They brought out bibs and rubber gloves, which should have been my cue to use them.
“Nah,” I thought, “I don’t need those. I’m a Houstonian. I know how to eat crawfish without making a mess, and getting my hands dirty is half the fun.”
Well, wouldn’t you know it, I take the tail off my first boiled mudbug and start peeling off the shell, which snaps back and shoots specs of dark red seasoning on my light-colored shirt. Just like that, I felt a little foolish.
It felt good though, to officially partake in crawfish season. And I left the BB’s Tex-Orleans location in Oak Forest feeling good, both because I had a satisfying Cajun-style meal and because I kept the mess to a minimum.
BB’s is a Houston chain rooted in Louisiana cuisine and claims to have some of the best crawdads in town. I can’t claim to be a crawfish connoisseur, and won’t confirm or deny that assertion, but I found them to be good-sized, well-seasoned, fresh-tasting and flavorful both with and without occasional dips in melted butter.
BB’s mudbugs could have been a little spicier, and maybe they would have been if I had sucked the juices out of their heads. That’s just not my style. Never has been. It took me long enough to get used to handling the little buggers and breaking them apart. Maybe one of these days.
On this day, at least, BB’s service was even better than its crawfish. I arrived a few minutes before 6:30 p.m., which is when happy hour ended, and still was offered specials that included discounted drinks from the bar and half-price off of most appetizers.
I opted for the Abita Andygator, one of several domestic, craft and imported beer choices at BB’s, and two appetizers. The Boudin Balls were a no-brainer, and the server recommended the Cajun Taquitos with blackened shrimp.
It turned out BB’s had run out of the taquitos, but to make up for it they offered a different appetizer on the house. Perhaps the Fried Pickle Chips that took their place should have been recommended instead, because they were thickly sliced, sufficiently breaded and, most importantly, hot and crispy.
As for the Boudin Balls, which were plump, breaded with cornmeal and filled with pork and dirty rice, they were solid and satisfying. They were served with a spicy, creamy Louisiana-style remoulade, which was a nice complement.
Then came the crawfish, which came out steaming. They were priced at $8.75 per pound, with the melted butter, corn cobs and red potatoes all being a little extra.
It seemed silly to have to pony up for each cob ($0.75) and potato ($0.25) – I mean, what’s a crawfish boil without them? – and they stood out more in appearance than taste. I had no problems with the potatoes, but the corn wasn’t worth its small price.
Corn on the cob is one of my favorite foods, and it’s supposed to soak up the flavor of the crawfish seasoning, but it was too mushy and far too salty. I didn’t quite eat it all, which is unusual for me.
But there was no crawfish meat remaining on the table – just the shells and claws and residual juices and spices. They left my fingers red but in a good way, and my shirt was just a little bit stained.
Still, next time I think I’ll swallow my pride and put on the bib. And maybe I’ll toughen up and try sucking the juices out of the heads.
Address: 1737 W. 34th St. Suite 500
Hours: 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sunday–Thursday, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Friday–Saturday
Senior discount: No
Healthy options: None
Star of the Show: Crawfish