Crawfish boils are hardly a new concept. They are a longstanding Louisiana tradition. More recently, chefs have turned this informal backyard buffet into a menu item, and dozens of restaurants now offer up a menagerie of shellfish, sausage and veggies in a spicy broth.

The traditional way—and Louisianans love their tradition—is to boil the crawfish (aka mud bugs) in spice-filled water until ready to eat. The new Vietnamese-fusion method is to boil the crawfish and then add the spices and flavorings after the fact. While both methods are tasty, some would argue that the fusion method produces a better tasting product overall. The latest newcomer to utilize the latter fusion method is Cajun Bistro 7.

The newish Paloma Plaza at the intersection of Silver Creek and Aborn roads is a very Viet-centric area and already employs more than a handful of Vietnamese restaurants—but none quite as unique as this. The menu is seafood oriented, as it runs the gamut from fried fish to oysters on the half-shell. Cajun Bistro 7 also offers a tasty off-the-menu seafood soup, bún riêu cua ($10), that many patrons might not be familiar with. It features a tomato-based broth, crab meatballs and vermicelli noodles. We settled on their chili bread ($5) app, one pound of their crawfish boil ($14 a pound) and added corn (75 cents each), potatoes (50 cents apiece) and Cajun sausage ($2.50 each).

Bistro 7’s standard crawfish comes with a garlic butter sauce that diners can “pump up” with Cajun spices and request the heat level of their preference—mild, medium or spicy.

First out was the chili bread, and it was a tasty concoction of garlic, butter, sriracha and dried shredded chicken. Pro tip: save the bread to dip into the scrumptious sauce covering the crawfish—but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The only way to eat crawfish is to get your hands dirty; fortunately, they provide gloves at every table to help minimize the mess. One must crack the crayfish in half by twisting and pulling the tail from the head—and then get to sucking. After a few firm slurps, the sweet, juicy meat from the tail—and yes even the head—slides into your mouth and mixes with their amazing garlic butter sauce. While we did order the Cajun spices at a medium level, we both agreed it wasn’t super hot. However, despite the lack of heat, it was still a pretty damn tasty meal.

While traditions can be a good thing, sometimes a simple tweak can reveal an improved way of doing things. At Cajun Bistro 7, the proof is in the slurping.

Cajun Bistro 7
3005 Silver Creek Rd, San Jose.