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If you haven’t yet had the chance to dine under the covered patio at Sea Side, now is the perfect time to sample this Eden Center joint’s unique Cajun-Vietnamese approach to crawfish. As we enter the tail end of the season, crawfish are just now reaching full maturity, which means they’re big and sweet and perfect for owner Tom Vo’s Vietnamese take on Cajun mudbugs. Vo’s crawdaddies are marinated in garlic, ginger, scallions, tangerine juice, lime juice, and fish sauce—that great umami agent of the East—before hitting the kitchen pots roiling with Cajun seasonings, corn, and whatnot. I wasn’t even halfway through my first bag of boiled mudbugs when I decided, right then and there, that these are the best-tasting crawfish anywhere, even without the array of tableside condiments that the Vietnamese so love. Now, if by chance you do miss the crawdad season, which ends in July, you can always check out Sea Side’s version of the soft-shell crab, another delicacy just reaching it prime. Sea Side batters its softie, deep-fries it, and quickly tosses it in a blazing-hot wok with sugar, ginger, scallions, onions, jalapeños, and garlic. Hate to sound like a broken record—hey, do you kids even know what that term means?—but Sea Side’s Vietnamese version in unrivaled in the area.

6799 Wilson Blvd., Suite 5, Falls Church, (703) 241-2722

Next up: Spice Xing