Famed Viet-Cajun restaurant with spicy seafood makes TX debut in Arlington
A Louisiana-based concept known for Viet-Cajun boiled crawfish and fresh seafood is coming to Dallas-Fort Worth: Called Big EZ Seafood and Oyster Bar, it's opening in Arlington, at Arbook Oaks, a community retail center at South Cooper Street and Arbrook Boulevard, directly across from Parks at Arlington mall.
It's going into what was previously a Corner Bakery at 3810 S. Cooper St. #102. According to a representative from property management company Weitzman, it'll open in spring 2024.
The location is the first in Texas for Big EZ, which has three locations in Louisiana. At Arbrook Oaks, it will join a lineup that includes Arlington’s only Target location, as well as a number of retailers, services and dining options.
Big EZ started out as a small seafood market and po'boy shop, founded by cousins Thien Nguyen and Nhu Nguyen in 2015 in Gretna, Louisiana. They made a name for themselves by helping to pioneer a "Viet-Cajun-style" style of crawfish in which crawfish are boiled in the traditional South Louisiana way, then drained and tossed in spicy garlic butter with citrus, ginger, and Chinese pepper.
"At first, the idea of boiled crawfish bathed in a bath of garlic, butter, citrus, and spices didn’t go over well with the Cajun/Creole population, but soon, the techniques that they first developed in their childhood home of California found their way into the hearts of even the pickiest crawfish lovers," they say.
The technique was common in the local Vietnamese community, but Big EZ helped make it a trend, earning them an appearance on Gordon Ramsay's food series Louisiana Uncharted.
Most of their menu has a Cajun theme, a cuisine that's beloved in North Texas, including etouffee, po'boys, crab cakes, oysters, and bread pudding - but with fun occasional Asian influences such as the BBQ shrimp with jasmine rice, and the "Saigon" flavored wings with lime and ginger, one of their five wing flavors along with lemon pepper and garlic parmesan.
There are also fried seafood baskets, fried chicken, meat pies, crawfish pies, seafood egg rolls, garlic noodles, garlic fries, and "animal" fries with ketchup, Cajun mayo, hot sauce, and bacon bits.
Prices are affordable: etoufee is $15. A shrimp & catfish plate with fries, hush puppies, and toast is $16. The most expensive dish is a seafood platter with catfish, shrimp, oysters, fries, hush puppies, and toast for $21.
They also have a full bar with refreshing cocktails, some done in the boba tea style.
When they opened a second location in Kenner, Louisiana, in 2021, they expanded their concept with bigger ambitions including a larger menu, full service, and a more decisively colorful approach to decor and ambience, including rooms vividly painted to resemble Mardi Gras floats, an approach they'll take for the Arlington location as well. (They also have a sibling called Big EZ Seafood & Wings, a casual spot located in Harvey, Louisiana.)