Warm weather means crawfish season is upon us earlier than usual. Which means the time to start loading yourself with mudbugs is NOW. While you can take advantage with awesome Cajun crawfish boils at nearly any bar, you can also do so with some pretty excellent crawfish dishes.
Here are ten of Houston’s finest:
Bayou Gumbo at The Durham House, 1200 Durham
This positively loaded gumbo is chock full of Cajun goodness. Buttery crawfish, shell-on jumbo shrimp, alligator, and whole blue crab mix and mingle in a beautifully spiced, dark, and rich as all hell roux. Served alongside a crusty hunk of Common Bond French bread, it’s a meal fit for a Bayou King.
Crawfish Roll at Saint Arnold Brewery, 2000 Lyons
Imagine a lobster roll, but with crawfish! That’s what you’re getting at Houston’s oldest craft brewery: an impossibly buttery grilled bun fully loaded with fantastic, mayo-slathered crawfish. And just because Saint Arnold really, really loves you, you’re getting it with some of the most addicting hand-cut fries in town.
Crawfish Étouffée at The Boot, 1206 West 20th
You can (and should) get some of the truly excellent Louisiana-style boiled crawfish at this patio bar and grill. But you should also get the rich and spicy crawfish étouffée, made from an old family recipe that’s absolutely brimming with fresh crawfish tail meat. Especially when it’s smothered over things like blackened, grilled or fried catfish.
Crawfish Risotto at Mockingbird Bistro, 1985 Welch
To take advantage of the early season, this Montrose favorite has added several off-the-menu crawfish specials. Mudbugs get fancified in an incredibly creamy, flawlessly executed risotto. Get it as is or topped with pan-seared fish of the day, both of which will be offered nightly during the entirety of crawfish season.
#15 Crispy Softshell Crawfish Taco at Velvet Taco, 4819 Washington
Velvet Taco may be a Dallas import, but this Gulf-inspired taco is fully Houston. Crispy, cornmeal-crusted softshell crawfish get an extra punch from pork and crawfish jambalaya, rémoulade, pickled red cabbage and micro greens, all of which gets wrapped in a scratchmade flour tortilla.
Crawfish Pho at LA Crawfish, multiple locations
Reason #857 why we love Houston: It's one of the most culturally diverse cities in America. Mainly because that's really freaking cool, but also because the amalgamation of cultures means we get to eat things like this Viet-Cajun crawfish pho. The kitchen-sink-size bowl comes packed with delicate crawfish meat, andouille sausage and the typical Vietnamese accoutrements, all swimming in a lightly spiced blond broth.
Crawfish Ravioli at D’Amico’s Italian Market, 5510 Morningside (Rice Village); 2643 Commercial Center (Katy)
This homemade pasta stands out from the crowd with a filling of buttery crawfish, poblano peppers and cheesy goodness. As if that’s not decadent enough, the overstuffed raviolis come swimming in a creamy, just pink tomato sauce that will have you licking the plate clean.
Enchiladas de Acociles at Arnaldo Richards' Pico's, 3601 Kirby
Because of its extreme popularity (and deliciousness), you can get this impressive dish all year long. But it's best in season, when the crawfish are fresh, meaty and crazy good. The aggressively seasoned mudbugs in chipotle cream sauce come wrapped inside fresh corn tortillas before getting a warm and cozy chihuahua cheese blanket.
Crawfish Benedict at Max's Wine Dive, 214 Fairview
Sure, you can have your eggs Benny smothered in regular hollandaise, but you could also get your eggs benny smothered in beautifully spiced CRAWFISH hollandaise. So why wouldn't you? The Fairview location of Houston's favorite wine dive switches up the brunch staple by doing just that, plus swapping out boring English muffins for crusty Pugliese toast. The result is nothing short of magic.
The Trio at Le' Pam's Houson of Creole, 1644 FM 1960 West
The ultimate trinity of Creole cuisine, this dynamic Friday through Sunday special from dynamic owner and chef Pamela Graham is an absolute must. For starters, there's the dirty rice, made absolutely filthy with plenty of chicken liver and fiery Creole blend. Next, there's the corn-meal-crusted, perfectly fried catfish filet, sitting atop the rice in all of its beautiful glory. But the whole thing wouldn't be complete without the grande finale: the crawfish tail loaded étouffée with an outstanding dark roux. Get it and live the next few moments of your weekend in Creole bliss.