by Steven Doyle
We are still enjoying the seafood season as the crawfish continue to grow larger, and the crabs are ever so sweet. Boiling Crab in Dallas near Garland seems to always be busy with lines starting at least thirty minutes before opening, and on super nice days as much as an hour with guests toting lawn chairs and sipping mystery drinks as they eagerly await a mess of crawfish, a myriad of crabs, shrimp and even lobster steamed in a bag packed full of seasoning.
Here the phrase is “The Whole Shabang” which means all the spices in the house mixed with butter. This is the holy grail of boils in Dallas.
Monday through Friday the restaurant opens late (or early depending on your vantage) at 3pm, and weekends look for the doors to open at noon. We have the single location in Dallas, so far, with a majority of Boiling Crab locations in southern California. There is the other misfit restaurant in Vegas, too.
Vietnamese crawfish are spicier and a lot more flavorful than the Cajun variety. The liquid is usually old-fashioned Cajun boil, with lemongrass stalks and other aromatics added in. But it’s the Vietnamese preoccupation with sauces and flavorings that really distinguishes the critters. Boiling Crab may no longer have a lock on this process, but they certainly have perfected it.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with ordering your shellfish simply steamed with a vat of sauce on the side. This makes for a cleaner dining experience, but we certainly recommend you get messy at least on the first visit.
You also have a choice of fried fare, should you wish to go that route, look for fried shrimp, catfish and calamari. For the non-seafood friend in your party, and there always seems to be one, fried chicken tenders and hot wings are available. I have no clue what these are about because it seems a sin to order chicken in a prime seafood restaurant.
The wait is long, the parking is wretched, but the food is fine at the Boiling Crab. Beer and wine available too.