Monday, February 15, 2010

Hot Boiled: The Ultimate Mardi Gras/Lunar New Year Spot

Welcome everyone to the Year of the Tiger! What a holiday week it's been. Valentine's day, Chinese/Lunar New Year, my birthday (ahem), and to top it all off Mardi Gras is this Tuesday!

If you happen to be looking for a place to celebrate both Mardi Gras and LNY, a restaurant that serves both Vietnamese food and cajun/gulf coast food, look no further than Hot Boiled.

Located on the corner of Mopac and Parmer Ln, the sign at Hot Boiled says it all: "crawfish and pho." The owners of Hot Boiled are Vietnam natives but come to us by way of New Orleans.

A quick look up and down the menu and you will find many favorites from both cajun and Vietnamese culinary cultures, everything from pho and bun to etouffee and poboys. We opted to go with the crawfish pho and crawfish fried rice. Both were very tasty. The fried rice was moist and light and had plenty of big and juicy crawfish tails. The pho had a very flavorful not-too-salty broth, even for pho. My only real complaint about it is that they were exactly just that: fried rice with crawfish and pho with crawfish. There wasn't a whole lot of cajun flavor in either dish, or any further "fusing" of the cultures.

And I understand that maybe that isn't fair. After all, they advertise "crawfish and pho" and that is exactly what we got. But I really would have like to see more dishes that took it a step further. (Later that night I had a dream I ate a BBQ alligator banh mi... I wonder if it's a sign?)

But in the end, it's hard to have complaints about a place where you can get a bowl of crawfish pho with a side of gumbo and spring roll. Combine that with courteous service and a great happy hour ($2 domestics, $2.50 imports) and it's kung hei fat choy every day of the year.