Crawfish & Noodles
A serving of Viet-Cajun crawfish represents the happy apex of the culinary diversity of Houston. And here in a spacious, light-filled room in the city’s sprawling Asiatown, the mudbugs are transcendent. James Beard semifinalist Trong Nguyen has perfected the technique, boiling and then tossing the critters with garlic butter and an astonishingly deep and abundant mix of spices. We joined a diverse crowd and, properly bibbed, we shucked and slurped and laughed our way into the early evening. We went medium on the heat at first (and we love heat) and were almost flamed out. The mild version is delicious (and lets the taste of the crawfish come through). If you insist, however, you can take the spice level up four more stages. (Not up for crawfish? Grilled oysters are plump and adorned with garlic chives and a knockout salt-and-pepper dip. And stir-fried noodles with beef, shrimp, and vegetables are filling and flavorful.) Throw in a couple of Tsingtao beers, and you’re on your way. Service is friendly and solicitous.