Red Crawfish – Where the Far East Meets the Deep South


Red Crawfish, Hoodscope

It’s crawfish season y’all! Planning your next trip to Boiling Crab in San Jose? Go ahead and drive 50 miles, wait 2 hours to get seated, then get charged $0.25 for a cup of water. You’ll be more of a crackhead than the ones that roam the Tenderloin, which happens to be home to Red Crawfish, a surprising gem that fuses Cajun seafood boils with a bit of Asian flare.

San Francisco has had its share of restaurants that served these famous Louisiana mud bugs. In 2008, PJ’s Oyster Bed unexpectedly shut it’s doors after 30 years in business. Coco’s Crawfish had a great run last year until it recently changed to SJ Crawfish, which is getting flack for poor service and skimpy crawfish compared to its former owners. Yet, Red Crawfish is a breath of fresh air just when we thought there wasn’t a decent seafood boil establishment in town.

For any seafood boil newbies, the drill is simple.

1. Pick your protein
Red Crawfish offers crawfish (mrkt price/lb),  dungeness crab (mrkt price/lb), clams or mussels ($13.99/lb), and shrimp ($9.99/lb).

They actually offer combo boils. The Combo Special includes clams, mussels, shrimp and crawfish for $13.99/lb and the Seafood Combo (catfish, shrimp, calimari and oysters) for $14.99/lb. This can be an easy way to sample all they have to offer if you’re a small party, or really hungry.

2. Pick your spice
The spicier the better we say, but there are four levels of spice to suit everyone’s taste buds. You can choose from mild, medium, spicy and “X-spicy.”

Medium spice is probably the best choice if you want a bit of snap while still enjoying the flavor of your seafood. If you can hang, step it up a notch up to spicy and a nice sizzle will linger in your tongue as you work on peeling your next crawfish or shrimp.

3. Pick your seasoning
There are three flavors offered: Red Crawfish, garlic butter and lemon pepper. You can’t really tell the difference just by looking at them, since they sit in a decorated bowl of red flavoring and spice, but all three have very distinct flavors. The Red Crawfish seasoning is very flavorful, and quite possibly the best of the three. It has strong notes of cayenne, chili powder and paprika. The other two flavors are fairly self explanatory and just as delicious, but we prefer to stick with the classic Red Crawfish seasoning.

4. Peel and eat
If you don’t know how to correctly eat crawfish, here’s a helpful video:

Like most Cajun seafood boil restaurants, Red Crawfish offers the usual sides such as sausage, potatoes and corn on the cob that will boil with your pot of crustacean goodness. The sweet potato fries are fried in tempura batter which gives it a different taste and texture, but they fall short because they end up soggy and bland. They also have cornbread (Friday and Saturday only- why!?), gumbo, french fries, and other down home fixins.

Uniquely, they have white rice and garlic noodles – sides that aren’t easy to come by down in the bayou. The garlic noodles are drier than that of Thanh Long and PPQ Dungeness Island, but at least the butter and oil that flavors the seafood will give it more slip and spice.

If you’re not into seafood boils, the menu extends to fried seafood as well. And if you aren’t interested in seafood at all (why did you come to Red Crawfish?), a menu of Vietnamese and Chinese dishes are also available.

Red Crawfish, Hoodscope

The menu also has some easy group options that also make it a bit more affordable. Depending on your party size you’ll get a mix of seafood boils and Asian dishes. The Hoodscope favorite is Special No. 2. For $39.99, you get sweet potato or Cajun fries, 3 lbs of crawfish, a plate of garlic noodles, garlic bread and dessert – easy to fill up a group of four. Feel free to add an extra pound, too!

Next time you feel like getting down and dirty Cajun-style with your food, hop on Muni, get off at Civic Center and high five that corner crackhead as you mosey on over to Red Crawfish. As they say in the South, Laissez les Bon Temps Roulez!


Red Crawfish
611 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 771-1388

Also check out:
Brenda’s French Soul Food Review; Best Southern Brunch in San Francisco
Cairo Nights Hookah Lounge in the Tenderloin; Late-night Cheap Thrills
Vietnamese bánh mì from Saigon Sandwiches in the Tenderloin
Curry Without Worry in Civic Center
Kezar Pub & Restaurant in the Haight
Laszlo Bar in the Mission; Communists Invade SF
Lolo Tapas and Wine Bar in the Mission

6 Responses to “Red Crawfish – Where the Far East Meets the Deep South”

  1. 1 Rom

    red crawfish is fucking delicious, its a viet-chinese-cajun fusion. where else can you get 3 different types of food all at once? haha boiling crab is overated and has that “red lobster” decor.

  2. 2 Rom

    oh yeah you’re right that black guy serving water wasn’t the owner. haha the owner is Kristine H. whoever that is.

  3. 3 Charles

    Yeah, F boiling crab!

  4. 4 Gregario

    After seeing Aly’s avatar picture, I would love to go to the deep south on…I mean, with her.

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