Sunday, January 30, 2011

Crawfish Shack Seafood

Category: Worth a drive
Summary: Excellent shellfish boils, not to mention surprisingly low prices

I've heard very good things about Crawfish Shack on Buford Highway for awhile but I hadn't managed to get there.  A dinner with my friends Sudeshna and Saibal turned out to be the right opportunity.  Be forewarned---this place is very difficult to see from Buford Highway.  The sign is totally invisible from the northbound side of the road, which is the side that it's on.  All I can say is drive slowly and have a passenger look out---it's in a newish strip mall.

The place itself is simple but bright and cheery.  You order at the counter and eat at big picnic tables, but the decor is new and fresh. When I asked our server for a refresher course on how to eat a crawfish, he went back to the kitchen, got a demonstration crawfish, and gave us a wonderful demo.  (You pull the front part of the shell up as if lifting the hood of a car, then pull off the tail. To get at the tail meat, you break off the tip of the tail and then work off the rest of the shell.)



This, believe it or not, is the combo for one, which was plenty to feed 2 1/2 people. The bowl is 10 inches in diameter, so this is a lot of seafood, not to mention some potatoes and corn thrown in for good measure. Although they have fried food, we opted for boiled/steamed.  The boil, or spices put into the water, is spicy. It imparts a wonderful flavor but isn't overpowering; there is just a limit to how much pepper you can get into a piece of food by boiling.  The crawfish were the spiciest; we weren't sure whether they absorb more spice or are just cooked in a different way. We all agreed that the crawfish was the best, partly due to the spiciness of the boil but also because of the inherent tastiness of these little creatures.

Crawfish is also a great social dinner.  Like fondue and some other dishes, it's impossible to eat quickly. The slow pace gives you plenty of time to talk and actually enjoy your dinner rather than just stuffing it down so you can get back to the TV.

My overall reaction is wow.   I'm already thinking of who else I can invite to join me for a crawfish dinner.


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