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What: Crawfish tail meat is “smothered,” to translate from the French, in a brown stew of green pepper, scallion, butter, and Cajun spices (and tomato, depending on where you’re eating), served over rice. Deliciously rich with a hint of spice, it’s an absolute must when in New Orleans.
Where: Dive bar Coop’s Place (1109 Decatur St., map) in the French Quarter does a tasty étouffée as an occasional special, in informal digs with a healthy dose of attitude (don’t ask for a milk punch here). One peek at the giant, steaming stock pots in the outdoor kitchen out back tells you this place is an under-the-radar gem. Bonus: It serves food late (for NOLA) and is located near the music bars of Frenchmen Street.
When: Daily, 11am-midnight (bar closes around 1am)
Order: The crawfish (or shrimp) étouffée ($9.25) here is a savory, hearty plate of rice and seafood, okra, tomatoes, celery, peppers, and bay leaf—the perfect stomach-filling grub for fueling up for a night on Frenchmen Street. And it's delicious! The rabbit and sausage jambalaya and Cajun fried chicken are also excellent here, and we hear the smoked duck quesadillas are something special.
Alternatively: Crawfish étouffée is widely found on NOLA menus; look for it at casual Mother’s (401 Poydras St., map) and the Bon Ton Café (401 Magazine St., map), both in the CBD (Central Business District). Or, for fancier surrounds (with prices to match), try it at K-Paul’s (416 Chartres St., map) in the French Quarter. Locals’ fave Mandina’s (3800 Canal St., map) in Mid-City offers it on Saturdays only.
Want a recipe? Crawfish (or shrimp) étouffée is super easy to make at home. Check out the étouffée recipe NOLA inspired us to make.
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