Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Got the envie for fresh Louisiana seafood? Just head 10 miles down I-10 from Lafayette to renowned crawfish hotspot Crawfish Town USA or its brand new Fresh Market next door. The marriage between the two provides an ample supply of freshly peeled crawfish, shucked oysters, picked crabmeat and custom-cut fish fillets to the restaurant as well as the public.

For crawfish lovers, the good news is that Cajun Country’s most coveted crustacean is in abundant supply this season, with plenty of good-sized mudbugs available now and even larger ones still to emerge as the waters warm. During the first Friday of Lent, Crawfish Town sold an incredible 6,000 pounds of boiled crawfish. But, crawfish is not the only thing offered on the menu.

Under the guidance of innovative 26-year-old Chef Colt Patin, a graduate of the Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge, Crawfish Town has expanded its menu to include a variety of creative seafood and prime steak dishes, including corn and crab bisque topped with a grilled lump crab cake, La Bam Breme — a fried seafood tower with shrimp, oysters, crab cake and eggplant surrounded by spicy crawfish étouffée, and softshell crab stuffed with crawfish dressing and topped with creamy crawfish sauce.

In February, Crawfish Town USA owners Wendy and Johnny Hebert launched the Fresh Market, a seafood, specialty meats and produce market adjacent to the restaurant. On the day ABiz stopped by, the seafood counter showcased fresh tuna, redfish, tilapia, catfish, lump crabmeat, crab fingers and shucked and unshucked oysters, as well as unusual delicacies like garfish and turtle. “All we sell is Louisiana seafood,” boasts marketing director Paula Finley.

In the frozen section are crawfish and seafood boulettes, ready-to-bake cinnamon rolls and flash-frozen vegetables. The meat section carries sausage and andouille from Poche’s in Breaux Bridge, as well as chicken, pork chops and steaks. Fresh produce and specialty items such as Crawfish Town’s seafood boil seasoning are also available.

The market also serves as a seafood prepping center for the restaurant. “Our restaurant customers who are used to the quality product of the restaurant like to come to the market,” Johnny says. — Lisa Hanchey

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