Popular Vietnamese-and-crawfish spot LA Crawfish has expanded its empire inside the Loop with its newest location, on Richmond. Taking over the old Kobecue spot in the Greenway Shopping Center, the franchise location, which opened just last month, is serving the same bags of buttery, garlic-loaded crawfish along with intoxicating bowls of pho, chicken wings and the house favorite, beignet fries.
Gone are the long, family-style picnic tables and cramped eating area in the middle of a food court, replaced instead by an open dining room with much more seating -- four-top tables and chairs can be moved to accommodate groups of various sizes.
The welcoming space is filled with funky seaside decor and colored lights that are plastered along walls, while a bright menu greets you at the counter. But perhaps even more welcoming is the restaurant's BYOB policy, which (thankfully) has also carried over from the original location. There really is nothing like a cold beer and piping-hot crawfish.
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When I visited on a recent Saturday, a fair number of diners were eating piles of mudbugs, despite it being early in the season. I planned to join them...
My dining companion and I ordered a couple of pounds of the garlic butter variety (at $6.99/lb) and tacked on a bowl of brisket pho ($5.99/bowl). Once we paid, we were handed a plastic tablecloth that we used to secure a table while we grabbed our drinks. Right next to the soda fountain and complimentary water jug is the condiment station, complete with a mix of spices, mayonnaise, garlic and a hot-butter dispenser. I grabbed a tub or two of seasonings and a bit of butter -- just in case.
When our bag of crawfish and sink-size bowl of pho appeared minutes later, it took just one look at the mudbugs to realize I wouldn't need additional butter. We settled into our seats and alternated between mouthfuls of succulent crawfish tails studded with bits of fresh garlic (do yourself a favor and suck the heads here); spoonfuls of briny and musky, clove-and-anise-scented broth; and bites of tender brisket and soft, supple noodles.
We didn't save room for the beignet fries (or the crab legs and five-spice wings, for that matter), but that's all the reason to go back.