Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review: Hot N Juicy Crawfish

The Short Version: Avoid at all costs.

The Long Version:
A new restaurant opened in the Dr. Phillips area on Sand Lake Road. It's called Hot N Juicy Crawfish, and it aims to serve shellfish, primarily the namesake crayfish. My wife and I love seafood and shellfish, so we decided to head over and try out Hot N Juicy. After an hour-and-a-half experiencing poor service and not the best in seafood, we both left wishing we hadn't. Our night at Hot N Juicy was one of the worst, if not the worst, dining experiences in out life.

Hot N Juicy Crawfish

This isn't the first night they opened; on they're website they've still got a special for July 9th (which is expired, naturally), but Friday night was close enough to opening night that they still had a training manager walking about while we were there.

We arrived fairly late, around 8pm. The place was near to empty of patrons. For the next hour-and-a-half we would slowly be served two plastic bags of boiled seafood (one pound of crayfish, one of shrimp), a pair of rather flat rolls, and an appetizer of soft shell crabs on a bed of spicy french fries.

Sample Crawfish - Hot N Juicy Crawfish

The crayfish and shrimp were boiled in garlic butter with no additional spices. When we placed our orders we asked for the appetizer as well as the rolls. We were hoping to get the rolls and appetizer before the main meal. Unfortunately the appetizer showed up right after my shrimp but before Jude's crayfish, and the rolls didn't arrive at out table until we'd asked for them... twice.

Jude's crayfish were tough to get into, with very little meat. She had to ask for a simple tool to help scoop out the limited meat that came in her crayfish. My shrimp were tough to nearly impossible to shuck. I've eaten boiled shrimp since I was 6, and I know how to cook 'em, shuck 'em, and eat 'em. My bag of shrimp were of poor quality. I suspect that they'd been deep frozen a good while before they got to the restaurant. My shrimp were so bad I did something that night I've never done before; I left a few shrimp behind because I just got tired of the whole experience.

Sample Shrimp - Hot N Juicy Crawfish

The bill added insult to injury. Jude's bag of boiled crayfish was $10. My bag of boiled shrimp was $12. The basket of soft shell crab we shared between us was $12. And I'm talking small portions. Sitting on top of a lot of spicy french fries neither of us cared for. We came for seafood, not empty starches.

Our total bill that night, including tip, was a little over $40. For that amount of money I could have walked down to the Publix in the same complex and gotten fresher shrimp, cooked it better than what I had, and fed both Jude and I. Along with better rolls, good Publix slaw, better condiments, and fresh ground horseradish for a decent cocktail sauce.

While I'm at it I'd also like to introduce Fresh Catch Seafood Market, which is a block east of Hot N Juicy on Sandlake and a block north from there on Turkey Lake next to Gold's Gym. If you've got to have seafood, and if you want it truly good and fresh, they buy it fresh from a real market and prepare it yourself. Don't waste your money or your time on Hot N Juicy Crawfish.

Fresh Catch Seafood Market

Normally I'd write this on Matthews Reviews, but Hot N Juicy appears to be a local phenomenon that's hopefully not in danger of showing up in Toronto any time soon. Besides, Matthews' ratings only go to down 0. Hot N Juicy deserves a negative rating on execution.

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