Restaurant: The Boiling Pot
Cuisine: Cajun/Creole/Seafood/Southern & Soul Food
Last visited: July 26, 2010
Location: Austin, Texas (Downtown)
Address: 700 E 6th St
Price Range: $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Since 1985
- Fresh seafood
- Offers Cajun style boiled seafood
- Traditional Cajun Crayfish boil
- Family style dining
- No plates or utensils dining
- Very casual/fun
- Moderately priced
- Kid-friendly/kid’s menu
- Daily dinner
- Lunch on weekends
- Catering available
Ok, so I lied… I thought Shoal Creek Saloon would be my only post for Cajun/Creole food, but I forgot about The Boiling Pot… perhaps for good reason though. The Boiling Pot in downtown Austin, Texas is a restaurant offering Cajun and Creole seafood in a casual and family style atmosphere. There are 2 locations and the original location started in 1985 in Rockport, Texas. It’s fun family style dining where the seafood comes in massive bowls and it’s poured onto your table that’s covered with butcher paper. Everyone is given a bib and a wooden mallet to get at their seafood and there’s no plates or utensils. However they do offer plastic ones for people that don’t want the finger licking mess.
After days of hearty BBQ from places like The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que, and then lunch at Smitty’s Market, the group decided to take a barbeque break. So we decided on seafood, particularly crawfish or crayfish. Crayfish is a Louisiana specialty and it’s a very popular seafood in the South, especially in Texas too. I got the recommendation for The Boiling Pot from an Austin local and the concept seemed appealing; however the food was disappointing and we actually ended up going for dinner #2 later in the evening. Most of it was either too spicy (and I can handle heat), or too salty (and I like salt), or just not good. I’m not a Cajun food expert and I don’t have a whole lot to compare to being from Vancouver, BC but it just wasn’t for me (or any of us) and we all love seafood. I know very spicy is a typical trait for authentic Cajun food, but it doesn’t really work with their family style concept since kids and spicy foods don’t really mix. They do offer a kids menu though and crayons for colouring on the butcher paper… which you also eat off of… ick. I appreciate the experience much more than the food… but even the experience if more for families and kids.
On the table:
- This was just very standard store bought bread.
- 1 Blue Crab, half pound shrimp, half pound sausage, new ‘taters & corn $18.95USD
- We also added 2 pounds of crayfish for about $8.95USD/pound or Market Price
- It’s a big pot of boiled seafood… boiled in lots of salt.
- I love salt and spice, but this was really salty and really spicy. Even for those that have had Cajun cuisine before found it overboard.
- The crayfish look like mini lobsters and they taste like a cross of lobster and shrimp. You can only eat the tail and there’s not much meat either. I’ve had much better crayfish than this. It’s not my favourite seafood because it takes so much effort to eat so little meat, but I do like the taste.
- It was covered in a smoky paste of Cajun/Creole seasoning that tasted like table salt, paprika and very hot cayenne pepper. It was somewhat bitter and gritty and I wasn’t a fan.
- The corn was overcooked and super greasy from touching all the other ingredients. I don’t know where the grease came from though because the seafood is boiled.
- This tiny little Blue Crab had no meat. It had these skinny little legs and I think it was anorexic. There was nothing to be shared and he was expensive!
- The sausage was very regular sausage, without the snappy casing.
- The potatoes were the only think going in this bowl. They were red skin potatoes and they were creamy and buttery and perfectly cooked until tender. Delicious! I filled up on them.
- $8.95USD/pound or Market Price
- We ordered about 2 pounds of clams… or in this case shells. Yes, a lot of the clams fell out of the shell, but I still think there were a lot of empty shells without clams.
- The clams were the same Cajun seasoning and it was overly salty and spicy and a bit chewy from being cooked too long. It was gritty seasoning so at times it came off as sand… unless it really was sand.
- Side $4.95USD
- It was a small styrofoam bowl of beans, rice and black sausage and it was overpriced.
- Black sausage is made from pig’s blood and other parts of the pig. It’s soft and smooth in texture, but tastes quite regular.
- It was a whole lots of beans simmered in a smoky roux that wasn’t spicy, but not all that flavourful either. The rice was underneath all this and it was just a mushy mess. Overall I didn’t care for any of it.
- Side $6.95USD
- This was the other overpriced side.
- This was pretty spicy, smoky and salty again. It had okra and other vegetables in it, but at this point I really stopped caring about what was in it, because I didn’t like it enough to really want to continue eating it. Just like the beans and rice with black sausage.
- I would much rather have the duck gumbo from Shoal Creek Saloon also in Austin, Texas.
- This was the most overpriced sausage I’ve ever had and I thought Japadogs were overpriced. It was the size of a regular hot dog wiener.
- It was advertised in large font on the menu so I was excited to try it too. It’s a traditional Cajun/Creole sausage that’s very common in Louisiana. It’s basically dirty rice made with pork stuffed into sausage casings.
- It had a snappy casing and it was almost 100% rice. It was the texture of mushy wet dog food. The flavour wasn’t bad and it was almost like an overcooked rice pilaf. I just couldn’t get over the texture. I’m not sure if a Boudin sausage is supposed to be or taste like this, but I hope not.
- This was on the kid’s menu… and it was peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
- C’mon Boiling Pot… you know you’re attracting families and kids and the best you can do is a sandwich they probably have for lunch everyday?