Love Thy Mudbugs While You Still Can — The Cold Weather’s Left a TollBY ANNIE GALLAY // 02.15.18
Ragin' Cajun has kicked off crawfish season.
Crawfish season is always a bit of a moving target in Houston. Prime finger-licking time for mudbugs is usually early spring to early summer, February to May. Despite some setbacks, it may be here. Determining factors include temperature and rain.
With Tropical Storm Harvey and unusually cold weather, the timing of this year’s crawfish season is about as clear as mud. But there seems to be consensus that you can expect a short window of a potentially limited crop.
The crawfish that managed to survive flooding and cold weather did so with a handy escape hatch. They burrowed into the mud, which kept them safe. But a hibernation state means they weren’t eating, and thus not getting big and juicy.
Pickings might be slimmer than usual, but you simply can’t go the year without a crawfish boil. We’ve rounded up the top hotspots to enjoy these spicy critters while you can. These are Houston’s best crawfish restaurants for this abbreviated season. You’ll find both Cajun superlatives and Vietnamese knockouts on this list.
4302 Richmond; 9600 Westheimer
What’s in a name? Well, everything when it comes to this Louisiana-loyal spot. Ragin’ Cajun introduced its crawfish boils more than 40 years ago.
It was a pioneer in Houston, and moved from serving crawfish out of a parking lot into its easily recognizable restaurant.
Brennan’s Annual Crawfish Boil is less than a month away, set for March 12. That day, chowing down on crawfish is truly an event. For $32 per person (including tax and gratuity) enjoy crawfish in the iconic Houston restaurant’s scenic courtyard.
Some swear by BB’s, a Cajun café with a Texas twist — and its convenience. The Tex-Orleans cooking can be found at eight different locations across the Houston area. Chances are, when you’re having a crawfish craving, you’ll be close to a BB’s.
BB’s puts a proprietary “Crawfish Paste” on the tasty critters. You can dip the tails right in, and find it at the bottom of each crawfish order.
88 Boiling Crawfish & Seafood
There’s something special about 88’s crawfish, and it’s all in the “88 Special” seasoning. This Houston staple prepares the crawfish with a mix of all three seasoning bends, tossing them together in the same bag.
The result? A medley of garlic butter, lemon pepper and Cajun spices.
606 E. 11th
This open-air restaurant offers drive thru and take out authentic freshwater Louisiana crawfish. Only open on the weekends, it’s a great place to pick up crawdads for your own boil — live or already boiled.
Celebrate the season in your own backyard with soaked crawfish seasoned to perfection.
This Montrose Gulf Coast-inspired spot features chef Danton Nix’s unique crawfish seasoning. It’s distinctive and traditional with a little extra.
He’s shared his recipe, which includes powdered crab boil seasoning (Rex Ready Mix, if available), lemons, peeled garlic, butter, and more. It’s best served with redskin potatoes and corn.
Zydeco Louisiana Diner
This downtown Houston spot offers a menu with three generations of family recipes. In that time, they’ve worked to perfect their crawfish. Its old school Southern Louisiana style is a hit.
Bayou City Seafood & Pasta
So we may be on a roll with crawfish boils, but have we mentioned the crawfish pastas at Bayou City? In addition to your traditional crawfish, you can get six different pasta dishes with crawfish here.
There’s your straightforward Crawfish Fettuccini, with the mudbugs front and center. Pasta Liberty comes with crabmeat in a white wine cream sauce. Pasta Paula comes with artichokes, mushrooms, tomatoes and more. And that’s just for starters.
Get ready for some Cajun-Asian crossover. There’s reason in the rhyme, with several ways to enjoy your crawdads. You can feast on them with garlic butter, hot and sour sauces, or Cajun style.
Get ‘em with a side of jasmine rice for something a little different.
Crawfish & Noodles
If you’re into spicy, this Vietnamese fusion hotspot is for you. Hidden in a strip center in Chinatown, Crawfish & Noodles offers eye-watering crawfish.
You can even branch out with a fried catfish and goat hot pot pairing. Or in the true Vietnamese-Cajun spirit, go for the fresh blue crab stir-fry.