When confronted with a big old tub of boiled crawfish, non-Louisianans might stare blankly, unsure of how to proceed with these wee little lobsters.
Luckily, the placemats in the metal trays Alba Ray’s serves at its new crawfish boil are there to clue you in. There are eight steps in all, a few of which sound pretty fresh if taken out of context. You find a big one, break it in half, suck the head, peel back the shell, pinch the tail, bite the meat, savor the spices, and chug a beer. (Not these whole beer, or you won’t get very far. Most people can eat a couple dozen of these.)
Mardi Gras is over, but the Mission’s finest Cajun joint has no plans to enforce a strict regimen of deprivation for Lent. They want you to feast, and for $49 — with a two-guest minimum and the entire table participating, reserved 72 hours in advance — you get a family-style menu consisting of an entire bucket of crawfish plus boudin balls, charbroiled oysters, and, of course, beignets. (In and among the crawfish are some potatoes, Andouille sausages, and cobs of corn, too.) After you’re done with the exertion of tying on a bib, you can pair all that with a beer, but Alba Ray’s knows how to party properly — and although there’s no helpful diagram for how to drink them, there are Sazeracs and hurricanes alike. Boil away!
Alba Ray’s, 2293 Mission St., 415-872-9409 or albarays.com