University City will soon add another “gastro-sensational” restaurant to our dining scene. Our community is home to many fantastic, cultural and international restaurants and Crackin’ Crawfish is a new Louisiana-style seafood gig we are glad to welcome. Owners Mike Nguyen and Michelle Tu promise some of the freshest seafood in Charlotte, with lobster, crab, clams, oysters and crawfish kept alive until cooked and served.
“We will have a tank in the back of the restaurant where we will have live seafood,” Michelle said. “When customers place an order, we will take it out of the tank and cook it. Even the crawfish will be delivered to us fresh daily.” Other seafood such as shrimp, crab’s legs and catfish will be fresh though not kept live.
So many choices!
Much of the menu at Crackin’ Crawfish is a la carte. Begin by choosing from four categories of entrees. The main one is the Specials: crawfish and seven other kinds of cooked shellfish, flavored with lemon pepper or garlic butter and seasoned, if you want, with various levels of spiciness from mellow to Extremely Crackin’ – so hot “it might burn your tongue,” Michelle says, giggling.
You can order any quantity of seafood you wish and pay by the pound, based on the day’s market price. Fill out your plate with sides such as corn, potatoes, rice, sausage and Cajun fries.
If you come with a crowd, consider the Combinations. Get a pound each of cooked crawfish, shrimp and clams plus corn, sausage and potatoes for $30; add a lobster for $15 more. Available for takeout, too. Other categories include:
- Grilled (oysters, mussels or clams);
- Fried (catfish, chicken wings and fish tacos); and
- Combination Rice Plates (crawfish, catfish, shrimp or several meat choices, plus rice and vegetables).
Come casual, ‘cause Crackin’ can be messy!
While the focus on fresh fish sounds upscale, Michelle recommend that diners come to Crackin’ Crawfish dressed for a mess, since the shellfish specials are meant to be eaten with your hands.
“You don’t want to come dressed up. Come dressed down. Come to eat, to dig in and get dirty.”
The restaurant’s décor matches the informal dining: fishnets on the walls, lobster dangling from the ceiling and several big-screen TVs for catching a game. Beer and wine are also on the menu.
You’ll probably have a chance to talk with the owners, too, and tell them about University City. The couple come from San Jose, where Mike’s family has run restaurants, and where restaurants similar to Crackin’ Crawfish are popular, Michelle said. They moved here recently to open Crackin’ Crawfish. They live nearby with their two young children.
Michelle said she and Mike chose University City for their restaurant after walking the boardwalk at University Place. They decided on Grande Promenade because of its location near UNC Charlotte and nearly 27,000 college students.
Crackin’ Crawfish will open by early February in Grande Promenade II, on Harris Boulevard just south of North Tryon Street. The restaurant is at 440 E. McCullough Drive, Suite A-120, beside Shane’s Rib Rack. Meals are available for takeout. Phone: (980) 237-8570.
Keep up with Crackin’ Crawfish at https://www.facebook.com/crackin.crawfish
and at http://www.crackincrawfish.net.