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Feb 20, 2007 07:43 PM

That time of year - Crayfish

I know, I get this strange craving for crayfish about now. The only place I could find in the Baltimore area that sold them steamed was Michael's Cafe in Timonium. Unfortunately, they have removed them from the menu (I guess not enough people ordered them). Any way, fellow hounds, you haven't let me down yet. Who is serving crayfish in the Baltimore area?

As a side note, I ordered one of Arnie's crayfish traps and will start getting my own later this Spring...

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  1. If Michael's Cafe was steaming crawfish, it's little wonder that not enough people were ordering them. Ick! Self-respecting Cajuns would rather die than eat those. You have to boil them to get the seasonings into the meat. The method generally used in South Louisiana also soaks them in the seasoned stock for some period of time depending on how spicy you want them.
    So boil your crawfish. You can steam crabs and shrimp if you choose even though those are boiled in the Gulf Coast region. Yeah, I know. You disagree with that. Matter of taste. I've lived in the Chesapeake Bay area long enough now that I like both ways. I consider them two completely different preparations of the same dish. Like roasted or fried chicken.

    Please report back if you manage to catch enough crawfish in MD to make it worth your while. It's expensive to have them air freighted up from Louisiana. I'm just going home next month and plan to eat them every day, every way.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MakingSense

      Just like no self-respecting Marylander would boil their crabs, ick!

      1. re: hon

        Did you notice that I did not insult the way you choose to cook your crabs in Maryland? I said that I like them. I just consider steaming an alternate preparation.
        I catch MD crabs (although some of them might have swum over from VA) and sometimes I steam them and sometimes I boil them. They're both delicious ways of fixing them.

        1. re: MakingSense

          Uh, didn't mean to insult you, just pointing out the obvious. Perhaps Marylanders enjoy steamed crawfish and would find it insulting that you said "ick" to that.
          I have had crab boil in LA and didn't like it at all.

          1. re: hon

            I've got an open mind. No objection to trying Maryland Steamed Crawfish. I'll go wait in line at one of they many places serving them over on the Eastern Shore this Spring. Haven't seen them in DC or Annapolis.

            The way you like your crabs is what you're used to. My kids wouldn't touch steamed crabs for years. Now they'll eat them. With knives, not hammers, by the way.
            I just love crabs so I got used to them pretty quickly. I have a house over on the Eastern Shore and my watermen neighbors steam really great ones so it was easy. They actually like my boiled version too. You might, who knows?

      2. re: MakingSense

        Yeah, but it is either steamed or pick the frozen/pre-cooked tail bits out of the breading at Popeyes (if you're lucky). I should be able to catch enough. I'll head up to Gifford Pinchot near York and fish and catch crawfish for a weekend. Mmmmm. Love those mud bugs.

        But I guess this is one time when I won't be able to order them in a restaurant. None of the "New Orleans" styled places have them, eh?

        1. re: chesapeakesun

          Somebody will have boiled crawfish sooner or later. You can pretty much count on that.
          Maybe they would steam up OK but based on a lot of years of cooking them, I just have doubts. They're pretty tough little critters. Takes a while to get them tender. Not like crabs and shrimp. And half the joy of eating them is sucking the heads, getting the seasoned juice out.
          I remember what fun we had as kids catching them. Daddy would take us into the swamps with some of his brothers and our cousins. We would catch a couple of hundred pounds in a few hours and then a have a huge crawfish boil at somebody's fishing camp. Eating til we couldn't eat another one! Then we'd help the aunts make a huge pot of crawfish bisque with the rest.

      3. God I would love to find a good crawfish boil in this area and for that matter a good full dressed 12 napkin po boy. I was at the new Whole Foods here in FFX this weekend and stopped at the seafood counter for lunch. They have an oyster po boy on the menu. When I asked if it came fully dressed the woman behind the counter looked at me like I was nuts.

