It’s sloppy work eating boiled crawfish. There’s peeling involved. Splattering too. And

It’s sloppy work eating boiled crawfish. There’s peeling involved. Splattering too. And most folks just don’t want to get that well acquainted with their food.Which is why doing so with a dining partner who is uninitiated, the squeamish type who might be moved to make a snide comment or two as you get wrists deep into a pile of steaming hot crustaceans, doesn’t make for the most pleasant of dining experiences. I realized this too late. But lest you think that anything can truly ruin a day where there’s an excuse to gorge on spiced mudbugs until the lips go numb from overexposure to cayenne pepper–especially given that there are only a small handful of Cajun joints in Seattle willing to front the expense of flying them in fresh from the Gulf–believe me, there’s not. Two of those offer a stark contrast crawfish preparation.Marcela’s Cookery is all tradition. Every Sunday from May until June, chef and defacto Maitre D Anthony McDonald, along with the eponymous Marcela, host a reservation only crawfish boil. The fish are flown in the night before and boiled live the next day in a spiced brew, with sliced onion and lemons for added kick. McDonald’s recipe isn’t the spiciest. But the result has flavor enough to get the local Gulf expatriates who pack the place on Sundays thinking wistfully of home.Crawfish King does Cajun. Only it’s a variation that owes its existence to a wave of immigration that brought Vietnamese families to the shores of the Gulf post-war. The result product is a pile of crawfish delivered in a plastic bag that once opened oozes with rust colored paste, grease, sausages, potatoes and whatever other additions you’ve chosen to include. Unlike Marcela’s, here you get to choose exactly how spicy you want your batch to be. Unfortunately, with its dull, flavorless heat, the Extra Crazy doesn’t live up to its name. But the crawfish tails are meaty, and once drowned in the provided lemon juice and that mysterious reddish sauce, it makes for a serviceable meal. But the highlight might be watching the newbies make the attempt to crack open their first carapace. Looking at a member of the waitstaff looking at a teenager trying to peel a small crawdad, you wonder why an instruction manual isn’t included on the menu.