This week's cafe review found us in Westchase to review The Seafood Shoppe, a Viet-Cajun place specializing in boiled crawfish by the pound. We were led to the under-the-radar spot by long-time commenter SirRon, who said of the place:
Someday you'll mention Seafood Shoppe on Westheimer near the Belt -- and I'll pee my pants. Until then, I'll make my annual mention underneath your crawfish post.
While we wait to see whether or not SirRon pees his proverbial pants, we thought now would be as good a time as any for a refresher course on how to eat crawfish. After all, we don't want to send you to The Seafood Shoppe -- or any other crawfish joint -- uneducated.
The photos below will show you how to pinch those tails and suck those heads, but you can also skip ahead to the video on the next page if you're the impatient type. So get your bugs and let's get started.
Step One: Grab the head and tail of the crawfish.
Step Two: Pinch the tail and pull it gently but firmly away from the head.
Step Three: Congratulations! You should now have your crawdad in two pieces. You can Choose Your Own Adventure from here. Your options are:
1) Peel the tail away from the meat like you would a boiled shrimp and eat it that way.
2) Grasp the tail meat between your lips and/or teeth and suck-pull it out of the shell.
3) Do either of the above and suck the head when you're finished.
For sake of reference, the photo above shows how to peel the shell away from the meat and eat it with your fingers. This is preferable if you're at a crawfish joint (read: most of the places in Houston) that doesn't add spices to the water as the crawfish are boiling, and instead dumps the spices on top after the bugs come out of the water. In these cases, there is often so much spice on the shells that it can be painful for your lips to come in constant contact with the shells.
If, however, you are at a backyard crawfish boil or at a local watering hole that does it right, it's preferable to suck-pull the crawfish meat straight out of the tail with your mouth. After a handful, you'll get the hang of it.
To see the process in its entirety -- including how to suck the head (or, in this case, the little lungs of the crawfish because all the good goo ended up there when I was popping it open), check out the short and sweet video below.