Summary: Quality Seafood FTW, as it tends to be. Nothing yet compares to my favorite Houston crawfish joint. Mardi Gras Grill remains #1 in my heart forever.