My first taste of Louisiana seafood boil took place in Houston last winter. I fell in love with its mess, spice and tasty seafood combo meals in a bag. Imagine my delight and surprise to discover three seafood boil restaurants opening in greater Boston, particularly Loui Loui. It opened a third location in transportation-accessible Allston in January, only five minutes from the B Green Line.
If you have never been, you are in for an experience, especially if you love eating with your hands. Weekends require a long wait at supper time, but a Tuesday at 6 p.m. was decidedly less hectic. The brightly lit and simply decorated space is punctuated with funky jazzy tunes blaring from the speakers.
Upon being seated, the seafood boil menu gives you a choice of three sauces — Louisiana, Lemon Pepper or Garlic. Next, you choose the level of spice. (I found “mild” fine and “medium” a tad too strong. I feared “hot,” as I enjoy spices but not burning my mouth.) Then you choose from a variety of seafood sold by the pound at market price. You can add a corn cob, andouille sausage and potatoes as well. If the seafood boil is not your thing, there are other options such as fried seafood, clam chowder, jambalaya and raw oysters.
For starters, we got the tasty and creamy clam chowder ($5 a cup) served with a balanced amount of clams and potatoes.
The jambalaya ($5 a cup) came topped with rice on a zesty soup and generous amounts of chicken and vegetables, accented with smoky notes from the andouille sausage.
The side of cole slaw ($2) with shredded cabbage and carrots had the perfect amount of creamy dressing.
For the seafood, we opted for a pound of shrimp (roughly 16 pieces at $15) in the Lemon Pepper sauce and the popular Louisiana sauce for the mussels (12 green ones at 13 per pound). The shellfish were served piping hot, with bibs, plastic gloves and a big pail for shells. Our kind servers made sure our cups were constantly filled with water. The Vietnamese influence is seen in Creole seafood boil’s garlicky, salty and buttery sauces. Bold flavors and heavy sauces are not for the faint-hearted.
The mild and bright red Louisiana sauce was stellar. Studded with fresh garlic and savory spices, it packed a flavor punch without burning one’s tongue. Any extra sauce makes an excellent condiment for rice or noodles. The Lemon Pepper sauce was tasty, but its subtle flavors were no match for the in-your-face Louisiana sauce. The seafood was fresh and delicious with juicy medium-sized shrimps and large green mussels.
Our party of two actually had room for dessert.
We shared the funnel cake fries ($8) and at the suggestion of our server, we opted for vanilla ice cream and strawberry sauce (additional $2). The fried dough was chewy and crispy, topped with powdered sugar. Definitely add the ice cream, as it complemented the fried dough well. The strawberry sauce actually lacked strawberries or a strong taste. Despite that, we felt the dessert was a satisfactory ending to our meal.
Before you leave, make sure to visit the bathrooms, where mouthwash and lemon slices are thoughtfully provided for customers to freshen up. Loui Loui is a welcome and much-needed addition to the diverse Allston food scene.
160 Brighton Avenue
Boston, MA 02134
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