In this week's Cafe review, we explore end-of-the-season deals on crawfish in the Little Saigon area of town with seafood dealer Jim Gossen. It's hard to believe, but when Gossen and the Landry boys introduced boiled crawfish to Houston at Don's Seafood restaurant in the 1980s, Houstonians turned up their noses. Sales were dismal. "We used as many of the uneaten crawfish as we could for garnishes at the restaurant, but we ended up throwing a lot of them away," he remembers.
Now Jim Gossen owns Louisiana Foods, a leading crawfish wholesaler. Today, Houston consumes an enormous amount of crawfish -- more than New Orleans and possibly even more than the whole state of Louisiana, he says. Gossen had never eaten Vietnamese-style crawfish until this recent visit to the Boiling Crab at Beltway 8 and Beechnut. He loved the lemon-pepper seasoning but thought the crawfish were a little small. But he was very impressed with the size of the boiled blue crab, a huge #1 male.