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It’s Crawfish Season in New Orleans!

Find some of the best boils in the Crescent City at these bars and restaurants.

Crawfish

Barcadia Bar & Grill

Barcadia brings classic arcade games to a grown-up audience. Its cocktail menu is considerable, but for crawfish, beer is the traditional drink pairing of choice. Choose from one of dozens of beers on tap (we recommend local labels Urban South and NOLA Brewing) and order a plateful of fresh crawfish boiled by chef Brian Bajon.

"I've been boiling with my dad ever since I can remember," Bajon says, "so my technique is a family one." He throws in different ingredients depending on the day and his mood; you may find standard potatoes, mushrooms, corn and sausage in the mix one week, and Brussels sprouts and artichokes the next. Pineapple is a particular favorite of Bajon's - "it's unique, and gives the stock a sweet and spicy taste."

Boiled crawfish is served Friday and Sunday afternoons and evenings throughout crawfish season, which runs approximately from February through June and reaches its height between March and May.

Deanie's Seafood Restaurant

Deanie's is located just one block off Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter. Its family-friendly atmosphere is perfect for all ages of visitors. And the dishes? Divine. You'll find crawfish on the menu throughout the year, in Creole dishes such as crawfish bisque and crawfish étouffée. In the springtime, though, you'll find fresh boiled crawfish and crabs on the menu.

House of Blues

Where else in the world but New Orleans can you find the words "crawfish" and "Voodoo" in the same sentence? When in season, House of Blues serves up hot boiled crawfish in its Voodoo Garden, an outdoor music venue set in a traditional French Quarter brick courtyard. "We're starting to incorporate a lot more blues concerts," says Catherine Hartman, Operations Manager, adding that shows in the Voodoo Garden are all-ages and admission is free. Show up early on Fridays, because the crawfish are served beginning at 4 p.m. and quantities are limited.

Maple Leaf Bar

The Maple Leaf is one of Uptown's most legendary bars, playing host to some of New Orleans' biggest and best jazz and blues artists over its 40-plus years in business. It's also perhaps the only place in town where you might find crawfish boiling with frog legs.

Every Sunday starting at 10 p.m. during crawfish season, visitors can show up and pick their own crawfish from a communal picnic table in the barroom. The ingredients range from the offbeat to the exotic, changing according to the boilmaster's whim. Maybe some Cajun boudin and rabbit one week, maybe silkie chickens from the local Asian market the next.

After getting your crawfish fix, stick around for a show. Bands typically start about 10:30 p.m. and play late into the night.

The Rusty Nail

Crawfish season at The Rusty Nail officially kicked off on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 5) with what was billed as "The Super Boil." It was also when they premiered an annual staple of crawfish season, Abita Brewery's strawberry lager - a seasonal offering by Louisiana's largest brewer that is made with local berries and is beloved by both crawfish connoisseurs and beer drinkers with a sweet tooth.

Every Friday throughout the season, customers are treated to two-and-a-half pounds of boiled crawfish, served up with corn, potatoes and mushrooms. Crawfish étouffée is also on the menu, so whichever way you like your mudbugs, The Rusty Nail has you covered.

 

Fast Facts:

What are Crawfish?

Crawfish, also known as crayfish, crawdads and mudbugs, are delicious little crustaceans that are central to the culture of south Louisiana. The crawfish is so iconic to Louisiana that in 1983 it was named the official state crustacean.

When is Crawfish Season?

It varies year to year, but a safe bet is between mid-January and early July, with prime season being between March and May. Incidentally, this also happens to be the same time as many of New Orleans' biggest festivals.

How are Crawfish Eaten?

While boiled crawfish, served with potatoes, corn, lemon and whole cloves of garlic, is the most popular way of eating them, you'll also find the delicacy on menus throughout New Orleans. Crawfish bisque, crawfish étouffée and crawfish pies are just a few of the most popular Creole dishes you should not leave New Orleans without trying.

Can I try this at home?

If you have a really large pot and a few hungry people, then yeah! Do it. Boiled crawfish is something for the masses, and pretty much any recipe you'll find requires a larger volume of ingredients than what is typically needed for a standard dinner - figure three to five pounds of crawfish per person.

Frozen crawfish tails are available year-round, and with those you can make an outstanding crawfish étouffée - it's a fun way to bring a little bit of Creole back home.