        6 Replies
        1. re: rHairing

          Certainly not up to what I've had in NO but at Acadiana I've had over prices oyster po boy fully dressed (they knew that that meant) with a side of Zapp's. It wasn't great but acceptable for around here. (does that sound like a recommendation or what but its the "best" I've found in DC.

          1. re: Soup

            Acadiana brings their bread up from NOLA. I think they get it par-baked. From Leidenheimer's, the same bakery that supplies Domilise's, the now washed-away Sid-Mar, Mother's, Parkway and most of the really good po'boy shops in New Orleans.
            A good po'boy is all about the bread. That's why you'll never, ever get one at Whole Foods. Their bread is wrong, wrong, wrong for po'boys.
            Acadiana's po'boys are close. No cigar but better than the competion.
            Price? Oysters are just more expensive in DC that in NOLA. Even down there it's no longer a cheap sandwich.
            You can mail order Zapp's in lots of flavors. Great potato chips.

            1. re: MakingSense

              I loved Sid-Mar's. There was also another pretty good place from sid-mar's. If you walk across the foot bridge about a 100 yards on the water that had good oysters, shrimp and crabs. Yum. I miss the whole place.

              Some of good memories of going to morning call hanging out reading papers and eating then going over to sid-mars for lunch. Good day by any standards.

              Never was a huge fan of mother's though.

              1. re: Soup

                I was just down in NOLA visiting my family at Thanksgiving. Sadly, Domilise's, which was my favorite spot, ain't what it used to be. I know Acadiana has one but I would love to find a less upscale place. I have tried Okra's in Manassas and Hickory in Loehman's plaza...nothing comes close. On another note, has anyone notices how many products have made their way north? I can get Zapps at Wegmans..Tobasco chili mix at the world market, Zatarains...and this week I saw King cakes at Giant.

                1. re: rHairing

                  Check the price of raw oysters at a local seafood market. Pretty hard to turn out an inexpensive oyster po'boy when the main raw ingredient is in the luxury range. They're a lot cheaper in the Gulf region. And few places here will use the right bread. Mushy sub rolls don't do it.

                  BTW, Zapp's and Tabasco have mail order divisions. Zapp's once had restaurant size packs that I used to order for parties. Don't know if they still offer these. Mostly, I just make groceries when I go home. Gotta have Camellia red beans.

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    When I say less upscale, I just mean in terms of atmosphere and such, not necessarily price. I like Acadiana. They have this duck with dirty rice dish i adore. I just want a casual kickback kinda place. And if oysters are too expensive, I would gladly settle for a roast beef po'boy...with gravy....debris

        2. FWIW, they actually had very nice looking crawfish at the seafood counter of the Bloom (food lion) in Fair Lakes when I was there on Sunday.

          1 Reply
          1. highly doubtful you will find them live...mortality tends to be high in bags of live crawdads. when they arrive in the area, usually by special order only, they are in 50 lb sacks. if the fishmonger you frequent gets them, as soon as they have to sort the bags for deads, the price will go through the roof, so they are usually only sold by the sack. try special ordering from jessup seafood market. one of the vendors should be able. tend to be around 1.50-2.00 /lb wholesale, probably 3.00 lb w/ markup. may also be able to get 10 lb boxes of frozen whole already cooked and spiced, but they need to be american crawfish...the chinese have dumped huge amounts of inferior crawfish on the market over the last 7 years. See if you can get Gollott brand from Alabama, they tended to be ok

            1 Reply
            1. re: mikemd

              Don't buy frozen cooked whole crawfish. Really inferior taste and texture.
              Frozen crawfish tails are OK, I pulled some out of the freezer for an etoufée last week and they were great. I freeze them all the time. These were Louisiana crawfish.
              Jessup may be able to get them for you. Mikemd's prices may be out-of-date. That's about what they're running in Louisiana right now. Price may come down later this Spring but not much lower up here with shipping and mortality.
              You could try some of places off this list. Call places near the airport to see if they will air-freight freshly cooked crawfish. I've gotten them before sent on direct flight with no problems. Worth a few calls.