It is exhilarating to explore a new restaurant. With positive anticipation we ventured to the newest Seafood and Cajun joint, Crawdaddy’s SLO in San Luis Obispo. The tables are new, the menu is inspired and owner John Kim is putting out some amazing culinary treats.
We started with 12 Blue Point Oysters on the half shell served with lime and Crawdaddy’s house made cocktail sauce. The oysters were attended on a platter of ice and the freshness assured us that a true professional was in the galley. Cajun jazz music pulsed thru the air as we shared a bottle of Castoro Chardonnay and our first of many fish tacos. The tacos are offered fried or grilled with cod, shrimp or crawdads. The shredded cabbage is mixed with a bit of sweetness, a slice of avocado and just one corn taco shell made the fish ratio precise and absolutely delicious. These delectable goodies are only $2.99 each, so Gary vowed to come here weekly for a 6-pack.
The setting is fast casual at Crawdaddy’s, you wander to the kitchen counter to order what you want and then they bring it to you. The Seafood Specialties are served in a boil bag with a mixture of spices, like they do on the Bayou. They are sold by the pound and they offer what fish is in season, but you can choose from shrimp, mussels, clams, crawdads, king crab legs, dungeness crab, snow crab legs, blue crab or lobster. My first was shrimp and I was elated that they were served in tact, thus saving the most delectable part- the brain for me to inhale. You choose your seasonings; Garlic lemon butter, garlic butter, wet Cajun style, dry Cajun rub or The Kitchen Sink- which is all seasoning mixed together. I choose the kitchen sink and the blends were so good, we ordered garlic bread to sop up every morsel. You can add corn on the cob, potatoes, and Andouille sausage to swim with your main meal and have more vessels for that amazing seasoning. The food arrived in the special boiling bag with a bib and gloves. You them dump it on to the platter and dig in. There is something so visceral about eating this with your hands I was in epicurean heaven.
John came to join us and talk about his plans for special nights (Mustang Monday’s with $1 tacos) and his plan to get everyone to try “sucking the head” off the delectable crawdad, which is a southern tradition. John used to own the sushi bar Kai Lana’s in Atascadero, so he knows his way around seafood and I adore his new southern inspired menu which includes fried or grilled seafood like oysters, Ahi, scallops, calamari, catfish, crawdads and a variety of hearty salads and Po’boy sandwiches. This is a place where you can come blow the rent money on lobster or spend under $10 on a team of tacos and leave delighted and content. I adore this concept.
The next visit we had a Cajun fried catfish Po’ Boy (A sandwich extravaganza that began as a five-cent lunch for poor boys. Always made with French bread, Po’ Boys can be stuffed with fried oysters, shrimp, fish, crawfish and more). This was served on soft Farb’s bread with a combination of savory and sweet accouterments. While Gary inhaled the sandwich, I started with garlic fries and then I went for the Crawdad boil with the kitchen sink. It has been 10 years since I twisted a head off a crawdad, sucked its head and slurped the succulent tail meat of the tiniest of lobsters and I was in ecstasy. Gary, who had never tried this Cajun way of eating, was hesitant until he experienced the amazing flavor that only comes with this style of consumption.
Our next trip we had a “Taco Off” as Gary believed that grilled fish was better than the fried fish. We both ordered one each of fish, shrimp and crawdad tacos fried and grilled. I preferred the fried with its cornmeal crunch, while he preferred the grilled. It was a proper Fais do do.
After discovering this restaurant, we ate there four times in one week; I would say that is an A+ grade for Crawdaddy’s SLO Cajun/Creole Cuisine. They located at 1761 Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo and are open from Monday thru Thursday and Sundays from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm. You can call them at (805) 547-1620. Go and expect at Lagniappe (Cajun for a unexpected nice surprise).