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., just in time for happy hour. $15 gets you a tray of 3 pounds, which you can wash down with one of their many beers on tap.
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 7. 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 Marigny 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 boils every Friday afternoon during the season. Your inner kid will thank you, and so will your adult appetite.
Bayou Beer Garden – Mid-City’s beer haven with more than 150 beers to choose from holds boils on Friday at 3:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. And at $12 for 3 pounds plus fixings, you can afford to eat crawfish all weekend long!
Clesi’s – This Banks Street restaurant and catering company is open Tuesday through Sunday and hosts nightly seafood boils for $5 per pound. 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 4:30 p.m. during the season until Jazz Fest time.
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.
Superior Seafood and Oyster Bar – This oyster happy hour hot spot just off the streetcar line at Napoleon and St. Charles Avenue is currently serving their spicy and delicious boiled crawfish for $6 per pound.
Blue Crab – Enjoy the lakefront, waterside views while chowing down on hot, boiled crawfish for $5.50 per pound. Closed on Mondays.
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 courtesy of Harahan’s own Seither’s Seafood with Joe Krown, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, and Russels Batiste Jr. playing the jams. Visit this Oak Street bar and live music venue and see what all the fuss is about.
Cornet – Make your way down Bourbon Street, and reward yourself with a shareable “Huge Ass Seafood Platter” of fried oysters, catfish and shrimp with French fries, hush puppies, onions rings and coleslaw for $28.
Parkway Tavern – Located just a block from the bayou, nothing says “springtime in New Orleans” like a picnic on Bayou St. John with fried shrimp or catfish po-boys and ice cold drinks from this neighborhood favorite.
New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Co. – Hop off the streetcar at St. Charles Avenue and Milan Street to feast on platters of fried shrimp, thin fried catfish, or oysters with hush puppies, slaw, and garlic-herb fries. The barbecue shrimp po-boy is baller, too.
Meril – The newest of the Emeril Lagasse restaurants focuses on international flavors. Try the fried shrimp tacos with sambal sauce, pickled red onions, and cilantro. (For something a little lighter, the tuna lettuce wraps with jalapeno and citrus segments are life-changing.)
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.