Lotus Seafood Keeps Loyal Followers Coming for Crack Sauce & More
If you grew up or lived on the Southwest side of Houston, then it is very likely you stood in a long line at Lotus Seafood’s original Braeswood location, (im)patiently breathing in the smell of Cajun seafood boil and craving the addictive Crack Sauce. In 2006, the Braeswood location opened as an unassuming you-buy-we-fry seafood market. It has recently moved down the street to a larger space at 9531 Southwest Freeway and Bissonnet. Plus, Lotus Seafood has added locations in Pearland, Westchase, Veterans Memorial and the newest spot in Stafford, which had its grand opening in September.
The 6,000-square-foot Stafford location is in a new strip center at 2903 South Main. The large space features the restaurant group’s first full bar, a patio offering hookah and plenty of TVs to catch a game. They certainly know how to get the party started and are taking full advantage of the new bar, offering not just signature daiquiris but also other handcrafted cocktails. We were invited to check out the new location, and I was greeted with a Daiquirita made with Bacardi Lime Rum, Patrón and agave nectar. I then tried a Frozen Dirty Lemonade made with vodka and Lotus Rum Punch, a sweet concoction of tropical juices and Bacardi Rum that was served in a literal bucket, adding a little fun.
It is obvious the owners have put a lot of work into creating a space that is fun, vibrant and colorful. It even pays homage to the city with a “We Love Houston” mural. It’s come a long way from those humble beginnings on Braeswood.
As the saying goes, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” For fans of Lotus Seafood, that’s a good thing. The menu still features fried fish, shrimp and oysters that can be ordered in combos with French fries alongside. There is also boiled seafood that is ordered by the pound and comes smothered in Lotus Seafood’s original Cajun sauce or Remix sauce, a blend of the Cajun sauce with garlic and lemon pepper. You can also get their flavorful fried rice, lo-mein noodles or po-boys. All that said, Lotus devotees come for the Loud Packs, specialty combos featuring fried rice, peeled shrimp and that famous Crack Sauce, and Hot Boxes, which feature a half-pound each of shrimp and snow crab, plus corn, potatoes and sausage.
On my visit, I had to have these two classics. When the dishes were brought to the table, the smell wafted up and punched me in the face with the aroma of spices and garlic. The Loud Pack has a dozen large boiled-and-peeled shrimp served on top of Louisiana fried rice with shrimp and crawfish tails. The Crack Sauce is now served on the side in plastic pouches marketed officially as “Crack Sauce”. The Loud Box really didn’t need it, as the rice is flavorful on its own and has plenty of heat. Still, I squeezed some Crack Sauce out of the packet and dipped the shrimp in the buttery, spicy, and slightly tangy sauce. Lotus Seafood’s owners aren’t giving out the secret to the Crack Sauce and only describe it as butter garlic sauce with signature spices.
The Hot Box was a sight to behold. It came heaping with boiled shrimp, a crab claw and a hearty sausage link. It already comes seasoned, but extra crack sauce never hurt anyone.
I was ready to call it quits when a fully loaded baked potato topped with lightly battered fried shrimp was placed in front of me. This was pure decadence. The shrimp on the potato was one of my favorite bites. Reminiscent of salt-and-pepper shrimp, it was packed with flavor and, despite being fried, wasn’t heavy with oil. (If you’re eating a stuffed potato, that’s the last thing you need.)
A great time to check out Lotus Seafood is for happy hour, which runs Monday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. The specials include snow crab clusters for $12 each, boiled shrimp for $10 per pound served with corn and potato and 20% off daiquiris. Each location has different hours, so check the website for your nearest location.
If you are looking for diet-friendly food, this certainly isn’t it, but if you’re looking for flavor, Lotus Seafood does not disappoint. It’s easy to see how this local success story has been around for 16 years and continues to have a strong following.
Minh Truong is an avid lover of the Houston food scene and has written about it since 2011, starting as a freelance contributor for the Houston Press. She never stopped exploring all that Houston has to offer, and after a seven-year hiatus returned to writing about it, this time with Houston Food Finder.