Of late, the cycles of food boom and bust have bounced from acai bowl places to poke bars. The latest to join the scrim are restaurants dealing in Cajun-style seafood boils, and another has joined their ranks: Cajun Claws, which opened on the ground floor of New Village at Patchogue in late August.
With windows on three sides and the vibe of a modern barn, Cajun Claws has an expanse of curved banquettes and tables with a four-sided centerpiece bar in its midst. The bill of fare pivots on shellfish (plus various accouterments like corn and sausage) slow-cooked in plastic bags, which puff up with steam before being torn open above a metal plate. The twist at Cajun Claws is that these seafood boils — made from customizable combos of crab, shrimp, octopus, mussels, clams and scallops — are gussied up with sauces spiked with garlic, lemon, Old Bay and the like. (A woman eating at the bar on a recent evening recommended blending all six sauces together).
Cajun Claws also has a raw bar menu, with Blue Point oysters, Littleneck clams and snow crab legs making appearances, and apps run to grilled oysters, Kobe sliders, soy-garlic wings, and gyoza. "Semi-entrees" include a lobster roll and soft-shell crab burger, and sides a miso-seaweed mac-and-cheese, . (Apps start at $6, boils at $9 — though a half-pound of Alaska king crab is $38 — and entrees at $17). The liquids to wash down all that brine include a handful of tap beers and ample wine by the glass; among the $11 cocktails are blueberry margaritas and lycheetinis. For $15, you can drown your sorrows in a booze-loaded scorpion bowl.
The owner of Cajun Claws is Tony Lin, and the spot is managed by Ken Yang. Lin did not respond to questions about the restaurant, but earlier this fall, Tom Lau — co-owner of Mighty Catch Cajun Seafood & Bar in Oceanside — told Newsday that Cajun-style seafood places were “the next big thing” for Chinese-American restaurateurs. “First there was Chinese buffet,” he said, “then a lot of people opened Japanese restaurants, then Asian fusion, now Cajun seafood.”
Other Cajun seafood restaurants that have recently opened on Long Island, or are about to, include Mighty Catch (which opened around the same time as Cajun Claws), Hook & Reel in Hicksville, S & D Crab House in Great Neck, Ben’s Crab in Hempstead, Cajun Bucket in West Hempstead, Red Crab in Rockville Centre, Voodoo Crab Cajun Boil & Fresh Seafood in both Rockville Centre and Massapequa, and Cajun Crab Shack in Floral Park.
Cajun Claws Restaurant, 6 N. Ocean Ave. (in New Village), Patchogue. 631-714-4477. cajunclawsrestaurant.com