Though many might consider Saints football a religion, New Orleans is actually a predominately Catholic city. And this time of year, many restaurants offer Lenten specials to appease those following the doctrine that meat (with the exception of seafood) should not be consumed on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays during Lent.
A little background info: although it’s deeply personal and holds different meanings for everyone, the idea of not consuming meat stems from the fact that meat is usually served as part of a feast, or celebration. And since Jesus’ crucifixion happened on a Friday, abstaining from meat is just one small way of showing respect.
But what’s important to know is that those of all religious backgrounds can enjoy the bounty of New Orleans’ crawfish and fried fish served throughout Lent and throughout crawfish season. After all, this is New Orleans – a city that takes its seafood (and faith) pretty seriously.
New Orleans Crawfish Boils and Fried Seafood
Bevi Seafood Co. – With two locations in Mid-City and Metairie, this neighborhood seafood market has live and boiled crawfish for purchase all throughout the season. Did I mention that they cater on-site for parties of 50-500?
Tracey’s – If you want to double up on your weekly crawfish consumption, Tracey’s is boiling them up on Thursdays at 3 p.m. $15 gets you a tray of a few pounds, which can be washed down with one of their many beers on tap.
Barcadia serves crawfish every Friday and Sunday afternoon. Your inner kid will thank you, and so will your adult appetite.
Cosimo’s – Bring your dog and belly up to the bar at this French Quarter hangout. Crawfish is served every Tuesday during the season beginning on March 8. The crawdads sell out fast, so plan to get there between 4 and 5 p.m to load up. And don’t miss trying one of their famous Bloody Marys.
R Bar – This popular French Quarter dive serves complimentary crawfish on Fridays for bar customers. Make sure to get there in the early evening to snag some, and don’t forget to tip!
Barcadia – Get in on the fun with arcade games, trivia nights, 44 beers on tap, and crawfish every Friday and Sunday afternoon. Your inner kid will thank you, and so will your adult appetite.
Junction – Get an early start to your weekend at this St. Claude burger joint. Crawfish are served on Thursdays beginning at 5 p.m. Also, the fries and remoulade sauce are jammin’.
Bayou Beer Garden – Mid-City’s beer haven with more than 150 beers to choose from holds boils on Friday and Sunday, beginning at 3 p.m. And at $12 for 3 pounds plus fixings, you can afford to eat more.
Clesi’s – This Banks Street restaurant and catering company is open Tuesday through Sunday at 5 p.m. and hosts nightly seafood boils. Bonus: They’re open as late as midnight on the weekends.
Mid-City Yacht Club – Fresh air, crawfish and beer – is there anything better in life? Hang out on the patio at this family-friendly Mid-City gem and peel away. Boils are held every Friday beginning at 4 p.m.
Frankie and Johnny’s – Established in 1942, this Uptown neighborhood seafood restaurant even has a crawfish as part of their logo. When in season, crawfish are boiled and on the menu seven days a week.
Blue Crab – Enjoy the lakefront, waterside views while chowing down on hot, boiled crawfish for $6.25 per pound. Open seven days a week.
Freret Street Publiq House – One of Uptown’s newest music and venue spots on Freret Street hosts crawfish boils every Friday during the season.
Deanie’s – With two locations in Bucktown and the French Quarter plus a vote for best seafood in New Orleans by Gambit Weekly and The Times-Picayune, it’s safe to say that Deanie’s hot boiled seafood platters (including crawfish) should not be missed. Open seven days a week.
Maple Leaf Bar – Grammy-award-winning Rebirth Brass Band every Tuesday and crawfish boils every Sunday. Need I say more? Visit this Oak Street bar and live music venue and see what all the fuss is about.
Barcadia – In addition to crawfish, Barcadia serves a Lent menu every day during the season featuring items like sweet-chili-glazed fried shrimp, catfish po-boys, and fish ‘n’ chips with fries.
Hard Rock Café – New Orleans’ live music venue in the French Quarter offers a tasty Lenten special: fried catfish platter and pint of LA-31 beer for $17.95. Available on Fridays.
Arana Taqueria Y Cantina – Located Uptown on Magazine Street, this Yucatan-inspired menu is serving a twist on the traditional seafood po-boy with their fried oyster torta. Bread is spread with black bean puree and topped with hot fried oysters, pickled vegetables, and cabbage.
Emeril’s – Chef de cuisine David Slater is keeping things light and fresh this Lent with a charred local kale saald with blue crab and boiled peanuts; a warm cauliflower “Caesar” with feta and pomegranate; and Maine lobster salad with avocado, butternut squash, and fennel. For something heartier, try the mussels poutine with cheese curds and hand-cut fries.
Emeril’s NOLA – Located in the heart of the French Quarter on St. Louis, Lenten specials include grilled Scottish salmon with salsa verde and crispy Brussels sprouts, scallops with parsnip puree and cerignola olives, and veggie pizza with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and house-made ricotta.
Emeril’s Delmonico – On St. Charles Avenue in the Lower Garden District, Delmonico’s Lenten menu features shrimp Creole with okra, rice and plantain fritters, a Gulf fish of the day with local vegetables, and their famous seafood and okra gumbo.
Grand Isle – This seafood-focused restaurant in the Warehouse District is a Lenten blessing. Menu items include smoked fried oysters, tuna tartare, grilled swordfish with cauliflower mash, catfish creole, and whole fried fish with Fresno chili vinaigrette.
Compere Lapin – Enjoy a cocktail at the bar and nosh on chef Nina Compton’s Caribbean-inspired Lenten menu of conch croquettes with pickled pineapple tartar sauce, grouper with beurre blanc and caviar, and pici pasta with lobster and squash.
Lenten fish fry events at local churches – During Lent, local fish frys are a popular way to unite people of all backgrounds. Some churches offering frys on Fridays are: Blessed Trinity Parish, St. Anthony of Padua, Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Mary of the Angels, and St. Dominic. Check with each church for more information, and please consider making a donation.