crawfish & fried chicken
Houston's nationally acclaimed Viet-Cajun restaurant opens new location in Farmers Market
The transformation of the Houston Farmers Market into a food lover’s destination has taken another step forward. Legendary Viet-Cajun restaurant Crawfish & Noodles has quietly opened its second location inside the development.
Credited with leading the culinary movement that blends Vietnamese and Cajun flavors, Crawfish & Noodles has received wide acclaim both locally and nationally. The restaurant has been featured on TV shows such as such as The Zimmern List and David Chang’s Netflix series Ugly Delicious. Chef-owner Trong Nguyen was named a finalist in the 2020 James Beard Awards in the Best Chef: Texas category after being named a semifinalist for Best Chef: Southwest in both 2018 and 2019. It announced plans to open at the Houston Farmers Market last year.
Nguyen’s sons Cory and Hieu (known as Vo) are leading the new location. Cory tells CultureMap that the family identified the greater Heights as an area that would be receptive to more Vietnamese restaurants.
He has good news for fans of the restaurant’s original Chinatown location. The new location uses all of the same recipes and techniques that have made Crawfish & Noodles so successful.
“Of course, the crawfish will be the exact same,” Cory Nguyen says. “We have the basil fried rice, the calamari, the shaking beef that’s been marinated for 24-hours, all the salt and pepper dishes — shrimp, snow crab, blue crab. The only difference is instead of being in Bellaire it’s here, and the presentation has been modernized.”
While what Nguyen describes as the “O.G. menu” will match the original location, he and his brother are also introducing some new items to the menu. They include a quesadilla made with wok-sauteed mushrooms and fried chicken that’s a step beyond the chicken wings the restaurant is already known for.
“You have fried chicken everywhere, but we’ve put our twist on it. Our fried chicken is brined for 24 hours and marinated for 24 hours,” he says. “The skin will come off just like a chip. When you take a fork and scrape it, you can hear it.
“The secret seasoning is in the chicken itself. I can’t really tell you what it is, but it’s a play on some of the dishes we have on Bellaire.”
Diners will also find that the Nguyen brothers are testing different dessert ideas, including a salted caramel custard and lychee ice cream.
In addition to the new menu items, the farmers market location will also feature an all-new wine list. Nguyen says its difficult to pair wines with anything on the menu that’s really spicy, but it will include varietals known to pair well with both seafood and fried items such as champagne and riesling. “Some very good friends of ours have been helping,” he says about the process of tasting and selecting wines.
So far, the restaurant has been relatively quiet as word about the opening has slowly spread among inner loopers used to making the drive to Chinatown. Nguyen says he’s enjoying having the time to speak with customers about their experiences, but he knows that will come to an end once crawfish season picks up in mid-January.
Crawfish & Noodles joins a growing group of food businesses at the Houston Farmers, including R-C Ranch butcher shop, Underbelly Burger, and Wild Oats. In 2023, modern general store Henderson & Kane will open its second location at the property.