Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
This week, I got invited to a media event at Claw Daddy's, a restaurant located on the Lower East Side that serves Cajun cuisine. As Jodi does not like seafood, I proposed to my friend Benny to join the party, making his wife jealous that she could not come with us as she also loves seafood...
This place, that opened in January of this year, is fairly bright with its floor to (high) ceiling windows, simply decorated with fishermen objects, reflecting the theme of the restaurant.
Tables are communal, that can be fun considering how the food is eaten and there are few hints that it is going to get messy: first are the paper rolls on the table as well as the paper tablecloths.
Then, they bring you a small paper box with gloves (that of course made people laugh and joke about things that have no place in this blog),
A bib, that people wore without any shame,
A wet towel to cleanup.
In the back of the room is a small display, where a lobster definitely caught my eye. Yes, I love seafood and particularly lobster and was thrilled to hear that our tasting menu would include a lobster roll. I LOVE lobster rolls and always recommend people coming to visit us from Europe to try one. In France, it would still be considered crazy to serve lobster like that. I can hear my fellow Frenchmen saying: "Quoi? Un sandwich au homard? Ils sont fous ces 'Ricains!" ("What? A lobster sandwich? They are crazy these yankees!").
To start with, I had a choice between wine or beer. They have a nice selection of beers there, but I admit that I always enjoy a cold glass of white wine with seafood. I chose a dry Riesling that was perfect.
Then, came wings and popcorn shrimp.
The Cajun style wings were definitely my favorite: crispy, not greasy, with the meat inside still juicy. The popcorn shrimp were good too, similar to the chicken, not being greasy and a bit crunchy, the shrimp itself being perfectly cooked.
Then came the lobster roll. It was half a portion as we were trying few dishes. I literally inhaled it because it was so good, the sauce the lobster was bathed in was not overpowering and perfectly seasoned with probably cajun spices.
Then came the long awaited Louisiana boil:
I admit that before going to Claw Daddy's, I did not know that a boil is a social event where shellfish is the centerpiece, usually cooked in a large pot with different ingredients and seasoning. At Claw Daddy's, they serve different kinds: lobster, crawfish, shrimp, crab...You can also order a combination such as crab and shrimp or lobster and crawfish. For this event, we got clams (huge), shrimp (fantastic, large, perfectly cooked), crawfish (I did not like) and crab (good). We also had to pick a sauce, as well as how spicy it would be, the spiciest being called...insane! It is made with scorpion pepper that is one of the most piquant pepper. I did not try it and went for a mild sauce, picking the butter cheese sauce (made with parmesan and butter), over the garlic butter one, too afraid the garlicky flavor would repel vampires for an extended amount of time.
When the dish came, it was not served on a plate, but in a plastic bag and you simply throw the shell in a bucket.
The first thing you see when you open the bag is the crab and then, you get this divine aroma and a bit of steam that convinces you at that time to put the bib on and use the gloves (there are no forks or knives, probably only brought on demand).
I should also mention that there were potatoes and corn in the bag. I liked that dish and it was fun to eat it, although I was worried at first as I was wearing a suit, the event being after work (no, I did not end up with sauce on my shirt thanks to the bib). As I mentioned, I did not like the crawfish, but loved the shrimp, crab and clams, the first two being definitely my favorite.
Claw Daddy's was definitely a novelty for me as it was my first seafood boil and I loved the low-key, humble atmosphere of the place, as well as the fact that it was communal. I would definitely go back to either get another boil or try their Po'Boys. Please know that, if you are vegetarian, they have a very limited number of options.
Enjoy (I did)!
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