Crawfish season, which typically begins in March and runs through June or July, was delayed in 2014 by a long, harsh winter. What this means for eateries like Crawfish Heaven and its patrons, however, is there is more time to order the popular freshwater crustacean at a reasonable price and at a good size.
"It looks like we have a good four [extra] weeks left of fresh, local crawfish," said Katie Huynh, manager at Crawfish Heaven in Missouri City. "Once the season is over in the Gulf, we will begin flying crawfish in from California daily."
Crawfish Heaven—which opened in mid-2012—offers crawfish year-round and features a different take on Vietnamese-style crawfish, which is fast becoming a hot culinary trend in Houston, said Christian Nguyen, owner of Crawfish Heaven. This style uses garlic butter and spices and is served in a plastic bag, which traps the flavor by allowing the crawfish to soak in the seasonings.
"What we do is a blend of Cajun and Vietnamese-style crawfish," Huynh said. "That is where the garlic and lemon pepper come in. Our crawfish is very different than what you will find in Louisiana."
With the capacity to seat less than 50 people at a time, visitors to the small Missouri City restaurant often have to wait for a table, but Crawfish Heaven diners do not seem to mind doing it, said first-time customer Christian Garcia.
"This place is worth the wait," Garcia said. "I haven't had crawfish this good around here, so it is definitely worth it."
The restaurant offers a short but comprehensive menu featuring a range of market-priced seafood and combination baskets. All baskets are priced at $10.99 and come with fries and the diner's choice of fried seafood—catfish, oysters, and shrimp to name a few.
For those who want to host their own crawfish boil without the trouble and mess, Crawfish Heaven also offers takeout service where it derives close to 50 percent of its business, Huynh said.
Nguyen and his team are looking to expand Crawfish Heaven in Fort Bend County with a focus on patio dining and a full bar and lounge area.
"Our plan is to kind of take over the Fort Bend crawfish scene," Huynh said.
On the market
Despite its name, Crawfish Heaven offers more than its seasonal crawfish by the pound. The restaurant brings a variety of market seafood to the table throughout the year. In addition, the menu features a selection of baskets, such as fried oysters, shrimp and catfish.
Market prices as of early June:
Crawfish—$7.99 per pound
Dungeness crab—$15.99 per pound
King crab—$22.99 per pound
Stone crab—$13.99 per pound
Lobster—$15.99 per pound
Shrimp—$10.99 per pound
Crawfish season typically begins in March and ends in June or July. The 2014 season, however, was delayed by a particularly long and cold winter.
This year, crawfish lovers are expected to be able to order the popular shellfish from most places at a reasonable market price through August.
Pick your seasoning:
Crawfish can range in size as well as flavor. Crawfish Heaven patrons choose which spices and select their preferred spice level.
This seasoning has a variety of Cajun flavors such as cayenne and black pepper.
This seasoning includes chopped garlic and brings a distinctive flavor to the crawfish.
With a hint of citrus, this seasoning seems to heat up with each crawfish you eat.
This special seasoning combines elements from all the other house seasonings.
Corn on the cob—$0.75 each
Potatoes—$1.50 for three
Sausage—$3.99/half-pound, $6.99/full pound
6210 Hwy. 6, Missouri City 281-499-9281
Hours: Mon.–Fri. 3–10 p.m.
Sat.–Sun. 11 a.m.–11 p.m.