With July on the horizon, many Texans are feeling the spirit of summer – gearing up for the holidays in Galveston, planning day trips to float down the river in New Braunfels, or gearing up for Christmas celebrations. Independence Day. Many Houstonians, however, dread July because it marks the end of our beloved crawfish season.
Thanks to our neighbors in Louisiana, Texas has access to live mudbugs from January to July, weather permitting (which still isn’t long enough if you ask me). The warm winter months of 2021 have blessed us with a thriving season full of giant crayfish in 2022, but all good spicy things must come to an end. From Tex-Orleans cuisine to Viet-Cajun (the best fusion ever melted), we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of crawfish joints to visit before time runs out. With only a few weeks left to treat yourself, it’s time to put on the old bib and suck some heads!
88 Boiled crayfish and seafood, 1910 Wilcrest: For more than nine years, 88 Boiling has been a go-to for crawfish on the west side of Bayou City. The 88 Special home boil is a balanced mixture of garlic butter, Cajun spices and lemon pepper. Boiled corn and potatoes come with every order and are perfect containers for mopping up the extra messy gravy.
BB’s Tex Orleans, Multiple Locations: With a dozen locations in the Houston area, BB’s is likely to serve its Cajun-inspired cuisine in a neighborhood near you. Enjoy crawfish in one of two flavors: a new and improved version Louisiana Style or the famous Tex-Orleans “wet” seasoning. BB’s also hosts an impressive array of daily specials to keep you satiated for the rest of the season — Cray Mondays run all through June (3 pounds of field crawfish, medium with a few big ones mixed in, with a corn and a potato for $15), Aquatic Creature Wednesdays (5 lbs of high quality “classic” crawfish for $25) or 5 lbs of field crawfish for $35 any day of the week.
Boil the house606 E 11th: Boil House owners, born and raised in Louisiana, use their combined 20 years of crawfish farming and supply experience to offer authentic Louisiana crayfish in the bustling Heights neighborhood. At this open-air venue, diners can order at the counter and feast at one of the communal picnic tables or take advantage of the convenient drive-thru. Outdoor dining can heat up quickly, so stay cool with a go Daiquiri, margarita Where Beer. The season should end with July 25so plan ahead to pick up your ready-to-eat boiled mudbugs or grab a live bag and cajun seasonings to host your own boil at home.
Crayfish & Donuts, 9600 Bellaire: In its original booth inside the Hong Kong City Mall, this restaurant has been a crawfish hotspot for nearly two decades. The menu then was modest: Louisiana-style crawfish, corn and potatoes—ironically, no beignets. In 2019, they found a new home at Dynasty Plaza and expanded their offering to include a variety of flavors, appetizers, starters, and finally…doughnuts. The new space is clean and updated, but the original recipe remains unchanged. Enjoy your crayfish in the original Cajun boil or mix in one of their new sauces: garlic butter, lemon pepper, mix (Cajun, garlic butter and lemon pepper), Thai Citrus, and Krajun (garlic butter, Cajun seasoning and assorted onions). Don’t forget to complete your meal with an order of Boudain egg rolls, Grilled Oysters with Garlic and Parmesan Where donutstopped with powdered sugar and your choice of condensed milk or honey.
Crayfish & Noodles11360 Bellaire: As one of the initiators of Viet Cajun crawfish, this Asiatown classic has been featured on Ugly Delicious, Food Network, Travel Channel and Netflix’s Top Chef, making Crawfish & Noodles one of Houston’s most popular destinations for seasonal seafood. Trong Nguyen, owner and James Beard runner-up, has helped fuel the rise in popularity of Vietnamese Cajun cuisine. Arrive early to beat the queues and gain weight before the season ends.
Crayfish coffee, Multiple Locations: If there was an award for most flavor options, Crawfish Cafe would absolutely win, but what’s more impressive is that every sauce and special mix is well crafted. Sometimes quantity can also be quality. The original location of Hong Kong City Mall, the standalone location of Heights, and the new establishment of The Woodlands offer a long list of seasonings for unlimited flavor combinations: Native Cajun, cajun kick (a tangy version of the original), Garlic butter, lemon pepper, Thai Basil and Coco Loco (coconut, garlic and citrus). Special in-house blends are also available, such as The Graal (Garlic Butter and Thai Basil) or my favorite, Signature (an ultra flavorful blend of garlic butter and Kickin Cajun). With a 1 pound minimum per flavor, there’s absolutely no reason not to try every combination. Spice levels range from soft to reaper at an additional $0.50 per book. Be sure to prime your palette with one of their Viet-Cajun appetizers like the spring rolls with crayfish or an employee favourite, the salt and pepper wings (extra crispy and extra spicy).
Jenivi’s Seafood Shop, 10555 Westheimer: This western favorite has been serving some of Houston’s best crawfish since 1983. Today, you’ll find the same chefs serving up the original Cajun recipes; in particular, their irresistible house special sauce. The “crack sauce”, as it was affectionately nicknamed by loyal customers, has become cult. The Cajun Crawfish is served piping hot with a side of the indescribably savory sauce whose recipe is a closely guarded secret. In high season you can order the select size (medium/large mix) or get giant (extra large mini lobsters) for a small premium per pound. After July, you can continue to treat yourself to crayfish from Jenivi’s offers live crayfish all year round. Be sure to complete your order with their famous Grilled corn; a whole cob of corn coated in seasoned cornmeal and fried to perfection.
Mike’s Seafoodmultiple locations: mike trinh, owner of Mike’s Seafood, is something of a local legend in the Asiatown community. In addition to running restaurants, he was a veteran MMA fighter. Hometown hero and MMA fighter Derrick Lewis says “everything you order at Mike’s Seafood is good,” and Mike’s loyal customers have been saying the same thing since 2003. Trinh’s garlic crayfish are available in two heat levels: medium or spicy. To buy 5 books and get 1 free from Monday to Thursday. just $6.99 per poundthese crawfish are wildly affordable.
Saigon House, 3645 Cypress Creek Parkway: This northern counter-service restaurant is as much an ode to Houston as it is to New Orleans. The menu, which was developed by the chef Tony J. Nguyen, which was a James Beard Award finalist for his work in Xin Chao this year, is filled with original selections that scream H-Town, like the Chest Smoked Pho and the astrodome, a breathtaking platter with 5 pounds of crawfish, 3 pounds of jumbo shrimp, potatoes and corn. Sauce your crawfish in a variety of flavors: H-town Bang (garlic and butter), 3rd Sandy Coast (Cajun seasoning), Saigon Heat (citrus and onion) and Thai surprise (chiles, basil and lemongrass). Discover their happy hour Monday-Friday 3-6pm, which includes discounted alcoholic beverages and appetizers, or get 5 pounds of Cajun crawfish for $25 from Tuesday to Thursday.
Shell hut2412 Washington: What better way to say goodbye to the season than with an evening full of friends, mudbugs and all the fixings at Shell Shack’s first crayfish porridge? The shellfish festival begins on July 28 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.. Guests who buy a ticket for $30 will score 3 pounds of crawfish, corn, potatoes, sausage, and eggs. Tickets are available on the Shell Shack online menu.